First They Came for the Migrants

Jun 11, 2018 · 816 comments
Vesuviano (Altadena, California)
Michelle Goldberg incorrectly says that "for undocumented immigrant's it [fascism] is already here." Fascism isn't just here for undocumented immigrants, it is here for all of us, and all of us must now decide if fascism is something we are going to tolerate. I am dreadfully afraid that for tens of millions of us, fascism is just fine. It isn't fine for me, and it isn't fine for my friends, and it better not be fine with the Democratic Party of which I am - at least for the time being - a member. I love my country, but I am disgusted by my government.
David (Colorado)
The same can be said about drug lords, murders, rapists, etc. But we would not go oh no, first they come for the murders. Oh no they are seporating the children from the parents when they arrest them for murder. And at least with those there are plenty of the time they were wrong and the folks grabbed were innocent. How often is an illegal imigrant found to actually be a legal immigrant or citizen that followed the laws. Far less. If you break the law then life for you and those directly connected to you will be less then ideal. If you have justification for breaking the law then submit it and your argument will be heard. But making an argument does not immidiately nulify the borken law(s) it just gives authorities reason to consider possible nullification after the argument has been verified.
Jerry D (world)
One can argue that illegal immigrants should not be allowed in the country but separating parents and children? That's barbaric. Why aren't American Catholics and the church protesting in the streets? What good is the religious community if they aren't protesting this inhumanity? Praying is doing diddly-squat!
Nathaniel Brown (Edmonds, Washington)
“We simply follow the orders from above.” This did not work well as a defense at Nuremberg.
Observer (Sydney)
A catchy headline, even if not quite correct. At first they came for the criminals.
Mike (CT)
Does the Catholic church have shelters for abused woman? Is there no alternate to a 1,200 mile trip north? I expect there are good people in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala. How can we help the good guys and fix the problems down there, because having people show up at the border is a terrible was to fix it.
Jessica Mendes (Toronto, Canada)
This is just horrifying. But I wish people would stop talking about this simply as a deterrent. They are stigmatizing, punishing and brutalizing, acting out on their hatred of immigrants. If it was just about deterring them they could turn them back when they try to cross and simply threaten to take their kids if they disobey. Why are they forcing this separation? Why are they tricking parents by sending them to another room? It is sadism, plain and simple, and hatred for those with brown skin. Where are all the elected officials? Why are more not going out to these bases and demanding to be let in?!!! Where is everyone?!!
Joseph M (Sacramento)
Remember Simpson's Rule though. It's better to be fashionably too late calling out Nazism, as looking good in arguments is what matters.
Archer (NJ)
Trump's brief moment will be consigned, as George W. Bush said of Al Qaeda, to history's ash heap of discarded lies.
TPV (Arizona)
ICE is the American Gestapo doing the bidding of Trump, Sessions, and Nielsen, the American fascists. And yes, after their finished with the migrants and immigrants, whose next? Through it all, the Republican Congress remains silent. I can't remember a worse time in this country than what we're living through now. Fascism is happening in America now.
Golddigger (Sydney, Australia)
Another piece of wonderful reporting on ugly topics. Michelle, you are my newest hero--please keep this up!
Steve B (Boston)
One day, Michelle, maybe - and I stress maybe - we will all be ashamed by events like this, events that happened in our name. The way most people empathize with Japanese-Americans for their treatment during WWII. Unfortunately, I am now cynical enough to think this will not happen anytime soon. A dehumanizing ideology has seized great parts of the society. In the name of lower taxes and purity in front of the "strangers", it seems many Americans are now just fine with crass poverty, open racism and downright cruelty with the downtrodden. If we do not, as a people, send a clear message to Trump during the midterms, then we are collectively guilty of a serious lapse in morality.
Hari Prasad (Washington, D.C.)
Americans who support such brutal "policies" are nearly all descended from immigrants who fled persecution and poverty in Europe. Did they have superior rights, or was it only that land was taken from American Indians by force and fraud to accommodate the flow from Europe?
Dissatisfied (St. Paul MN)
I feel so ashamed of this country. I want to help fight against these inhumane practices but I do t know how. Yes, I’ll vote the Trump regime and his complicit republicans out of office. But that’s not enough.
Ma (Atl)
It is NOT facism to defend your borders or have immigration laws that are followed, no matter how unhappy it makes those trying to get in. The US is not the dumping pot; it is the melting pot for legal immigrants where the limit was set a one million decades ago when the US had a population a fraction of what it is today, and when jobs were in such abundance for low skilled workers they could not be filled. This is 2018 and we are bursting at the seems. Yes, it's true that jobs cannot all be filled today, but that's because of the sorry state of the public education system and the fact that teachers are no longer engaged in teaching.
Jose Pardinas (Collegeville, PA)
It may offend delicate Liberal taste, but President Trump is right: You cannot have a country without well-regulated borders and immigration control. If Democrats and Liberals had spent half as much energy worrying about the plight of the American worker, the presidential elections of 2016 might have had a different outcome. As it stands, it's hard to discern a national constituency for the Democratic Party. Southern Whites left in the 1970s and Trump absconded with most of the working class. To my knowledge, illegal immigrants can't vote and there aren't enough pampered rich Hollywood stars. How will Democrats win a national election?
Richard (Texas)
If US wants to discourage people from coming here and seeking asylum, the message needs to reach those people back in Nicaragua, El Salvador, etc. We should buy air time on local radio and tell people that they should not come; Maybe what they are told by the coyotes and 'back channels' is that the USA is still this welcoming and forgiving place. This could be more effective and cheaper than all this crazy enforcement and misery?
Chevy (South Hadley, MA)
Ms. Goldberg's argument is extreme: no one is going to come in the middle of the night for citizens of this country, so let's quit the fear-mongering. Irresponsible parents are making these decisions for their family and children, their attitude is one of "I have a problem; therefore you have to solve it." I do not support President Trump and the great majority his policies, but I do support his actions to stem the tide of ILLEGAL immigrants. These actions to defend our border are LONG overdue. The problems associated with immigration were there when I was a boy. I'm now a senior citizen, but we keep wringing our hands over those who refuse to recognize that there are legal means to enter this country and whose actions flaunt our laws. We do not need MORE people here. What will it take to prevent people from invading our country?
Chris Kule (Tunkhannock, PA)
How do you not understand that it was the US which invaded Mexico to secure the American Southwest? Moreover that by the treaty ending that war no distinctions were made between those who were there before and those who came after. Not only that but there were no immigration quotas for Western Hemisphere people until 1964. 1964!!! So get off your high horse about protecting this country from people who were here long before we got here.
Eric (Iowa)
My question is why the heck is the U.N. not going into these countries and helping the humanitarian crises they have in order for them to stay in there home countries? Seems we are blaming Trump but in reality the U.N is so worried about the Mideast and Africa that they forget about South America!!
Margo Channing (NYC)
The UN is the biggest waste of time and money. They take up precious parking spaces and apartments in NYC and have nothing to show for their lackluster efforts. Where is the UN indeed?
wolf201 (Prescott, Arizona)
What kind of a cruel country do we live in? I am ashamed of our country. Nuff said.
Michael Green (Brooklyn)
The United States should transit any person wanting to claim asylum to Canada and dump them across the border. We should follow Mexico's lead. Canada says they want them anyway.
Alexander Harrison (Wilton Manors, Fla.)
Very difficult for a dissenter to get a word in edgewise, given the partisanship of the EB and its rancor against the c-in-c and his supporters for (1)having won the presidency(2)having created a level of prosperity O was unable to achieve, and (3)having a tete a tete with the North Korean leader which, again Obama was unable to arrange because he lacked the magnetism that drew the North Korean leaders to Trump. That final pat on the back by Kim to Trump as they were both walking away said it all!They will become homies, "potes,"in my view and both our nations will benefit. Major difference between O and his successor is earnestness. TRUMP acts and speaks as if he really cared about serving the American people. O, as Dowd has written, acted as though he was too good for us!
Zeena (Stillwater,NY)
Illegal immigration is a wrong choice. These kind of zero tolerance is needed to reduce the illegal immegration. It's like when you are poor and in need , barging into neighbors house illegally.
timbo555 (ATL)
Michelle, do you lock your doors when you leave the house? For that matter, when was the last time you left your hoouse unlocjc=ked whgen yu were home? There are laws against breaking and entering in your town and your county, and your nation. And so it is with people who are unknown to you or I or the authorities. Spare us the crocodile tears about who is repatriated and who is not. Non other than Cecil B. De Mille once opined: "You cannot break the law, you can only break yourself against the law." If there are children being separated from their parents, it is a tragedy to be laid squarely at the feet of the parents who put them in this situation.
Jennifer (Manhattan )
“We simply follow the orders from above.” Nazi Germany supplanted human decency with “I was just following orders.” Regardless of the next electoral outcome, America now openly nurtures fascist bureaucrats, is dumbing down public education, is saddling the most ambitious youth with crippling debt, is destroying environmental safeguards, is overturning longstanding alliances to court enemies, is suppressing workers’ rights and wages, is elevating religious bigotry above the law, is using the Defense budget as much for pork as for protection, is ignoring infrastructure that cries for maintenance, and all while fleecing the Treasury to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, “for their own good.” And should the electorate decide to change course, or legal challenges be mounted, remember that judicial interpretation will increasingly rest with Trumpistas, appointed for life. I am not optimistic that our ship of state can right itself with these kleptocrats for captain and crew. Make America Great Again? Trump’s enthusiasts are feeling the same euphoria as Germans in the 30’s. How’d that work out? Will the world come together to crush this evil, as it did then? Great.
Molly Ciliberti (Seattle WA)
Will the United States have our own Nuremberg trials for our evil?
rsc (Nashville)
So many commenters seem to think this article is about open borders and advocating for open borders but it isn't it's about separating families taking children from their parents sometimes young children in order to use them as a deterrent for future immigrants. It'll work however it's inhumane to do it n only people like Sessions n Trump have the stomach for it. There has to be another way to deter
Chris (San Antonio)
This is insane. There is no equivalence between murdering six million Jewsin concentration camps, and temporarily separating criminal illegal trespassers from the children they irresponsibly bring with them when they violate our nation's soverignty. It's not new. It was done under Obama to protect as children who were potential victims of human sex trafficking. Ever think it might be a good idea to pull the kids aside and ask them, in private, if the adults they are with are really their parents? Fascism is absolutely on the rise in this country. The problem is, fascists don't ever think they are the fascists in the equation. They are always convinced that their march for justice is justified by the evils of their hated, morally and intellectually inferior enemy who stands in the way of their utopian vision for society. Look at the number of posters on this site on the left, who question what will happen "if voting isn't enough" for them to reassert their strangle hold on our politics. People asking unironically about the need to take up arms against their fellow citizens and their government if the next election doesn't give them the outcome they seek. Worse, the editors here are actually making many of those comments "Editor's choice" picks, and elevating them to the top of the discourse. We are absolutely witnessing fascism here. This is what we get for painting previous generations who went wrong as impossibly evil characatures instead of fallible human beings.
eve ben-levi (ny city)
I think that we need to find a better solution to this worldwide crisis of economic migrants from crisis-ridden failed states, but to accuse the elected President of fascism is repugnant. The accusation feels like a knee-jerk characterization by the author -- she clearly does not know what fascism is.
