For President Trump, the policy of separating immigrant children from their parents is nothing more than a bargaining tool, according to the Washington Post.
Etched into the collective consciousness of the United States is President Trump’s insistence on his deal-making ability. The man who wrote The Art of the Deal seems to be enforcing a policy he hates in an effort to gain political leverage in congressional negotiations.
On Friday, the Washington Post noted, President Trump said he would not change the policy of separating immigrant children from their parents unless Democrats agreed to his other immigration demands. This includes building a border wall, curbing legal entry, and, in broad terms, tightening the rules for border enforcement.
“The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda. Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall, end Catch & Release, Visa Lottery and Chain, and go to Merit Based Immigration. Go for it! WIN!,” Trump tweeted yesterday.
According to the Washington Post, the American Academy of Pediatrics said that the policy of separating immigrant children from their parents is causing “irreparable harm.” Democrats, as well as some Republicans, have opposed the notorious policy.
U.S Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, quoted the Bible, in an attempt to defend Trump’s controversial policy. As BBC noted, Sessions quoted Apostle Paul, his “wise command” to obey the laws of the government. Religious leaders and groups, however, have denounced the policy, WaPo noted.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention remains critical of the practice, much like Reverend Samuel Rodriguez and Pastor Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse.
What’s indicative of the rift among Trump’s conservative base, according to WaPo, is the fact that religious leaders like Rodriguez, who delivered a prayer at Trump’s inauguration, and Pastor Graham, a vocal supporter of the POTUS, have both expressed concern, staunchly opposing and criticizing the policy.
“The president has told folks that in lieu of the laws being fixed, he wants to use the enforcement mechanisms that we have. The thinking in the building is to force people to the table,” a White House source told the Washington Post.
Apart from Jeff Sessions, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Republican Steve King, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and senior adviser Stephen Miller have all expressed support for the policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.
Democrats, however, continue to oppose it. Senator Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Senate Democratic midterm effort, plan to visit the border city of Brownsville, Texas. Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke visited a detention center last Tuesday, and Democratic candidate Josh Harder held a protest.
It remains to be seen whether Donald Trump’s strategy will work and “force people to the table,” as WaPo‘s White House source put it, but for now, Democrats and some Republicans remain unpersuaded.