Donald Trump is coming under fire after a report outlined his idea of sending migrant children to the notorious prison at Guantanamo Bay, with one Democratic senator slamming the president as “racist” for the alleged plan.
This week, The New York Times detailed Trump’s consideration of sending migrant children at the detention center in Cuba, which has been used to detain terrorist suspects for the past 17 years. The report came nearly a year after Trump was forced to backtrack on his policy of taking migrant children from their families and placing them into detention centers, indicating that Trump is apparently considering ramping up that policy.
The report drew strong rebuke from critics on the left, including Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, who called Trump a racist and said that the president sees migrant children as invaders.
“The idea of incarcerating children at Guantánamo should send chills down the spine of anyone with a conscience,” Merkley wrote on Twitter. “This is what happens when our president is so racist that he sees migrant children as an ‘invasion’ and not vulnerable children to be protected.”
The plan also came under fire from human rights groups, including Physicians for Human Rights, which Common Dreams noted has called for the closure of Guantanamo Bay. The prison has long been a source of controversy, with critics saying that suspects are held without facing trial and in often degrading and inhumane conditions.
Trump admin has reportedly considered jailing migrant children at Guantánamo Bay https://t.co/fpakpWJqfb— Daily Kos (@dailykos) April 23, 2019
Despite backing away from his administration’s policy of detaining migrant children last year, Trump has continued to ramp up his rhetoric regarding immigration, describing caravans of asylum seekers from central America as violent and disease-ridden invaders. Trump has also declared a national state of emergency at the southern border, an action that would allow him to re-allocate funding and begin construction of a border wall.
The focus on immigration has not always been a winning one for Donald Trump, political experts note. In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections, Trump made immigration reform and calls to build a wall a central part of the strategy to boost Republicans, but instead, Democrats were able to ride a wave of support to retake the House of Representatives. When Trump forced a government shutdown late in 2018 in a bid to force Democrats to give funding for his border all, polls showed that the majority of Americans blamed Trump and Republicans for the stalemate. Trump ultimately brought an end to the shutdown without funding for the border wall.