Gaff (New York)
If you want to fix illegal immigration, start by arresting American employers. Money is the draw for most illegal immigrants. American farmers, builders, landscapers and others are always looking for cheap labor to maximize their profits. They are responsible for this mess. Start arresting them, jailing them and fining them. The flow of illegal immigrants will slow considerably when there are no jobs to be had. Of course the flip side will be many of these employers will have to raise their prices and many will go out of business. So be it. That is what America wants.
Mike (NYC)
What's your argument in favor of allowing people to sneak into the country?
Steve B (Boston)
Refugees are just that: desperate people fleeing impossible situations. The civilized world decided long ago that these folks would be welcome in the country until they get a hearing as to whether their claim of fleeing misery or possible torture or death was credible. Separating those desperate enough to risk everything from their kids as a tool to discourage them from seeking refuge in the US is beyond the pale, and anyone that has such a dim view of these person's humanity is sorely lacking the basic compassion of authentic human beings.
Sheena (Australia )
arriving at the border and *presenting yourself* to authorities to seek asylum is not "sneaking".
Shanda Boyett (Seattle)
People who have illegally crossed the border for the first time are committing a misdemeanor crime. But the current administration is punishing that crime by separating children from their parents. Is it ok to separate children from parents who get a speeding ticket (also a misdemeanor) while the parents wait to go to trial? I don’t think so. I get that these desperate individuals are criminals in the eyes of the law, but this punishment is too severe. Where is our compassion and moral leadership? Where are the religious leaders? It speaks to the devolution of the moral character of our country that this is even contemplated (and worse, applauded) And yes, the people who are dispassionately following these “rules” are no better than nazis.
ErikW65 (Vermont)
At a May 15 Senate committee hearing, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that families who present themselves at ports of entry seeking asylum are able to stay together. (DHS told PolitiFact that a family may be separated at a port of entry if the department is unable to determine custodial relationship or if DHS determines that a child may be at risk with the custodian.) Families who are apprehended illegally crossing the border are separated.
BorisRoberts (Santa Maria, CA)
Many of you seem to have forgotten 2-3 years ago when all the "Unaccompanied Minors" were massing on the Texas border. Their parents sent kids, as young as 9 or 10, alone or in groups of kids, to come to this country, because rumors were that they would be allowed to come in and stay. It didn't seem to bother you too much then that they were separated frim their families willingly. Those people were a large part of the 60 % of the immigrants coming here through Mexico that were sexually assaulted in Mexico, and the Mexican government let it happen. You have short memories. Oh yeah, Trump. Racist. White Supremist. Fascist. Nazi.
Tom (Arizona)
There is a qualitative difference between a desperate parent sending his or her child to the US to live a better life or to flee persecution, and the US government forcibly separating parent and child as a means to dissuade others. The former is illegal but understandable. The latter is just despicable.
isabel.steilberg (Rogue Point VA )
"We simply follow the orders from above." Hannah Arendt and The Banality of Evil. Stanley Milgram's Yale experiment. Kyrie eleison.
Somebody (Somewhere)
Why don't they just let the parents go with a court date for their refugee status hearing? Because they never come back. And they hope by bringing children INS is more likely to do that because children may not remain in detention with their parents for more than a set number of days - per a judge's ruling. I'm always amazed at the cries of inhumanity against Australia for refusing to allow "Boat people" who came to them counter to their immigration laws. Yes, it was inhumane to those kept on the outer islands )who refused to be sent to other countries), but it was incredibly humane to the thousands - maybe hundreds of thousands - who stopped trying, which led to no more mass drowning. People bringing their children this way are risking major catastrophe on their journey - to themselves and their children. Never mind that some human traffickers bring children in this way, claiming the child is their own. Yet everyone here is decrying this policy because it is so "inhumane". I consider those subjecting the children to risk of rape and death in hopes of increasing their chances of getting into this country inhumane.
Mary (Peoria)
What seems to be lost on many of the commentators here is that they are endorsing a policy of deliberate cruelty - against children. That is why "the libs" are upset. That is why the comparisons to Nazism. Yes, we should have immigration laws. Yes, we should enact them with an eye toward the bigger picture, international law, human rights, our country's role in destabilizing many other countries that are now producing refugees and migrants, with all the professionalism and procedural justice an advanced and rich nation can muster. As a country with a falling birth rate, we should welcome people who are willing to work hard and provide them a path to citizenship or at least legal protections. Trump's war on immigration makes no sense economically, and so many of you have bought into the fear and hatred already. I can only hope you will be so legal-minded when you are fleeing the Trump administration in about two years. Many of us owe our current privileged status in this country to our ancestors' arrival at a time when immigration laws were lax. I know my own great-grandfather arrived from Italy as an unaccompanied nine-year old orphan, and didn't complete the naturalization process until World War II. Many Italian-Americans were "undocumented" for decades while they raised families, invested in their communities, and tried to assimilate.
Soquelly (France)
Those that participate in separating children from parents must cease their activities, and they should fear that when a legitimate government is reestablished in the United States that there will be charges brought against those that terrorized individuals in their custody, and that there will be appropriate punishment meted, including a guarantee that anyone guilty will never work in law enforcement or immigration law again.
KA (New York, NY)
It is sickening to see how many comments condone these actions in the name of enforcing immigration laws. Enforcing laws is one thing, ripping innocent children from their parents' arms is barbarity and only those severely lacking in basic empathy can condone it. Part of law enforcement has to do with proportional consequences - simply saying "well, they broke law" means nothing. We don't take people's children away for breaking the law in the U.S., unless there is direct evidence of child endangerment. That is the type of thing that separates decent societies from barbarous ones, and we are rapidly crossing the line to the latter.
bu (DC)
Several immigrants, Mireya who came here legally and the Salvadoran who came here as a five-year old and is now a citizen (father of European descent) both have interesting conflicting views: Mireya wants the US not to be the world's welfare depot and pleads for legal immigration while the other is shocked how Latin American immigrants are bashed and blamed in this country. Legal immigration is what is needed more than ever. And much needs to be done in Latin America to enlighten people about the many perils of illegally entering the US. It is a crime. And the present government is adamant to fight this crime even to the point of acting very inhumanely by separating children from their parents. As Mireya pointed out, many governments south of the border exploit the illegal migrants as the potential supporters of the poor back home. It is unbelievable how un-Christian the evangelicals have become. And the dislike/racist rejection of "browner" people will increase. Also, the government will not do friendly things like a comprehensive immigration reform. America First. A very sad state of affairs. Reason & compassion are not the driving forces of history. Brutal self-interest is what marks this president and his base. At least, Senator Feinstein proposes legislation to keep the illegal families together in camps to avoid the separation tragedies. Part of a solution: more application centers for legal immigration in the Latin countries to alleviate a lot of human misery.
I. Apelo Enriquez (Williston Park, NY)
Why are there no American farmers talking (before it is too late) that they were the ones who initially sought and encouraged most migration, both legal and illegal because so few Americans choose to make back breaking farm work as their source of livelihood? Why are they not sounding the alarm about food rotting on the ground now as undocumented farm migrants are hiding from border patrol? Why are there no politicians acknowledging the fact that their cowardice and lack of foresight in taking fair, well-considered stands on legal immigration contributed to the current mess? Why are there churches ripping out Christ’s teachings out of the list of Christian virtues that propelled America to its greatness: faith, hope and charity; compassion for the sick, old, dispossessed and abused? Why are there so few businessmen who are telling it the way it is: our economy needs educated and skilled workers—- the best, the brightest and the hardest working employees available—- regardless of color, gender, religious beliefs, ancestry or age. Why are some immigrants who have “made it” in this country now indifferent to extending the asylum, sanctuary or rich opportunities to newcomers that they themselves have enjoyed in this country? We need opinion leaders, politicians, spiritual advisers, thinkers, doers, and all makes of individuals who will help turn us back to the values and work ethic that made this country great in the first place.
People who have entered illegally, remained illegally, and worked here illegally, are subject to detention and deportation. That is not fascism; that is law enforcement, and every country does it, as they should. When these people make a decision to defy federal law, they assume the risk of this outcome. It is no good blaming Trump, because every administration prior to his has deported illegals, and that is no secret. They just didn't get the press that he gets.
Jody (Philadelphia)
My heart is breaking for these children and their parents. My heart is breaking that we as a nation have slid to this depth of depravity because some people are so jaded and cruel that they have convinced themselves this is okay. This madness must stop. The perpetrators should be held accountable and punished. Our government's policies in this matter particularly are nothing short of biblically EVIL.
Erwan (NYC)
If you seek asylum, you ask for it at the border, and there is no reason to separate children from parents during the process. If you enter in U.S. illegally, you can't seek asylum once you're caught by border patrols, and the whole family should be deported.
Moxnix67 (Oklahoma)
Separating children from their parents at the border is a human rights violation. Doing so in the manner described adds heinous conditions. The Europeans aren’t ripping families apart, they place them together in camps or centers while they determine their status. The bureaucrats and line thugs responsible for this need to be charged someday.
mrmeat (florida)
It's a shame the children are suffering because the parents entered the US illegally. Honestly though, I just don't care. Life is not meant to be fair or kind. If you weren't lucky enough to be born in the US, or are to lazy to get a skill in your country of origin that pays well, don't come to the US. Life here will be no different.
john palmer (nyc)
If they don't come here illegally, they don't have to worry about being separated. How many thousands, millions can we support. We can't take care of our own citizens. Look at all the homeless, the unemployed young people, the jobless middle class with diminishing options and hopes. We cant afford it. It's unfortunate, but we can't afford it.
LF (SwanHill)
Not “we can’t take care of our own citizens.” We don’t take care of our own citizens. You’ve been fooled into thinking our country is poor. And you’re in a scarcity mindset of reaction and fear. We are not a poor country. We are insanely wealthy, and we used to be courageous, optimistic, and generous. Now we hand over all of our wealth to a corrupt and ridiculous few because they promise to protect us from the scary migrant eight year olds. We could be that country again - prosperous for everyone, open to the world, looking forward, confident in our ability to handle whatever comes, innovative and scientifically advanced. Immigrants are what got us there the first time. They are what we need now. People with guts and gumption and grit and determination and an awe-inspiring work ethic. The kind of people that would dare this journey in search of a better life for their kids. Not a nation huddled under an afghan by the flickering light of Fox News, miserly, reactionary, and quaking in fear.
David Ricardo (NYC)
Every single country in the world has borders and enforces immigration laws. Mexico has a southern wall. Yet *only* America gets singled out for wanting national sovereignty and enforcing immigration laws. See the blatant double-standard? By holding America to a higher standard than the rest of the world you are, implicitly, admitting American exceptionalism is true.
