Republicans Do Nothing as Children Pulled from Families

UPDATE: As NBC News reports, it’s getting increasingly difficult for the White House — and Congressional Republicans — to deflect blame for this crisis:

The idea of separating migrant children from their mothers was discussed during the earliest days of the Trump administration as a way to deter asylum-seekers, according to notes from a closed-door DHS meeting.


John Moore/Getty Images

The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration has led to thousands of children being forcibly separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Every single Democrat in the U.S. Senate has now signed onto The Keep Families Together Act, which is intended to put a stop to this horrific policy. While many Republicans have spoken out against the practice of forcible separation, they aren’t taking any real action to force a change.

As Politico explains, this could be a telling moment ahead of the 2018 election:

Even as the White House blames Congress for the crisis at the border,GOP lawmakers are struggling to craft a proposal that unites their own party, let alone one that can win bipartisan support and become law. And with no congressional solution in sight, Hill Republicans worry that Trump’s immigration crackdown could swamp their success on the economy and overshadow all the things they want to run on in the midterm elections…

…And the renewed focus on immigration is almost all self-inflicted, from Trump’s decision to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to his relentless focus on the border wall to his “zero tolerance” policy for border-crossers, which has already led to more than 2,300 children separated from their parents.

But the decision by the administration to separate children from their parents has elevated the issue to one now consuming national politics. Hugh Hewitt, a leading conservative media voice, raised the prospect that the family separation crisis could become “the Republicans’ new Katrina and the president’s new Katrina” in an interview with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) on Monday.

“The White House can fix it if they want to.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)

Understanding why Congressional Republicans refuse to act on this growing humanitarian crisis is depressingly obvious. The results of three new polls are telling.

Polling data released in the last 24 hours by Quinnipiac University, Ipsos, and SSRS all show that the general public disagrees strongly with forcible separations. All three polls also show Republican support for these actions.

According to Quinnipiac, 66% of voters — including 91% of Democrats and 68% of Independents — oppose the Trump immigration policy, but 55% of Republicans support the “zero tolerance” decision:

Quinnipiac University (6/18/18)


According to Ipsos, 55% of respondents overall disagreed with the “zero tolerance” approach, with 46% of Republicans expressing support. Finally, a CNN/SSRS poll finds that 67% of Americans disapprove of the Trump immigration policies, while a majority of Republicans stand in support.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, when Republicans like Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) blame the parents of undocumented immigrants for being separated from their children. Some Republicans, such as Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), don’t go as far as Buck but won’t do anything beyond issuing statements:

Senator Gardner thinks that Congress should do something. Democrats are doing something. It’s Republicans who are sitting on their hands.

Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin makes a similar point about Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse in the Washington Post today:

The larger issue for Sasse and for other Republicans who have from time to time taken issue with the president is their abject refusal to translate rhetoric into action. [Pols emphasis] In legislation, in oversight and in the confirmation process, they routinely shrink from confrontation with the White House or their own leadership. Republicans do, after all, have the majorities in both houses and long ago could have voted to end child separation. They could, at any time, cease confirming judges or even refuse to go forward on any business until the wicked policy is ended.

Sasse, a former university president who holds a PhD in history from Yale, surely is familiar with the admonition, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil  [or wicked, in his telling] is for good men to do nothing.” Speaking, posting and tweeting don’t count as “doing.” Unless Sasse starts doing, he is enabling.

Republican elected officials do nothing because they are paralyzed in fear of their right-wing base and President Trump. As we’ve said many times in this space, refusing to take action is a choice in itself.


50 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    And Cory goes to show what a miserable coward he is.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Cory steps up and then gets primaried in 2020 for his trouble, by, for example, Tim Neville. And the rabid, frothing at the mouth, theocratic base goes wild for Neville. Tough spot for Gardner to be in.

      But I recall reading, as a kid, a book called "Profiles in Courage…….."  Enough Republicans get upset; then who knows. As I've already written, the whole kid separation thing is a major unforced policy error by the administration.

      • unnamed says:

        Among other things. And now you remind me of how much I want Neville to lose reelection this year.

      • ParkHill says:

        "unforced policy error"?

        Did you not read the polling data? 

        55% of Republicans support the Trump policy. You can't win a Republican primary if you aren't all-in for Trump.

        Sorry CHB, ripping children from their parents and putting them in concentration camps is intentional.


        • RepealAndReplace says:

          Sorry CHB, ripping children from their parents and putting them in concentration camps is intentional.

          And among a slim majority of the modern GOP, it's popular.

