All five living first ladies have criticized Trump's 'zero tolerance' immigration policy
In an attempt to deter illegal immigration, the Trump administration has introduced a new "zero tolerance" policy. The consequences are horrific. According to Politifact, more than 2,000 children have been cruelly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. This includes families that are seeking asylum from gang warfare and poverty in Central America, which does not break the law.
While speaking to reporters on the White House lawn last Friday, President Trump stated, "The Democrats have to change their law. ... That's their law. That's the Democrat's law." This claim is false. There is no federal law mandating the separation of families from children at the border. It is a policy - specifically, a policy implemented in May 2018 by the Trump administration, not by Democrats. (Also, it is unclear how Democrats could unilaterally change this "law," since Republicans control the House, Senate and White House.)
It is true that President Obama's administration, among others, detained families and unaccompanied minors at the U.S.-Mexico border. However, according to Politifact, they separated children from families "relatively rarely, and nowhere near the rate of the Trump administration." It's easy to see why, considering the heartbreaking images and stories, which have sparked national outrage. In fact, within the last 24 hours, all five living first ladies criticized Trump's "zero tolerance" policy.
Laura Bush published an op-ed in The Washington Post, writing that "it breaks my heart."
"I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart. Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso."
Michelle Obama retweeted Laura's article, writing "sometimes truth transcends party."
Trump administration officials - such as attorney general Jeff Sessions and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders - have attempted to defend the "zero tolerance" policy by citing the Bible. During a public speaking event at New York City, Hillary Clinton condemned their remarks, countering with another Bible verse.
"I went to a lot of years of Sunday school. I even taught it from time to time. I've studied the Bible, both the Old and the New Testament. And what is being done using the name of religion is contrary to everything I was ever taught. Jesus said suffer the little children unto me — he did not say let the children suffer."
90-year-old Rosalynn Carter issued a strong statement, calling the policy "a shame to our country."
"When I was first lady, I worked to call attention to the plight of refugees fleeing Cambodia for Thailand. I visited Thailand and witnessed firsthand the trauma of parents and children separated by circumstances beyond their control. The practice and policy today of removing children from their parents' care at our border with Mexico is disgraceful and a shame to our country."
On Sunday, First Lady Melania Trump's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham issued a statement to CNN:
"Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."
While speaking to reporters on the White House lawn last Friday, President Trump stated, "I hate the children being taken away." But if it's true he hates his administration's own policy, why doesn't he stop it? Why does he falsely state his policy is a law? Why does he falsely state that the Democrats created it? The outrage continues to build, and when all five living first ladies unite, it sends a powerful message.