LF (SwanHill)
Which countries enforce those laws by ripping children from their parents? As a deliberate policy and for the expressed reason that hurting people’s children will deter them from seeking asylum? Of course people who support such a thing would rather argue with a straw man. You would rather pretend we want an open border or to take in a billion people or the rest of the absurd nonsense I read here. Except that’s not the argument. The argument is that tearing children out of the arms of their parents is evil and wrong.
Sally Peabody (Boston)
Michelle, brilliant writing here. Brilliant and terrifying. To think the US government is acting in such barbaric and hideous ways is almost beyond belief but.... voila, it is true! Who is taking responsibility for these children, for these broken families? Is is really such a crime to want to live a life free of utter violence and chaos as is the norm in much of central and south America? We have a system of immigration that allows for people who are in danger to apply for asylum. Let's stop treating them like vile criminals. Let's stop ripping families apart.
J kelly (Phoenix, AZ)
Good article. I wish we would establish a guest worker program for immigrants. The approach or lack of, is expensive, cruel, and ineffective.
g.e.Taylor (Sunrise, Fl. by way of Bklyn., NY)
This policy of differential treatment is the legacy of our society's attitude towards criminals. We have boxed our selves (and their children) into these forced separations. Enlightened societies would keep children with their parents. ;-)
Samuel Russell (Newark, NJ)
Separating families may sound fascist, but the fact is when adults go to jail the children can't accompany them. Families are separated EVERY TIME a parent goes to prison, for any reason. In this case it's for immigration violations. But where's the outrage over families being torn apart by drug convictions or other crimes? It's not like Trump invented the idea of sending adults to jail without their children.
LF (SwanHill)
There’s a lot of concern about that, actually. Welcome to the party. Some of us have been fighting mass incarceration and the devastating effects on families for... wow. Has it already been two decades for me? I got old.
meloop (NYC)
Aside from whether this is so called federal or I.C.E official policy-the embers of the bureaucracy need to remember-seriously-that the cia destroyed any and all available tapes showing it's agents conducting cruel, and illegal torture on so called prisoners, most of whom were not terrorists, nor were arrested by US police agents but were, in merely pick ups brought in by religiously motivated police in both Afghanistan and Iraq. It appears that the secret services have managed to end the possibility of exposure of their agents involved in crimes against humanity, the agents of ICE may not be given similar freedom from , job loss or , depending on the nature or horor of the crimes they commit under color of US law, possibly even criminal prosecution. While all US police have been given free hands to commit murder and homicide in the USA against US citizens, the ICE may find , in future, especially as foreign governments choose to make serious complaints under a different government or executive-. How citizens are treated by our own courts is different from treatment of foreign persons, especially if their governments object to the US's use of brutality, terror, torture and kidnapping of minor children to threaten foreign people who came to the US to plead for their rights under UN laws applicable to human rights , only to discover the US police agencies behave worse then or equal to the most vicious and cruel of all disctatorships extant on the face of the planet.
Peter Marquie (Ossining, NY)
Snatching children from parents is illegal, immoral and a crime: forced kidnapping. A lot of talk about the American institutions that safeguard.... These agents and their bosses should all be identified and arrested for grabbing kids from their parents.
T (On the Prairie)
I am an emigrant. My visa status? My permanent visa was rushed. Looking back, the only justification was the government needed my brain in the rise of new insecurities. My American born wife's grandparents came from the Russian Great Steppes. She grew up as a poor family farm child, rising from hiding food and laboring chores in freezing mornings to a top, but shy, teacher with international awards but totally dedicated to recently arrival refugee child at tough public schools. Exposed to history and so many experiences, America opened arms was a given for both of us. Now that I face death, not from enemies but from my own body, "first they came" to my emigrant heart, led by a coward, a liar, a bully, and a fool Commander-in-Chief. "Obeying orders," Nuremberg heard, and we hear it now here. Awake, I can rest on their reassuring, caring and professional voices. But drugged, hit by uncertain noises and lights in the hospital, my heart registers the diverse accents of these medical professionals, equal to that that have made us a hopeful nation till recently - that this shall pass too with courage and commitment of many.
Joe yohka (NYC)
I'm curious, which Latin American countries I could migrate to with no papers, no visa, and legally get work or even aid? Thanks.
REL (Austin)
If you support the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant parents from children, then you must support abortion in all cases. For both, the goal is the same: punish the child for the crimes of the parent.
Scot j (Jacksonville )
So what they should stay in their own country not border jumping illegal is illegal period
The 1% (Covina)
Rogue State? Jack-booted brown-shirts more likely. The same types of people who wore brown shirts in the late 1920's and early 1930's are the same types of people who have major trumpian leadership roles in this latest version of what poses as an "administration". Boot the conman out of office and fire all the enablers. November 2018, 100 years after we beat the Kaiser, cannot come too soon.
hall kaplan (malibu)
We were on a plane last week en route to Los Angeles from Mexico City. Upon landing at LAX we were instructed by the cockpit to not disembark, to remain in our ticketed seats as immigration officers were boarding the plane. Six ICE officers came on board strode down the aisle and grabbed a young man out of his seat and took him off the plane. This is the new America and it should be sending a real chill down every citizen’s spine.
sam (ma)
You do not know why he was removed by ICE. He could've been wanted for murder, a drug smuggler or whatever. Maybe he did something really wrong here in the US and was deported and was trying to return? They would not do this unless he was wanted for a severe crime.
Thollian (BC)
The policy of separating children from their illegally immigrating parents is vile, highly cynical and ominous. Now tell us how well is it polling. I can take a guess from some of the posts below. That's the dispiriting part.
LF (SwanHill)
Yes, but at least now we know. It’s no longer possible to lie to ourselves about what choices we are facing.
oldteacher (Norfolk, VA)
Sometimes I wonder why I dare to venture behind the headlines. This is simply the worst thing I could ever have imagined reading. It is hideous, and I wish with all my heart it were unbelievable. This is happening, but it shouldn't be tucked into the op-ed section. It should be the lead on the front page, and on the front pages of newspapers all over the country. NYTimes, you did not hesitate to blast us with Mr. Comey's ill-considered letter about Clinton's emails (again), don't be shy about this. Put each incident as your biggest headline. Do it every day. Who knows? It might effect some change. Live up to your rhetoric and your stated values. Do it today.
Pete C (Arizona)
“We simply follow the orders from above.” I believe this phrase was used during the Nuremberg trials as well. Scary times
John-Manuel Andriote (Norwich, Connecticut)
How is this cruel and inhumane treatment of fellow human beings any different or better than, say, North Korea’s? I am ashamed of my country. If this is making America great again, I would hate to see Trump’s version of not-great. For shame, America. For shame.
Open borders? Enforce the law? ... Which alternative?
Robert t (colorado)
This is being done mainly to cheer up his base -- people so racist and full of resentment that they want to see people of color treated with cruelty, and without caring too much about their immigration status.
Richard Mays (Queens, NYC)
A little perspective here: America has done such heinous things before. The institution of slavery murdered and terrorized forced “ immigrants” until the “program” was terminated by the Civil War. The native people were subjected to forced relocation and genocide until almost extinction. Japanese Americans were interned in concentration camps during WW II. Obama deported more immigrants than any president before him and left the DACA kids with precarious protection. Poor Black families were routinely separated from their children and sent to foster care at rates that eclipse other demographic groups. All this while Ellis Island was a beacon of hope for most European immigrants in the last century. So if you want to suggest that the current separation of immigrant children from their families is “almost unimaginable”; imagine again. What is lacking here is a general state of outrage by the American people, not just some lawsuits or amelioration legislation. The absence of such singular condemnation is complicity. But maybe it’s more important to watch “Game of Thrones” or talk about fascism in the abstract.
na (here)
Yes, separating children from their parents is wrong. Will Michelle Goldberg and all the commenters who agree with her critique answer these simple questions? 1. Knowing that they will be separated from their children, if the parents keep showing up at the border, what HUMANE options do we as Americans have - especially given the fact that we cannot possibly accommodate the entire wave of humanity that wants in? 2. At what point will it be okay to say "we cannot take any more" and not be labeled a "Nazi"? I would just like to know the end game.
Majortrout (Montreal)
"First they came", then we have people in the detention centres saying: “We simply follow the orders from above.” Remind anyone of Germany 1934-1948?
Bozo MacGinty (NYC)
American citizens and legal residents who commit crimes are not permitted to have their families stay with them if they are sentenced to jail. Should illegal border crossings be given special treatment?
Jordi (Mexico City)
"Just last week, we learned that a teenager from Iowa who had lived in America since he was 3 was killed shortly after his forced return to Mexico." So... what exactly was his "crime"?
bob (cherry valley)
Americans “who commit crimes” don’t bring their families with them for that either. Not the same thing. People who show up at the border should be given humane treatment. There’s nothing special about it. Obviously.
Mari (Camano Island, WA)
No matter how you excuse this, evil is evil.
Jared Michaels (El Cerrito)
Orders from above. It’s chilling. My prayer is that, unlike in pre WWII Germany, the masses say no. My fear: We won’t. But I’m not hopeless. Unlike pre WWII Germany, the stakes are even higher. Not only are immigrants and Americans vulnerable, we are living in the sixth great extinction in Earth’s history. That means that All sentient beings on the planet are vulnerable, or the entire Web-of-Life (which is, among other things, humanity’s safety net). In other words, our survival is at stake and I hope/pray/imagine that’ll facilitate our rapid evolution.
Barbara (SC)
The SS and German soldiers followed "orders from above" too. That didn't stop them from being convicted of war crimes. And that is what this is: first a war on immigrants, then on the rest of us. Just this week, Mr. Sessions decided that gang and domestic violence no longer qualify a family for political asylum. What will he eliminate next week? We are watching the fall of our great nation in slow motion, on 24 hour TV. We need all those who believe in justice and democracy and the United States as a haven for the downtrodden to stand up and work to change what is happening. No one can afford to sit back and wait for someone else to do it, because then "they [will come] for me."
Spencer (St. Louis)
This country turned away a ship of Jewish refugees escaping Hitler during WWII. We do not have a good history.
Citizen Ditto (Hellville)
What is so difficult for the media to understand? The policy that is being followed is called the Flores Agreement (or Settlement), which was created in 1997 (not a "couple of years ago"), under Clinton, and with the input of the SCOTUS. It basically states that children are to be held in the least restrictive manner possible, and that they will be placed with a relative, a sponsor, or in a licensed care facility. Or is it better to have the children reside in a federal detention facility for the weeks or months that it would take for their parents case to be resolved?
Tom in Illinois (Oak Park IL)
It is not fascism to enforce border laws. You have a lock on your door at home, and that is not fascist. Same thing. As far as children being separated, they should just take the entire family, drive them back to the border and they can all stay together, just not in the USA. But the children's parents don't want that, so it is entirely on them, not us, if they need to be separated while we sort through their claims.
Mari (Camano Island, WA)
Sure, Germans also thought it was a-okay.
jonathan (decatur)
Tom, these people are picked up at the border. They are being held pending asylum hearings by law. Separating small children from their parents is cruel and is likely, in the future, to lead those kids to become criminal.