          You might also ask Mark "I'm Hiking the Appalachian Trail" Sanford what happens when you cross Drumph. He survived a sex scandal and a messy divorce only to be brought down by his failure to pay homage to the leader.

      • Pseudonymous says:

        Putting babies into concentration camps isn't a policy error, it's a tyranny.  Your minimization of this human tragedy bespeaks the bankruptcy of your political views.  These children will be broken forever and for no reason other than that the government, our government, can do it without consequence.

        In the modern world we only associate the camps with the systematic extermination of Jews, but that was never what concentration camps are.  Manzanar was as surely a concentration camp as Auschwitz  or Bergen-Belsen.  That we only destroyed the lives of American citizens in them rather than murdering them was a small mercy.  And now, we destroy the lives of these families whose only crime was having a dream that every one of our forefathers did and crossing through hell to try to make it real for their children.  And the irony of making our new camps in hollowed out Walmarts is rich.

        Oh, and in case you're wondering, from the American Heritage Dictionary:

        1. A camp where persons are confined, usually without hearings and typically under harsh conditions, often as a result of their membership in a group the government has identified as dangerous or undesirable.

        2. A place or situation in which extremely harsh conditions are imposed by those in authority.

        Let's put Cory's kids in the camps.  Perhaps then he'll understand.

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          Sorry Pseudo. My political views are not "bankrupt,” despite your weighty personal opinion. By the way, Channel 9 News-Denver this AM exposed one of the main pictures of caged kids making the rounds on the 'Net this week as being a fake. You can find the picture; actually a shot of a protest; on their web site. 

          And yes, it is a major policy error by Trump. Calling it what you want still doesn't change the reality. This is a long game leading hopefully to Dems re-taking the House in November and then having a quality candidate to take out Trump/Pence in 2020. Why am I; a common sense conservative; wanting Dems back in power? Because divided government seems to work best.

          MJ raised an interesting point yesterday about the treatment of asylum seekers being a constitutional issue. If so, who is suing the administration and seeking immediate relief via injunction? Anyone or group doing that?

          • Zappatero says:

            Can’t wait to be bipartisan with this bunch of Fascist-leaning Sociopaths. Yet as they scheme to repeal the last 8 “bi” years, if D’s ever get some power back we know R’s will be on every Sunday show whining about the lack of it. 

          • Pseudonymous says:

            The ACLU has been suing them for months.  You can see dozens of articles about that with one Google search, so I won't bother linking here.  As for my opinion, that's pretty much all any of us express here, so it's odd to call me out for expressing mine.  Perhaps it's as weighty as yours that your conservatism is "common sense."

            As for the viral, and false, cage picture, so what?  I never said anything about cages, and one picture being debunked isn't proof that nothing is happening, it's proof that one picture isn't of those things happening.  Especially because anyone who has been allowed to visit hasn't been able to take pictures.  Fortunately, we do have pictures of at least one facility in McAllen, Texas, which is currently being used by the Trump team, from when children were detained there under Obama.  Oh, and before you come back mocking Jeff Merkley for the 2-3 pinnochios the Post gave him for his "concrete and fences" statement, please note their correction:

            Update (June 18): Since we published this fact-check on June 6, more lawmakers and reporters have been able to tour the McAllen processing center. We now have various articles and testimonials that corroborate Merkley’s claim that hundreds of children are kept inside chain-link fence enclosures. This evidence did not exist when we first published. We’re always willing to revise our fact-checks when new evidence emerges, as it has in this case.

            Here’s how The Washington Post’s Sean Sullivan described the McAllen facility in a June 17 story: “Detainees are being kept in bare-bones cells surrounded by tall metal fencing inside a sprawling facility with high ceilings. The facility resembled a large warehouse divided into cage-like structures housing different groups of people. … Several of the detainees wrapped themselves in the foil blankets as they sat on benches, the ground, or on modest mattress pads on the floor of the cells.”

            Your policy error, their lives– Common Sense Conservatism.


        • Voyageur says:

          The term "concentrationcamp" goes back to the boer war.   The Nazis built "death camps" or "extermination camps."

           big difference.  Not one you are smart enough to understand, but big nonetheless.

          What Trump is doing to kid s may traumatize them for life, but when you accuse him of mass murder you lose credibility and help Trump.

          I had that argument with mj the other day and apparently won it.  Her excellent dairy on the family separations doesn't accuse Trump of genocide.  What it does d ocument is terrifying.

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        It wasn't an unforced error.  It was a specific racist policy implemented before they had seized complete control of the US government and media.  A compliant, Pravada lite, media would have ignored the issue altogether.  Just goes to show how much work Republicans still have to do to completely destroy Democracy in the US and replace it with authoritarian gulags.