Coopmindyl (Upstate New York)
It doesn't mean anything to you that these families are at high risk of gang violence or spousal abuse if they return to their home countries?
In deed (Lower 48)
First they said Hillary must win because she is a girl and Sanders can’t win. While the establishment lined up to lie about Sanders. Oh well. Then Hillary ran against a sexist buffoon. And. Lost. Lost a majority of white voting women. That took some doing. Then the sexist buffoon was the latest imperial president. Then the losers denied they lost and continued to throw hissy fits because that is the source of power in their world which is foolish on its own and makes things worse because the buffoons in power and their 86 percent supporters are addicted to whatever gets the losers to throw hissy fits. Keep it up.
Cynthia (New York)
This is further proof (as if we needed it) that the pro-life party, the party of Jeff Sessions and Jesus, the party that purports to defend the right to life of all innocents, ceases to care about those lives once the umbilical cord is cut... or they dare take one glance across that southern border. But yes, by all means, let's torch Planned Parenthood, build bigger cages for brown children, and incarcerate the rest, just like Jesus said when he wrote that into the Constitution.
Kurfco (California)
Michelle, "This month, an Ecuadorean immigrant with an American citizen wife and a pending green card application was detained at a Brooklyn military base where he’d gone to deliver a pizza; a judge has temporarily halted his deportation, but he remains locked up." I assume you know but very purposely chose not to include in this story that the individual involved in this has a deportation order dating to 2010. I wonder when he got married. I wonder if he has a "pending green card application" given the deportation order from 2010.
Citizen Ditto (Hellville)
Lets not forget that the teenager from Iowa voluntarily deported himself, had multiple DUIs (one while he was in deportation proceedings), had multiple drug offenses, and was killed while "getting dinner with an acquaintance who was known to the gang members". But yeah, he was a paragon of virtue.
David Ricardo (NYC)
All countries have borders and laws and yet only America is called out for enforcing the immigration laws that democratically elected members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, voted for. Holding America to a higher standard than the rest of the world is an implicit acknowledgment of American exceptionalism. Not sure that was your point.
Mari (Camano Island, WA)
Only America is detaining children and separating them from their families! Hitler did this too.
Ryan (Bingham)
Good. They can have them.
Phil (Brentwood)
A more apt title to your column would be "Finally they came for the lawbreakers."
Matt586 (New York)
We are no longer the shining city on the hill. Can we please stop the hate and all of its evil actions?!
Howard Beale (La LA, Looney Times)
I would love to see what would happen IF some evangelical Republican's kids or make that any Republican's kids were forcibly taken from them. What would we be seeing on Fox then. Trump, sessions, Miller et al are a disgrace. May their karma get them soon.
natan (California)
So do you think that no registered Republican with children has ever served a prison sentence or was taken to jail on criminal charges? No one, ever?
Freya Meyers (Phoenix)
We have a worldwide migration crisis on our hands as desperate people try to make their way out of violence and poverty to one of a handful of stable, wealthy countries. We don’t have the resources to process and resettle the number of people who’d like to come here, certainly not at the pace at which people are arriving. And unlike our neighbor to the north (there are some great articles on Canada’s efforts to settle Syrian refugees), we do very little for immigrants/refugees to get them truly integrated into society when they arrive. We can’t keep children in detention centers, and we can’t keep track of people we allow to remain in the country while their asylum claim processes, which takes years given the substantial backlog. Trump is certainly not one to let a good crisis go to waste. He is exhibiting his usual penchant for taking a bad situation and making it intolerable. Think about the unintended consequences of this approach. What happens when young people who’ve been separated from their parents or young adults who’ve been held in detention centers for years are ultimately either allowed to remain in the US or returned to their countries of origin? How many will be radicalized by the experience? Give people nothing left to lose, and they will act like they have nothing left to lose.
Rob Berger (Minneapolis, MN)
Illegal immigration is half of what it was in the 1990's.
john palmer (nyc)
years? They would be staying in detention centers for years? Why would we do that? We do not have a responsibility to support/warehouse these people. We can't afford it. They should just send them back over the border from where they came.
Eroom (Indianapolis)
The entire Trump Administration is the personification of soulless criminality. Every American who fails to resist these monsters is complicit in their crimes.
Mark Allard (Powell, Ohio)
"'...he asked people working in the detention center if they were concerned about the impact that family separation would have on the children who had been put under their authority. The answer, he said, was, “We simply follow the orders from above.”'" The same response as the Nazis and SS members gave during World War II.
Citizen Ditto (Hellville)
Mark, there's a WORLD of difference between placing children with a relative, a sponsor, or in a licensed care facility while their parents remain in jail for weeks or months, potentially causing some nebulous mental distress, and actively KILLING people.
Chris (San Antonio)
Fascism is on the rise, just not in the way the left thinks it is. The fundamental pillar of fascism that differentiates it from legitimate, non violent forms of government and politics, is the idea that those who disagree with your attempts to "reform" society are not simply people who believe that there is a better way to solve problems, or have different ideas about what's most important, but rather a hated enemy who is bent on dominating, oppressing, and destroying your way of life, who threatens to subjugate you to their will, and who therefore must be stopped at all costs. For every white supremacist or genuine racist in our society, there are a thousand conservative whites who want nothing more than for every one of their minority fellow citizens to feel accepted and empowered to succeed in their merits. Many are frustrated with the lack of that outcome, and others unwisely cast blame on the wrong causes for that, but the desired outcome is the same. Only one political party builds their platform insisting that the "other side" is something they are not, based on only the worst examples of inhumanity that a billion video cameras pointed at three hundred million people can find in any given day. Only one side ignores the millions of decent people who want the same outcomes everyone else wants while stereotyping conservatives as racists just as much, and just as unfairly, as any real racist has ever stereotyped black people as criminals.
John-Manuel Andriote (Norwich, Connecticut)
Yes, only one side—spelled Republican—believes it’s acceptable to rip apart families in the name of their holy cause of racial purity. You can’t hang that one on Democrats.
LF (SwanHill)
It’s been said before, but the American right genuinely (and loudly, as is their way) thinks that being called out on racism - accurately - is as bad or worse than being subjected to racism. It’s worse to be shamed for *being* a racist than to be subjected to racism, it goes. Projection is real. When the right talks about a culture of victimhood, that’s what’s up.
Linda (V)
If a person abducted a child from his/her parents in Iowa that person would be prosecuted and sent to jail. Our government, we the people , are doing that to hundreds of migrant children. We are all responsible. We cannot look the other way or follow illegitimate orders. It is time to protest, demonstrate, call our representatives. We the prople must put an end to this atrocity.
Citizen Ditto (Hellville)
If a lawful government representative took a child away from a parent who was about to go to jail, and placed them with a relative, a sponsor, or into a licensed care facility while their parent was in jail, what would happen then? Nothing, because that's the law and the correct moral thing to do. But because they're illegal immigrants, it's different?
Tired of hypocrisy (USA)
"First They Came for the Migrants" No, once again erroneous information, and I'm being kind! They do not come for the "migrants" they come for those who have BROKEN the well established immigration laws of the United States. In your "opinion" what other well established laws can and should (sanctuary) be broken in the United States with impunity? Please print your readers a list.
Coopmindyl (Upstate New York)
It is not a crime to seek asylum. But apparently Sessions wants to change that. I am sickened by how many people commenting on this column have hardened their hearts to those who seek a better life. And I'm sure many, many of you believe that you are Christians.
Poesy (Sequim, WA)
And we thought that the Nuremberg Trials settled the issue of "just following orders." It's not just our Congressmen, so distant from any reality I can name, but the Border guys who play the good soldier. Follow the Leader. Conscience doth make cowards of us all. Somebody said that, not me.
Maureen (Maine)
It was Shakespeare’s who said, “conscience doth make cowards of us all,” and he didn’t mean it makes people follow orders that are wrong. He meant the fear of doing wrong sometimes keeps people from acting boldly in their own self-interest.
Citizen Ditto (Hellville)
Poesy - see my remark above toward Mark Allard - the two situations are VASTLY different. As for the Nuremberg trials, they distinguished the difference between "lawful" and "unlawful" orders for military members. Nothing about the "Border guys" (or other civilians, for that matter) or about obeying laws and regulations created by the government and taxpayers of the country that have been in place for over two decades.
mollie (tampa, florida)
Unbelievable situation. I am ashamed of what this country has become. I feel that the only branch of government limping around is the executive branch. Everyone else is mum. The democrats are speaking out but they have no power now to change anything. We now have king trump who controls everything and decides everything, and still everyone is quiet. Until they'll come for you!!!!
Daisy (undefined)
Enforcing immigration laws is not fascism. What should happen, that we throw open all borders and let anyone who wants to move here, because "diversity is our strength"? What about resources for U.S. citizens?
TonyZ (NYC)
Maybe not but the methods being used are arguably immoral and certainly not Christian.
DaveD (Wisconsin)
Taking children from their parents without either parental permission or a court decree is simply kidnapping. The Dems, however, are simply napping.
natan (California)
So if a parent is arrested for, say child abuse or rape, and the children are taken from them, that's kidnapping? How far on the left are you?
jerry mickle (washington dc)
We should take the poem by Emma Lazarus off the statue of liberty. If Trump wins a second term we should just sent the statue back to France.
Kurfco (California)
It's a little known fact that when Ellis Island was in full immigrant acceptance mode, immigrants -- all legal, mind you -- were pretty vigorously processed. They were examined to see if they were seriously sick, had mental problems or were deemed "slow", or thought likely to "become a public charge". At least 20% were sent back to their home countries. The steamship that brought them was obligated to take them back. Most importantly, when legal immigrants were streaming in, it was before there was any social safety net. Immigration was only a plus. If it worked out, it was great for everybody. If it didn't, no one knew or cared. There was no cost to the US or its taxpayers. Now, we are swamped with illegal "immigrants" who are having a lot of kids, often at taxpayer expense (Medicaid) and they are very often "public charges", on all manner of entitlements.
BorisRoberts (Santa Maria, CA)
But who will pay the shipping?
James (New York)
"I don't know how to convince you how to care about other people" comes to mind when reading many of these comments.
Ken Miller (Seattle)
Regardless of your position on illegal immigration, everyone should agree tearing parents away from their children and breaking up families is reprehensible. No country, with two land borders as big as the United States shares will be able to stop all undocumented immigration perfectly. If you want to make the case that billions of tax dollars is best spent on trying to scare and round every undocumented person up, go make your case. I take the position that we’re all immigrants, there should be a path to legal status to otherwise law-abiding people who have been working here for years (that prioritizes those going through the official channels to be fair) and that ICE should narrowly focus on violent undocumented criminals for deportation only - if that - and their multi billion dollar waste of a budget should be hacked apart. Every single American citizen out there should feel disgusted and ashamed of what is happening right now. This is not who we are.
Kurfco (California)
I agree. I think we need to come up with a quick way to jail the kids with the parents.
Niles (Colorado)
My understanding is that border patrol is finding it hard to retain staff. In the parlance of this article, they're having trouble finding people desperate enough to "simply follow orders from above".
D Smith (Nyc)
If I were to rob a bank at gunpoint this afternoon, I’d be taking the likely risk that I would eventually be caught and serve time in prison separating me from my children. In the same way, people crossing the border illegally can consider the consequences of their decisions before acting. Even in the case of asylum seekers, an application can be sent in advance of coming to the US. The easiest and quickest way to stop all of these “tragedies” is for the illegal immigrants to follow the rules and apply for immigration legally.
Jane (US)
Their crime is not on par with robbing a bank. It is akin to stealing a loaf of bread for your starving child. Yes it’s a crime (I believe border crossing is a misdemeanor not a felony) but it’s a crime of desperation.
Sam Wilson (NYC)
Yes, a desperation to live in a wealthier country. We recently saw Central Americans traveling the long distance across Mexico, bypassing an opportunity to stop and live in a country that shares their language and culture to come to the US. The desperation claim seems less believable when other, more convenient options were not taken
Lane ( Riverbank Ca)
If these children are being used as pawns the parents made the first move.. hiring cartels for transport, learning how say the "magic" words required for entry, get in, disappear and not show up for hearings. ..bringing the very corruption they seek to escape.
BorisRoberts (Santa Maria, CA)
And Citizen Lane, those words being taught to them just across the border, have changed a bit, they do not include "I'm a victim of domestic violence" any more.
Caded (Sunny Side of the Bay)
If a baker can refuse to decorate a cake due to religious beliefs, why can't ICE agents refuse to separate children from parents based on their religious beliefs. Hey, evangelicals, how do you think Jesus would react to separating children from their parents. Do you still love Trump?
natan (California)
There is a separation of church and state in the US. How "Jesus would react" is irrelevant when it comes to secular law enforcement. ICE agents have every right to refuse performing their duties based on their religious beliefs - and quit their jobs in the process.
Jeff (Lynden, WA)
This is horrible to witness. The fact that we can so readily forgo what we have accomplished in this country by welcoming immigrants is immensely sobering. The effects of which will be felt through a generation or two, at the very least. And for what? To appease a political but vocal minority? To project 'toughness'? What cost is too high? The biggest fear I have, is that this is only the beginning. I fear that this social virus has taken hold and is spreading at a pandemic rate. Fear and hate are taking control of our society. These are our neighbors, our friends, and our family. This madness very soon needs to hit a solid force of social integrity. A force that is not absent in our collective conscience, as we have done many times before in our history. We shouldn't be getting worse at this, we should be getting better. Better leadership will not manifest itself until it is absolutely demanded. Loudly and without wavering. Today it is these poor children and their families. At this rate, who knows what tomorrow will bring, other than more horrible policy. Stay informed. At the very least, all you need to do, is vote. Please vote.
Samuel Russell (Newark, NJ)
As horrendous as the treatment of immigrant children is, you are using the wrong analogy. Nobody is "coming for" the migrants, they are choosing to enter the country illegally. In Germany in the 1930's, Jews were scaling fences in the dead of night to get OUT of Germany, not to get in, and the government was detaining them to prevent them from leaving, not entering. Trump's policies are unnecessarily cruel to be sure, but the fact remains that applying for citizenship and applying for asylum are processes that can be pursued legally, avoiding the separation of families. Illegally jumping the border fence is not part of that process. And the case for compassion is strong enough on its own merits. It should be enough to demand fair treatment of migrants without resorting to hyperbolic exageration. There should be no need to insult the victims of previous conflicts by inappropriately using them as props to bolster the agrument.
natan (California)
Great comment! It's very disturbing how the far left is using the Holocaust analogies even in cases that are literally the opposite of Nazi persecution - namely people volunteering to come to a "persecuting, fascist" country by any means necessary. If the US is so horrible and intolerant to foreigners, then what's even the point of these mass migrations to such a nation? When ICE starts shooting the migrants at massive numbers, digging the mass graves and throwing children in them before executing the parents, when they start building gas chambers for the migrants, then certainly they could be compared to the Nazi regime.
LHP (Connecticut)
What's better than a wall? No need for one.
Jacob Sommer (Medford, MA)
These people are coming here because they are afraid of their home and hopeful for the promise of the American dream that we have given them for decades. Separating families who come here is wrong. Taking children from their parents by means of force or trickery is flat-out evil, unless the parents are harming the children. And this is being pushed by a party that's always said previously that it stands for "family values"? What does that even mean in the face of this? We cannot claim the moral high ground if we engage in acts that go against very clear moral principles.
Bookworm8571 (North Dakota)
Domestic violence and gang violence are all too common horrors, both in the U.S, and worldwide. At a guess, there are half a dozen reports a week in the local city court. Victims should be helped to get away and start new lives. But I’m not sure If this all too common tragedy is grounds for asylum or if the U.S. must let everyone who crosses the border and claims to be a victim stay. Social welfare programs are already inadequate for the victims who legally live here.
Kurfco (California)
Just what is your view? Do you believe this country should have no immigration system, that anyone who wants to come here can, anytime? Or is it that you are uncomfortable with enforcing our immigration laws? Do you believe we can have an immigration system that we don't enforce? Do you believe that someone who broke our laws and hid out long enough somehow becomes deserving of being treated just like someone who came in legally? Just what is your view? The point of having laws, any laws, is to instill fear in lawbreakers: fear of being caught, fear of consequences. Fear is what makes drivers pay attention to speed limits. Fear is what makes robbers think long and hard about knocking over banks. The only reason laws work is through enforcement sufficient to instill fear in actual and potential lawbreakers. So, yes, first they came for those who robbed 7-11's, then they came for those who robbed banks, then they came for those who broke immigration laws and worked illegally and used forged Social Security cards and perjured themselves to fill out an I-9. We call this law enforcement.
Lawrence Lewis (Ridgefield, WA)
The point of the article is discussing people who are applying for asylum not illegal immigrants. Sessions change to asylum requirements is reprehensible.
Prairie Popilist (Le Sueur MN)
Laws are things men write in books. Some laws are good some are bad some are awful. That something is legal doesn’t make it moral or right. We fought a war that ended in 1865 over something that was legal but abhorrent.
Ken Miller (Seattle)
Do you think tearing children from their parents, terrorizing a 3 year old by telling them that they will never see their parents again, is ok? Anyone with any shred of humanity should feel absolutely disgusted by this. Yes, we have immigration laws and they should be enforced. But the fact is you cannot simply enforce this perfectly - especially with two land borders as big as ours. So what do you want to spend our limited taxpayer resources on? Terrorizing every undocumented but otherwise law abiding family out there? Or putting the focus on finding and deporting violent criminals who are here illegally?
Susan Crowley (Hood River)
Children are taken from their parents because a judge ruled that for their own protection they could not be held in adult facilities with their parents. The separations are an unfortunate byproduct of this ruling. The separations were not deliberately instituted by the administration as punitive measures.
Robert (Seattle)
Susan's comment is not correct. The White House (e.g., Kelly, Sessions) itself has said that they are taking children from their families in order to discourage folks from applying for asylum in the future. Susan Crowley wrote: "Children are taken from their parents because a judge ruled that for their own protection they could not be held in adult facilities with their parents. The separations are an unfortunate byproduct of this ruling. The separations were not deliberately instituted by the administration as punitive measures."
Kerry Egdell (San Francisco)
No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own Or of thine friend's were. Each man's death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee. John Donne Meditation 17 Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
Ed (Old Field, NY)
You’re at one and the same time demanding more strict legal protections and less strict legal protections.
Spook (Left Coast)
Look, lady, quit trying to legitimize the invasion of our country by illegal outsiders by calling them "migrants". They are not. We didn't invite them here, and many of us don't want them to come. It has nothing to do with their skin color, either (says the somewhat himself brown guy).
maria5553 (nyc)
Many of us welcome these humans and recognize their contribution.
Alexandra (Seoul, ROK)
Native Americans could not agree with you more.
Peateabe (Florida)
Oh if the Native Americans had just sent back the pilgrims when they came here.
sarah (N.J.)
Michelle Goldberg I have read your totally negative essay about the Migrants. What would you do, Ms.Goldberg, if you were not just an Opinion Columnist, but in charge of the entire immigrant problem?
J. (Ohio)
What any decent person would do: not separate children from their parents for a start.
1truenorth (Bronxville, NY 10708)
What any decent person would do: not expose their children to it in the first place. Don't enter our country illegally and then have children here. It's that simple.
Michael Green (Brooklyn)
We should release every non-violent drug, tax, and burglary inmate who has children. It is a human rights violation to separate them from their children.
James Young (Seattle)
This is how much immigrants pay in taxes in states where they are located. I suggest that those who support Trump keep in mind that real facts do exist, and that what, Trump supporters are truly afraid of is losing their place at the top of the pecking order, it's a fact that whites, will be a minority within 30 years. You can already see it in the faces of congress, its moving away from the good ole boys club that Sessions is from, that kind of backward thinking, is well... backwards.
Al (Idaho)
Cherry picked numbers. The u.s. born kids are citizens and eligible for all those benefits and not counted against the taxes that the low wage parents earn. If low wage people could balance the budget, we'd be there now.
Rick (Plymouth)
"Immigration officers are boarding trains and buses and demanding that passengers show them their papers. " Just make sure you always have your "papers" with you whenever you go out in public. Especially if your skin tone is something other than white as snow.
Michael Green (Brooklyn)
My 7th generation American White Anglo Saxon / Irish friend was arrested in Central Park because he didn't have papers. Get over the racism issue.
Mark R. (Rockville MD)
For those outraged that "illegals" are being equated to German Jews, consider that Hitler's public stance was just that they were not true German citizens and he claimed to want them to leave. Consider too how poorly the label "illegal" applies to many who did nothing wrong, or whose status changed while here legally. ICE is often these days racing to deport people before they receive green cards already in the pipeline. And Sessions has just removed the ability of immigration judges to suspend proceeding in such deportations. Trump continues to seek both slashing legal immigration of all types, and to make life for difficult for immigrants here legally.
Margo Channing (NYC)
But the DID do wrong, the came here across our borders illegally. What part of that equation don't you all get?
Jeff Carlson (Bowie, MD)
The author points out that U.S. Customs workers,when asked if they were concerned about the psychological impact the separation from parents would have on the children, replied that they were “following orders from above.” Isn’t this what the German government workers said during the Holocaust?
Lane ( Riverbank Ca)
This headline could only be written by those who make no distinction between the words legal and illegal. It's not bank robbery any more either just an undocumented transaction. Folks on the left seem unaware of books called dictionaries.