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          I hope those Jill Stein supporters in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania feel satisfied today.

          3-2-1, let's hear it from Mamajama on why Jill Stein and her useful idiots should not be held accountable for what they inflicted upon these kids.

          • Zappatero says:

            Russia played those fools like fiddles. Republicans in DC blocked our response and are still on Russia’s side as we head into ‘18 with our election processes still under attack. This is all ok with R’s as long as they get some tax cuts and a Gorsuch. (He’s from Colorado!) And they, and you, still don’t seem too concerned whether our Democracy can withstand another Russian assault like the one in 2016, eh Comrade?


          • Conserv. Head Banger says:

            R & R: more likely diehard Bernie supporters who sat things out rather than vote for Hillary. But Stein also was complicit. 

            • Zappatero says:

              I supported Bernie and happily voted for HRC. I also knew Hillary would be savaged by the press during the campaign … just like she was. I didn’t know Andrew Carnegie and  team were so busy behind the scenes. All our loss for missing that.  

              • RepealAndReplace says:

                I supported Bernie and happily voted for HRC

                Despite your fetish for Michael Bennet and your occasional fixations on ideological purity/purge of the DINOs (e.g., Bob Kerrey, Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieu), sometimes even you can see the big picture, Zappy. 

                I really wish she had assembled a team like her husband did in 1992 (i.e., Carville, Begala & Co.) which was ready with rapid responses to every attack.

              • Voyageur says:

                Zappy has his issues but is too smart to be a jilliot.

            • mamajama55 says:

              CHB: 90% of Bernie supporters voted for Hillary. As he asked them to. And Stein was at least dangerously naive, in accepting the dinner invite from Putin, in not speaking out more against the flood of Russian hacker "support" on social media.

              None of us thought that Trump could really get elected. None of us imagined that a foreign power could really disrupt our election.  We learned, to our loss.

              • Conserv. Head Banger says:

                Got a link to that “90%” figure?

                According to a report from the Senate Intelligence Committee; you all know them, just quietly doing their work in a bipartisan fashion while House "showboats" like Nunes and Gowdy get the PR; the Russians are still disrupting things. And why should they stop? They're getting no penalty at all from Trump and Sessions.

                • mamajama55 says:

                  Of course. Pre-general election polls showed 90% of Bernie supporters planned to vote for Clinton.

                  For that remaining 10%, NPR showed that they did, sadly, vote for Trump. But most of those were originally Republicans who had crossed over because of Bernie's populist appeal.

                  This, with the very leftist group that thought maybe even Bernie wasn't progressive enough, were the demographics targeted by the Russian hackers in their social media posts. I think I was in that latter group because I was such a strong Bernie supporter.

                  At any rate, I kept getting really vile, pornographic, woman-hating facebook posts from these folks. Bernie disavowed all of these.  I reported several to Facebook, which deleted their accounts, but more kept coming.

                  You're unfortunately correct in that the Russians still plan on disrupting our elections. They probably have several lines of social media attack planned, depending on who is nominated on the Presidential ticket. They have willing or unwilling collaborators in the Kris Kobachs and Jon Husted (Ohio's Sec of State, who won a SCOTUS case allowing him to purge Ohio voters from the rolls).

          • mamajama55 says:

            As requested. Always happy to help. You must really like this diary, since you keep asking for me to re-post it. Or maybe you just like the idea of stirring up V again to come to your defense against the evil mamajama of doom. The whole “let’s you and him fight” thing.

            But I'm curious – how exactly would you hold "Jill Stein and her useful idiots….accountable" ?

            Do you imagine that Jill Stein voters anxiously peruse this forum seeking your scoldings? Do you think that they hang their heads in shame when they read your posts?

            Sorry to disillusion you, but no. While I never voted for Stein, I do know people that (I think) did, and I can tell you what they're doing. They're working with Indivisible and other grassroots issue groups, they're out protesting, they're calling and visiting their congresspeople.

            In other words, they're probably doing more than you're doing, since baiting me seems to be the extent of your "activism".

            You posted that you marched in the Denver Pride parade with Polis. That’s a positive step. Anything else?

            Have you even bothered to call your representatives yet? Are you registering voters, working for a candidate in the primary, perhaps?

            • Voyageur says:

              Ve haf veys of forcing you to agree vit mj.  Bring forth the punishment diaries.  Cue "Ride of the Valkryies."

               the punishme nt diaries will continue until morale improves!