You write of the "countless horrors" that confront illegal immigrants and include the detention of one at a Brooklyn military base where he went to deliver a pizza (horrifying -- especially the Brooklyn part)....but what of the "countless horrors" that have resulted from unchecked illegal immigration? Is it not "horrifying" that illegal immigrants commit a level of violent and drug related crimes grossly disproportionate to their population? -- that illegal immigrants are involved in 17 percent of all drug trafficking sentences and one third of all federal prison sentences? -- that over 2,400 illegal immigrants out of a total prison population of 130,000 in California are imprisoned in the state's system for homicide? -- that the Obama administration determined that criminal immigrants committed 25,064 murders in this country between 2003 and 2009? It is indeed a tragedy what happened to the Iowa teenager. But is it not also tragic what happened to Kate Steinle, or the two Long Island teens beaten with baseball bats and chopped up with machetes by MS-13, or the thousands of others (yes, thousands) killed or raped by illegal immigrants? Our nation's high schools are breeding grounds for violent gangs fed by the influx of illegal immigrant teens where sexual harassment, rape and murder are becoming commonplace, and yet strangley, the ACLU and your moral outrage, are nowhere to be found.
Maggie Mae (Massachusetts)
A few generations ago, my people were being vilified as perpetrators of the "countless horrors" that resulted from immigration. That picture of immigrants wasn't true at the turn of the 20th century and it isn't true now.
Michael Green (Brooklyn)
Maybe it was more true that you want to admit or discover. There is a reason immigration has always been unpopular with the native born population all the way back to the Native Americans.
Samuel Russell (Newark, NJ)
The next time the guys at that base order a pizza I bet they'll be waiting for a while. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.
Robbie J. (Miami Florida)
"We simply follow orders from above." Interesting statement, that. Even Oliver North was held liable for the actions he performed because "he was just following orders". So now one of two (mutually exclusive) conditions exist. 1. The persons involved are morally culpable; 2. No one is culpable in any wrongdoing as long as they can show they were following orders. Hmm. Interesting.
Alice's Restaurant (PB San Diego)
Once again for the backstage crew: Of course, what Albright is talking about is not “Fascism: A Warning”, but rather the loss of American sovereignty. She doesn't believe in it: For her, and Goldberg, no surprise, a solid NYT Opinion Kingdom member, it's all about the "collective" and filling it as fast as possible--Hillary's gold standard "open-borders". A better book to read, "Camp of the Saints" by Jean Raspail, which is why the Italians want to deport more than 500,000 illegal immigrants.
Boston Barry (Framingham, MA)
Trump whips up his base by demonizing "the other". Saying those who march with Nazis are good people (his words). Calling all immigrants criminals. The tactic has always worked when the economy does not treat workers fairly. Someone must be to blame and it cannot be the advantages of the oligarchs. For giving racism a voice, Trump is and will be our nation's everlasting disgrace.
Charles (Tecumseh, Michigan)
If a migrant who was here illegally was killed when he was returned to Mexico, perhaps you should be concerned about fascism in Mexico, not the United States. I don't hear any stories of Americans being forced to return to this country and then being summarily executed here when they arrive. Now that would be some kind of fascist totalitarian nightmare, but it simply does not exist. Why is it that Central Americans facing violence in their own countries do not stop when they reach Mexico, but continue to travel under inhumane conditions over 1000 miles to try to reach the United States. It is because Mexico has immigration laws that are draconian when compared to ours and they actually enforce their laws--without mercy. The moral imperative to care for these migrants begins at Mexico's southern border, not at ours. But of course, that provides no future electoral advantage for the Democratic Party, a party that has cynically incentivized people to come to this country illegally for decades, knowing those people would have to live in the shadows. The Democrats have purposely created an underclass of millions of people and then they cry crocodile tears over them.
Tom P (Brooklyn)
I think you might be confusing fascism with violent crime, friend.
Al (Idaho)
I noticed not a word about crimes committed by immigrants, legal and otherwise. Not a word about a country having the right to control its borders and who crosses it. If you want open borders and no say on who comes here, you should just say that. Central America and indeed the world has an unlimited supply of poor, unhappy people. This problem will not be solved by bringing them all here.
maria5553 (nyc)
Don't worry the US also has an unlimited supply of poor unhappy people and they have a masdive sense of entitlement
Tom P (Brooklyn)
Probably because those crimes aren't being committed by these children who were the actual focus of the story. Try to focus. You should try that.
Phobos (My basement)
What about crimes committed by American citizens? Where is your outrage over that? The FBI’s own statistics show a lower crime crimes amongst immigrants compared to American-born citizens.
Bar tennant (Seattle)
Illegal aliens are not migrants!
maria5553 (nyc)
don't be coy, laws about migration are not handed down from God on stone tablets, people make the laws and for not our president has expressed he would like more Europeans and fewer brown people, since this seems to sync nicely to your beliefs, I'm sure you are feeling justified in your xenophobia.
Tom P (Brooklyn)
Yes they are. Migrant doesn't distinguish between legal or illegal. Stop trying to rewrite definitions to fit your political beliefs. That's another symptom of fascism.
Enough Already (USA)
So Dems have officially decided it is Nazism to enforce our immigration laws. Wow.
Tom P (Brooklyn)
No. It's the new, inhumane laws that we're actually worried about. Pay more attention.
Kip (Scottsdale, Arizona)
Maybe you could remind us who said neo-Nazis are "very fine" people, after one of them killed a woman who stood up to them. Then, please enlighten us as to which candidate David Duke, the Daily Stormer and the Traditionalist Workers Party endorsed. We'll stand by.
Enough Already (USA)
It is not Nazism to send an Ecuadorian home. Ecuador is not Nazi Germany. Neither are Mexico or Honduras or Guatemala. Liberal virtue signaling on this issue and their misuse of such analogies is beyond offensive at this point. If such countries are less than ideal, then perhaps it would be better for their citizens to lobby for change there. We are not Nazis when we tell them to return home.
SAJ (Maine)
No, we're not Nazis for turning people away at the border. We're Nazis for separating small children from their parent in order to terrorize both. Have we forgotten that country, skin color, religious, gender are all labels and we are all human underneath? I thought my country was better than this.
Susan Foley (Livermore)
I gather that our southern border is experiencing a surge of people from Central America claiming asylum. I gather that we do not presently have the judicial staff to process so many people quickly. The laws about asylum contemplate political or religious persecution, not simply the existence of gangs or civil disorder (or, most grotesquely, domestic violence). More than 80% of these claimants will be found not legally deserving of asylum when we are able to process them. In the meantime, many of their stories have a ritualistic, patterned feel: the gangs, the uncle or nephew killed, the threats, all of this taking place in an area where it is impossible to verify any details. Was there ever an uncle or a nephew at all? Were there threats, is there any evidence? If they are running for their lives, why did they not apply for asylum in Mexico or some country closer to their homes? It would seem that almost all are economic refugees, not covered by the law. They are hoping to get out of custody somehow, and then vanish among the millions who are already here in violation of law. We cannot take every person on the planet who simply wishes to move here. We need a comprehensive immigration law which has wide public support, and which it is possible to enforce. I put this whole problem to Congress, whose job it is. Let them do their job, write something most of us can live with, and enact it.
Michael Storrie-Lombardi, M.D. (Ret.) (Pasadena, California)
Thank you NYT for again shinning a spotlight on the dark side of our humanity - the easy slide into the totalitarian “just following orders”.
C-E Dawson (Richmond CA)
The Republican Party's lock-step support of the Trump Administration is as guilty of this huge moral failure of our country, and all the other unthinkable things Trump is doing, as he is. Like those who are 'just carrying out orders,' they clearly have no principles and no guts or spine. When will citizens wake up from this nightmare that our country has become and demand that these terrible, heartless and immoral people who have taken over our government and political process be fired?! All of them, in the executive, congressional and judiciary branches: they are a poison to our dreams of a democratic society.
Thank you for grudgingly acknowledging that "America’s immigration system was capricious and cruel before Trump" and that Obama similarly separated children in detention centers. Question: where was all your (and the Times') moral outrage then? 
maria5553 (nyc)
There has been moral outrage since the passage of the 1996 search the archives.
Regan DuCasse (Studio City, CA)
Our nation has borders, sovereignty and the oath of office requires protection of them and the integrity of the Constitution. Which is all being broken under the weight of an ideology we cannot allow. Let alone sustain. CA has practically seceded from the rest of the country, in it's bid to allow all manner of illegal entry and accommodation, no matter the proven danger to the public. But more importantly, the danger to public trust. Actions as fascist as can be. But because Dems control CA, they get a pass? Potential immigrants have to understand the limits of our gov't and resources. This is not now, nor ever was immigrant vs. citizen, but law abiding vs. law breaking. There is no reason to shame the US, because of it's limits in accommodating so many immigrants. The shame, should be directed to the foreign lands these people are fleeing. And clearly, their cultural brethren aren't uniting in order to change things so they wouldn't have to.
Carolyn C (San Diego)
Nuremberg Principle IV - "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him".
Lisa (Oakland)
Thank you for this article, but you didn't finish the thought. First they came for the migrants, next they came for .... , probably the poor , but as one of your commentators suggested, next the came for the sick, those with preexisting conditions like most of us. The callousness required to rip children from their parents, doesn't leave much doubt, that letting sick people die because they can't afford medical care is on the agenda. Resist. Vote while you still can.
Neil Robinson (Norman, OK)
Which easily identified group will our Republican led government choose for the next roundup? At this point, Canadians are in disfavor by Mr. Trump, but they are probably too physically like white Republicans to be dragged off trains or buses. Perhaps liberals could be collected as they register to vote. After witnessing the arrest of those attempting register as a Democrat, many might claim to be independents, but gathering the hard-core Democrats would have some value to the Republicans in helping prevent the spread of “wrong thinking”. Maybe the Republicans will enact legislation requiring the New York Times and Washington Post to turn over subscriber names and addresses. The GOP might also appreciate a device to reveal the amount of time certain wrong-headed people tune in to NPR. As of now, people are in trouble if they live in skin that not as white as that of Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, Neil Gorsuch, Paul Ryan and the host of racially pure Republicans responsible for allowing the travesties to continue.
Airborne (Philadelphia, Pa.)
This is a silly column that undercuts the real threats of this administration. These are not "undocumented" migrants, they are illegal entrants into our country. They do not have the right to be here and we have the right to expel them. This is exactly the confusion that allowed this terrible man to be elected, and more serious political observers are afraid that the immigrant issue may allow the Republicans to maintain control of congress--that and gerrymandering.
goharc (Los Angeles)
Latinos, Muslims and other assorted "Brownies" are finding out what Black Americans have known for generations... White Americans in general and Trump\GOP voters in particular don't care about brown and black babies or kids or families. They are just words in a newspaper article. Something to occasionally read and temporarily feel bad about, and then move on with their Facebook-laden lives. Mark my words, this brutality and utter cruelty is "Trump keeping his promises" to most White Americans. And he will be re-elected in 2020.
Neil Robinson (Norman, OK)
The part about temporarily feeling bad is no longer a problem for the GOP faithful. The Republican leadership blames the victims, so the injustice can be easily dismissed as being self-destructive behavior.
maria5553 (nyc)
I agree with most of what you said but Latinos are not "just finding that out" that's been evident for centuries.
koyaanisqatsi (Upstate NY)
This looks like a real world version of the famous Stanford Prison Experiment in which the guards (ICE agents) began within a couple days to brutalize the prisoners (immigrants). Mistreatment of immigrants was bound to happen when the ICE agents were given this much power over immigrants without proper guidelines and oversight. And the lack of leadership during Nixon administration that led to the Kent State/Jackson State killings is what we now have in Washington. See:
Cynthia (Illinois)
Putting our faith in the next election is foolish. Putin is training Trump. The next election will certainly involve changing votes. There are very few states with any controls on the vote tallies. They trust the computer and there is no way to verify. No paper ballots, and no intention to fix this. The rational people in this country have no options left. When the Republicans win the midterms, you will know fascism is fully in control. Time to go. Or face loss of freedom and maybe your life. They can close the borders in both directions. They intend to eliminate us. Camps for everyone.
"Family separations began last year — immigrant advocates aren’t sure exactly when..." This is a lie. Separating children from their parents when the parents are being detained was a practice that dates back to the Obama administration, as reported by this newspaper a couple of weeks ago. How is it that Goldberg is allowed to be so misleading in her column?
sm (new york)
The comparison can't help but be made . The nazis took children from Poland , and other countries who looked aryan while sending their parents to the camps . It has been mentioned in previous articles that children taken from parents at the border are supposedly lost ? The parallels are frightening , concerning , and too obvious to discount . Does this not bother anyone ? Surely there has got to be another way to discourage this hopeless migration . People escaping violence , or for economic reasons , are desperate to to take all the risks to make it here including having their children torn from them . Have we then reached the 21st century version of Sophie's Choice?
Steve J (Canada)
There aren't even slight parallels. Not even in the way you tried to describe it.
Tom P (Brooklyn)
Of course there are. You just refuse to acknowledge them. That's on you and your conscience. God help you.
Al (Idaho)
The way to discourage this mess is to make it clear in Central America that you and your family will be sent home if you come to the u.s. border. They can apply to our consulate, but just showing up as BHO advertised will not be allowed and will not get you into the u.s. The system is being gamed as many of these people are coached on what to say when they get to the border. Our asylum laws were never meant to make the u.s. the population pressure relief valve for Central America.
Charlotte (Florence, MA)
Yes this is unthinkable and indeed we never know who's next. Wonderful column, Michelle! Not to mention the admin 'Dumb and Dumber', the migrant family's situation also gets worse and worse.
Mel Hauser (North Carolina)
Mr. Trump; Tear down that statue--
Regan DuCasse (Studio City, CA)
The Statue of Liberty has a lovely sentiment on it by Emma Lazarus. And the statue is beautiful. But no one, NO ONE has any right to just show up, then wipe their feet on her face.
Thinker (Akron)
The chief reason that Democrats advocate for illegal immigrants is that Hispanics primarily vote Democrat. Do you think Democrats would be championing their cause if they thought they were going to vote Republican? At the end of the day, it's all about votes.
jan m (westchester county)
No it is not, it is because as a Mother I cannot stand idly by and say nothing!! As a mother I cannot imagine what your circumstances have to be in your home country to decide to make this trip. I do not believe in separating a mother or father from their children for any reason let alone a political reason.
Al (Idaho)
Some of us cannot imagine why a mom and her kids go right thru several countries, where they could ask for asylum to get to the u.s.? Could it be that those countries don't have a generous welfare package for refugees?
BorisRoberts (Santa Maria, CA)
Don't forget though.......most business owners would rather pay someone $10-$12/hr with no insurance or other benefits, than pay some Journeyman $40/hr plus benefits.
natan (California)
The third paragraph already contains a major lie: the pizza delivery guy was NOT in fact an immigrant. He was an illegal alien with a deportation order. From the authors own source: "Two years later, he was granted a voluntary departure but failed to comply." I'm very liberal on immigration (I even advocate for a form of amnesty for most illegal aliens, a second chance). But the left is just going too far in constantly misrepresenting the facts, the law and abusing the language. Every legal immigrant whose petition for green card is pending gets detained at a port of entry (usually with Advance Parole document). Most cases resolve in about an hour or two. Asylum cases, however, are extremely hard and full of fraud so they take a lot longer. Everyone know that! If you're running from a war-like situation you don't worry about temporary detention in a safe country. The reality is that even most law-breakers do get their cases eventually approved (in cases of illegal work or unlawful presence for a short time period) as long as they stop breaking the law and are willing to follow the government's orders and address their requests. This system is indeed very forgiving for those who try to clean up their status after violations. But the far left wants to forgive those who refuse to do that, those how continue, willingly to break the law. That's going too far.
Jim (NL)
We are talking about young children. Where is your humanity? Christian nation? Indeed!
natan (California)
Well, I'm not a Christian and there is also separation of church and state in the US. As I said, I'm very liberal on immigration and hope that the legitimate asylum cases get approved soon. Potential immigrants often get separated from their families, sometimes for years. This is normal and I myself went through the process (I couldn't visit my parents without risking issues with the pending case). That's just standard operating procedure. Change the immigration laws through legislation if you don't like them.
Regan DuCasse (Studio City, CA)
Agreed. Los Angeles is in an overwhelming housing crisis. It's the second most expensive city to live in, and it's attracted millions- with no skills, no discernible ability to function well. But are encouraged to utilize the dwindling resources, taxpayer funded, with NO regard to the citizens and legal immigrants who contribute to said funding. We have broken under the strain. And our local leadership is so blithe as to believe we're successful and everything is fine. Their hubris is infuriating.
Occupy Government (Oakland)
No one is obliged to follow unlawful orders. or unthinkable ones.
Margo Channing (NYC)
One IS obliged to follow laws. Not cherry picking the ones you like.
Burton (Austin, Texas)
The root of the problem is that our border security is so pitifully weak that it is childs' play to get a few miles into the USA.
William Case (United States)
America doesn’t send its own children to jail along with their parents when their parents are arrested and incarcerated. No civilized country does. Why should migrant children be jail children for crimes their parents commit? Migrant children who cross the border illegally are not prosecuted because they are too young to have acted with criminal intent. Michelle Goldberg’s assertion that they should be incarcerated along with their parents is astonishing.
James (US)
Ms. Goldberg: These migrants as you call them are here in this country illegally having violated our laws. We don't owe them anything.
Jim (NL)
They ARE a still human beings. We should treat them as such. Doing any less demeans us as a people
James (US)
They are treated like humans. What more do you want?
Rennata Wilson (Beverly Hills, CA)
"There are countless horror stories about what’s happening to immigrants under Trump." Wrong - there are countless stories about what's happening to foreign nationals attempting to smugly circumvent and subvert our duly enacted immigration laws. Stop conflating illegal immigrants with legitimate immigrants.
Anne Sherrod (British Columbia)
Goldberg's title is entirely appropriate here. Although it comes from something written about Nazi Germany, it captured a universal law of human affairs that has been applied many times to many situations. Call it the law of human selfishness. It refers to the fact that many people will ignore an injustice unless it's happening to them or their associated group. But if allowed to go on, the injustice expands until it engulfs everyone, at which time it may be too late to stop it. In World War II this applied to the UK ignoring the plight of the Czechs; picture the ensuing London blitz. It applies to the US waiting so long to enter the war; by the time we did, it had engulfed the world. A friend of mine once expressed it this way: "Are we never to learn from the Civil War, or from World War II, that we allowed the forces that would ultimately menace us to grow in strength when we ignored the fact that they menaced others?" If it is true that Goldberg is Jewish, it makes a lot of sense that she would remind us of this, as it is a great lesson stemming from the plight of the Jews, and very related to another great teaching: "Love they neighbor as thyself". Ask yourself how you would feel if your child was taken away from you under brutal conditions and with heartless intent, and act accordingly.
Regan DuCasse (Studio City, CA)
How would you feel if your child was taken away from you, because immigration laws were not enforced? Look up Jamiel Shaw, Sr. And the thousands and thousands who's loved ones died because an illegal immigrant killed them. Deportation isn't the worst thing that can happen and it's not permanent. In this, the liberals have been heartless, brutal and more invested in a demographic unqualified to vote for them, than the legal immigrant and citizens who are. Since when are people who have broken our system as well as the laws, have more political clout than a citizen? THAT is not humanitarian. Shaming the US, instead of the nations immigrants are fleeing from, is disgusting.
LF (SwanHill)
So - Regan, just to clarify, you agree that losing a child is unthinkably horrible, right?
kathleen cairns (San Luis Obispo Ca)
Would-be dictators like forty-five, and his minions, fail to understand that these kids will grow up to hate America. They never learn from history. How did Isis begin? How did it spread so quickly? US policy in the Middle East that treated people as if they were subhuman. Most of these kids will be sent "home." Some--hopefully only a few--will join groups that vow revenge on their northern "neighbor." Some will cross the border to exact revenge. Sadly, few will remember how it all started; as the song goes, "back at the beginning."
Margo Channing (NYC)
These children and more importantly their parents don't belong here. The latter knowingly broke our laws. We owe them nada.
Judy (Long Island)
My only consolation for what Trump and Sessions have turned us into, is looking forward to the day they are on trial in The Hague for these crimes against Humanity. Especilly chilling to me was telling mothers to come for a photo, in order to take away their young children. Shades of "it's just a shower"!
Lois B. (London, England)
I do not understand why the Democrats in the Senate and House have not been calling for and engaging in civil disobedience. This is an honourable way of protesting the fascism of the Trump administration. The Republicans are cheerleaders for this monstrous evil overcoming our democracy - it is time Democratic representatives stood up for our democracy. Lame twitter feeds and appearances on television are useless.
George (NYC)
The problem Michelle is that these individuals are not here legally. Obama had 8 yrs to pass legislation to address this problem and did not. Trump is enforcing the law as they exists. Had Obama not chosen to legislate through edict, and had put legislation in place, DACA and the status of illegals would be a non issue. What does not help matters is that ICE just rounded up 91 illegals with serious criminal records in the state of NJ. You cannot have it both ways. If convicted of a serious crime an illegal alien should be deported regardless of the affect on his US based family. Don’t do the crime if you cannot afford the penalty.
Regan DuCasse (Studio City, CA)
Not just deported forthwith, but we must have enforcement in place and an efficient barrier so that they don't keep reentering the country. Law abiding, vs. Law breakers. It's clear where support should be with regard to this issue. The question is: why isn't it?
Joseph Schmidt (Kew Gardens, NY)
Immigration law has been ignored for decades. Now that the government is actually enforcing it, perhaps we can get Congress to do something about it. I don't like what is happening to these ILLEGAL immigrants, but they are ILLEGAL after all. Let's find a way to make their status legal so that we don't have to go through these horrors. I wish Trump would do the same with drug laws. Maybe we'd get those decriminalized along with the immigration laws.
Jim (NL)
They may be illegal. They may have to be deported. We can still treat them humanely.
MacHeath (Lost Angeles, Califormula)
Why do so many people pretend there will never be a time when America will stop poor and oppressed people from from entering our country? We simply disagree with each other about WHEN that will happen.
liberty (NYC)
how is this different from sending American parents to jail if they break the law, separating their kids from them? Or is the writer making the argument that illegal immigrants should not be prosecuted for breaking the law? The pizza guy had a deportation order against him, issued by a federal judge.