  2. MichaelBowman says:


  3. Zappatero says:

    Check everyone’s twitter feed. This is where leaders lead and bipartisanship reigns. 

  4. Ross Cunniff says:

    My message to Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Polis:

    The Administration's new child separation policy is is an immoral, anti-American, unconstitutional, illegal (those seeking sanctuary are breaking no law) policy. And, if you are a person of faith and you defend this policy, then you have picked politics over your faith.

    Congress can fix this. The administration can fix this. But it needs to be fixed, and quickly. Please use your authority as a leader in our government to bring humanity back to our immigration policy.

  5. MichaelBowman says:

    Are we great again, yet? Miller's an embarrassment to all second-generation Americans whose families emigrated from hostile countries.

    Meet Stephen Miller, the 32-year-old White House adviser who convinced Trump to start separating migrant children from their parents at the border

    Stephen Miller was born in Santa Monica, California, on August 23, 1985, to a Jewish family whose ancestors fled persecution in what is now Belarus. His family was liberal-leaning, but Miller says he became a stalwart conservative at an early age.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      His face and hairline remind me of Josef Goebbels. 

    • unnamed says:

      How many descendants of persecuted people grow up idolizing the people that persecuted them?

      • mamajama55 says:

        My guess? Not many. I'm a child of holocaust survivors;  most of my mother's family escaped Austria during the anschluss, but some died in camps. My mom chose to deal with her memories of being persecuted by committing to a lifelong struggle for social justice. That's what she passed down to her daughters.

        The rest of my maternal immigrant ancestors committed to advancing science and medicine, or in some cases, to merely getting extremely rich and prosperous in this country. Sort of a long -distance "f___ you" to the Austrian and German governments for their betrayal.

        There's evidence that childhood trauma is passed down genetically. This would actually make sense from an evolutionary point of view. It's still controversial, though.

        If Miller inherited that trauma, his response was to identify with the stronger entity, the abusers. This is also common with children who grow up in violent homes.


  6. MichaelBowman says:

    We're being gaslighted one big, smelly, cheeto-laden breath at a time.  To answer your question specifically, it was May 8th 2018 to be exact, the day your very, very sad pick for AG, Sessions, introduced the ‘zero tolerance policy (wholly-promoted by your very own Stephen Miller). 

    In case the White House staff missed it, here's the link. 

    • Davie says:

      Scary too, is the fact that our DHS Director so easily lies without even blinking an eye about the purpose of the policy being to discourage future immigrants from coming:

      The Trump administration has been considering separating families at the border since the early months of his presidency, hoping that harsh treatment would deter illegal immigration.

      Reuters reported in March 2017 that "part of the reason for the proposal is to deter mothers from migrating to the United States with their children."

      "With safety in mind, the Department of Homeland Security continually explores options that may discourage those from even beginning the journey," said DHS in a statement to Reuters.

      Also in March 2017, then-DHS Secretary John Kelly (now White House chief of staff) told CNN he was considering separating children from parents to deter illegal immigration.

      Kirstjen Nielsen, tapped to replace Kelly as DHS Secretary, told lawmakers on May 15 that she had not been directed to separate families for deterrence purposes. Yet, other administration officials have made comments about the "zero-tolerance" policy having the effect of discouraging border-crossing attempts.

      • mamajama55 says:

        That is frightening, Davie. It's almost like they found an attractive face to spout complete bullshit, hoping for packaging to make up for an empty package.

        What's even scarier is that Quinnipiac poll showing that 55% of Republican voters support locking kids up to show "zero tolerance" for any brown people coming over the southern border.

      • MichaelBowman says:

        There was a great thread on Twitter yesterday talking about how she said the word ‘period’ at the end of each statement, ala Spicey and his infamous size of the Inaugural crowd presser.  Perhaps it’s a plea for help? A sign she’ll soon be gone? 

    • RepealAndReplace says:


      What a feckless runt!

  7. Pseudonymous says:

    Let's also not forget that 10 Democrats voted to confirm our own little Himmler, Kirstjen Nielsen.

  8. Pseudonymous says:

    For the mainstream press, maintaining access is more important that producing news:

    NYT: We Pulled Stephen Miller Interview at WH’s Request

    Davis said she originally taped the conversation for a deep-dive article on family separations and did not “talk about any sort of alternative uses for the interview.” After White House officials protested, she said the Times elected not to use it and Davis discussed her conversation with Miller on the podcast instead.

    • notaskinnycook says:

      The Times and Washington Post have been in The Yam's doghouse since before the '16 election. I'm not surprised they'd go a bit easy to maintain their access; frustrated, but not surprised

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