Shanda Boyett (Seattle)
Crossing the border the first time is a misdemeanor. Most people don’t have their children taken away for a misdemeanor.
I support border enforcement, naturally, but this practice is disturbing. It's inhuman to separate children from their parents and will create a lifetime of trauma for them.
Christine (Georgia)
We should also remember that the U.S. is at least partially to blame for the current unrest in Honduras and Guatemala. Our CIA performed covert operations there in the 1940s and sold arms to anti-communist forces who ended up using these arms to slaughter their own people. Cable news rarely goes into the context for why there's so much violence. The inherent racism underlying the Trump/Sessions immigration policies is abhorrent. People need to ask themselves what they would want if they had to leave this country behind to ensure the survival of themselves and their families. Text RESIST to 504-09 to write a letter to your members of Congress.
szlevi (Brooklyn)
This kind of deliberate break-up/destruction of families happens every day in America for decades. If you want to see it just go to Family Court in Brooklyn, sit in and watch the madness, say, on the 18th floor (SC), as Morgenstern goes through 40-50 cases in front of her *every day*, regularly suspending all visitations without any hearing or fact-finding, on a whim - just because she is in a mood/wants to help either side/does not care about the children at all, banning even phone conversations without any reason etc. And it stays like that for months or years, she refuses to even hold hearings. This level of incompetence and crooked, abusive practices are breathtaking - and it's in the middle of this city, not in some remote village on the border. It's not going to change until this country refuses to actually have proper judiciary, with properly trained judges (like in every sophisticated, superior European justice systems, where judges are not randomly appointed-elected lawyers but actually becoming a judge is a different career path after law school, involves years and years of judicial training etc.) Again, CBP operates like our "justice system" works in general, within America, for everybody including citizens - why would you assume immigrants get any better treatment on the border? Sorry, but America has a very primitive legal system, mainly due to its low societal norms that allow this barbaric system to not only exist, but actually flourish.
C from Atlanta (Atlanta)
Try reading your column to those university-educated, English, speaking Chinese, Indians and Koreans whose waits for green cards are now over 11 years from first application. I'm all for immigration, but a country has a right to choose who immigrates to it. For example, favoring people able to earn a good living and pay taxes from very shortly after they arrive would seem like a good idea. We don't even issue green cards to foreigners who earn subsidized advanced STEM degrees in our own universities -- the majority of whom are from South, East and Northeast Asia. There would, also, be more than a few college grads from African countries who ought to be granted green cards. They also do quite well here and often already speak 3 languages. For practical purposes, who gets in and can stay here and who doesn't is a zero sum game, because a country's ability to absorb immigrants has a limit, particularly if most are poor and don't speak English. 11 million here, illegally, are crowding out many who ought to have gotten green cards by now. Do you think that there would be so much tolerance for rejecting asylum seekers if there weren't already so many immigrants here illegally? I'm also wondering just when you plan on retiring, unless you're aiming for your 75th birthday. To make actuarially sound Social Security and Medicare we need lots of new, young, substantial tax payers.
Al (Idaho)
Social security and Medicare will not be saved by minimum wage workers with huge families. The countries these people come from are proof of that the path to financial and social stability is not an ever growing population.
C from Atlanta (Atlanta)
Have you strolled through an Ivy League university recently? Students of Indian and Chinese descent will be strolling around with you in numbers far beyond their tiny share of the U.S. population. The Indians and Chinese coming here do very well, thank you. Migrants from the Indian Sub-Continent are the most successful group, economically, to immigrate to the United States. Chinese-Americans as a group make well above the average household income. We're getting the cream of the crop.
quandary (Davis, CA)
Its true, I have not seen a column or opinion in the NYT about the plight of educated English speaking people waiting years or decades to get their visas and green cards.
Frank (Colorado)
Unless and until our children and grandchildren take to the street like we did, nothing will happen.
Regan DuCasse (Studio City, CA)
Considering the sheer size of various immigration populations connected between here and their origin countries, THEY haven't taken to the streets and demanded to have their needs met from THEIR gov'ts. It's long past time they did. The world has grown too small, where such large groups of people, disrupt the efficiency of other nations. And of course, there aren't the resources to accommodate them in comfort. Taking their numbers, youth, vigor and brain trust to do just that. Their demands belong where they are from, not here.
There (Here)
Sorry, too busy working and loving my life.... .you go.
Judy (Long Island)
My only consolation for what Trump and Sessions have turned us into, is looking forward to the day when they are on trial in The Hague for these crimes against humanity. Especially chilling to me was telling mothers to come for a photo, in order to take away their young children. Shades of "it's just a shower"! We will all be judged, by history and by our Maker, but our "leaders" in particular need to face the world and be held accountable for what they have turned our great nation into.
Jim Muncy (& Tessa)
Are we Americans willing and able to enforce our laws as humanely as possible? Or must the perpetrator and child, especially in this case, begin to feel the awful, cruel bite of arbitrary punishment immediately upon arrest? Who are we kidding here? Obviously, Trump et al. are trying to make hopeful immigrants give up their dream -- or need for asylum -- and not even attempt to migrate to America the Beautiful. The sign on the Statue of Liberty now says: Get Out and Stay Out! We citizens have little, if any, control of how our government functions strategically or tactically. You vote and hope for the best. But it's too late for us: The wolves have become our shepherds. So, once again, we must hang together or hang separately. Doesn't evil ever take a vacation?
Magan (Fort Lauderdale)
A good way to get a decent person to do something horrible is to convince them that they're not responsible for their actions. - Nero
Jackson (Southern California)
The practice of separating families is simply unconscionable cruelty institutionalized in government practice. Regardless of one's views on the state of our immigration policies, taking children from their parents as a punitive deterrent is just wrong. Worse, it's a sin. Clearly, Sessions and Trump, as well as the cafeteria-Christians who elevated them to power, have chosen to leave Jesus's Sermon on the Mount maxim off their tray: "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." They and all their ilk will be reviled in history for their crimes against humanity.
IN (New York)
Trump's policy reminds me of Nazi Germany in its cruelty and inhumanity, separating children from their parents and placing them in enclosures. This is so unAmerican and unChristian. What happened to the nation of immigrants that said: Give me your tired and poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free! What is lost is the dream and promise of America. All people who believe in the expansive vision of America should rally and defeat immediately in the ballot box those who would promulgate such an unAmerican and inhumane policy. It is time to reaffirm the dream and restore hope .
Joan In California (California)
And now there's the Korean puzzle, which one may hope (especially if one is old enough to remember) this isn't a new example of "peace in our time" and Neville Chamberlain.
Jack (McF WI)
While some of the commentators in this instance make some valid points in disagreeing with Ms Goldberg, I feel strongly that she is largely correct. Our country "welcomed" much of the "illegal" immigration throughout many decades; "if you permit it, you promote it". To mandate that DACA young people, after growing up in this country, attending schools, becoming 'American', suddenly have to leave, be deported, is terribly wrong. There has to be a better way, a higher road, and I applaud President Obama for having the empathy, compassion, the common sense, decency, dignity, etc. ( adjectives that cannot be used to describe Trump by any stretch of the imagination) to do the right thing. Trump is a merit-less scoundrel... his core supporters need to reflect on this, spend some time reflecting on what they are all about, rationalize how they might explain their support for Trumpism to their children, grand children, one day in the future. Be vigilant to protect our democracy.... Ms Goldberg's warning, and the warnings of others in the media, academia, and politics are valid.
John Quinn (Virginia Beach)
These people are not "migrants," they are illegal aliens. If they are only migrants, why do they not continuing migrating to Canada that beacon of liberal democracy? The United States has enough uneducated, poor and needy people without allowing more from Mexico and Central America.
James Young (Seattle)
Your right, American does have enough poor, uneducated, and needy people in this country, Thanks to the GOP, and the education of our kids will get worse, and the needy will become wages get suppressed even further, as money is tripped away from education, to pay for tax breaks for the rich and corporations, who will in fact pay foreign governments more in taxes, than they pay their own government. The 21st century is here, and I remember in the 1990s when Bush was in office, that the GOP was all about educating our kids for "the jobs of the 21st century" they would say. All while taking money away from education, even Trump himself wanted to strip billions away, because "he likes uneducated people". He likes them because he, can spoon feed them garbage, facts that aren't fact, and they repeat them, like it's true. However, here's a fact. "Virginia immigrants are more likely to hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree compared to U.S.-born residents. Of the top 10 states with the largest immigrant populations, Virginia leads in the share of foreign-born residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher".
ChesBay (Maryland)
I surmise that our glorious "leader" will eventually be held responsible for thousands of preventable deaths, incredible suffering, broken families and children, and many rapes. What a wonderful guy! What a fabulous deal maker! America is finally great again! :-P~~~
BorisRoberts (Santa Maria, CA)
"......and many rapes." Really? Where do you get this stuff? Do you know that 60 % of women that migrate through Mexico to the US, report that they were sexually assaulted in Mexico? And that the Mexican government does NOTHING to mitigate this? NOTHING. And they are very aware of the issue. But you want to blame Trump. My God, how did you get to that conclusion? That's delusional.
ChesBay (Maryland)
Boris--Many of them are assaulted by OUR "law enforcement," right here in the good old USof A. You think all those guards, deputies, and ICE officials don't take advantage of vulnerable immigrants? You need to wake up, and be realistic about this country, and it's many opportunistic sociopaths.
Bill Brown (California)
Our immigration policy is a mess. But the responsibility for where we are today is partly the Democrats fault. They let it get to this. We should have passed immigration reform when the Democrats controlled both house of Congress during Obama's 1st term. I wish progressives would stop their whining & offer the world one rational solution beside open borders. Instead we get more Trump is Hitler analogies. And lets be honest. If these immigrants were potential GOP voters Goldberg and her acolytes would be at the borders laying bricks tonight not tomorrow, tonight. Get real. Why don't Democrats address this issue honestly and clearly...the problem is illegal immigration. I'm for a path to citizenship, worker permits, documentation,...some order to this chaos. But I'm not for automatic citizenship for the 11 million people who are here illegally...or the people trying to sneak into Texas. That's never going to happen we know that. That's a slap in the face to the millions of people who came here legally, played by the rules and had to wait years to become citizens. No other country in the world has this double standard. We can't have a system where people from Mexico can simply walk across the border & expect to be made U.S. citizens. That's absurd. Congress had a chance to fix this problem multiple times.They never did. Unforgivable. Liberals today are intellectual Neville Chamberlains. Bankrupt. That's why voters have stopped listening. Where are the Winston Churchills's?
James Young (Seattle)
I would agree, this should be a rallying cry from the democrats, it should be a wake up for all of us, because first they came for the immigrants, then they will come for you.
Into the Cool (NYC)
Get real. The GOP has always blocked any meaningful fix. Just ask John McCain. Oh, you don't like him, I suppose. He's too liberal for you, right?
sm (new york)
Bill , We should have , but I remind you that the Republicans made it a point to obstruct any legislation Obama put forth . BTW , it's not only mexicans crossing our borders but Central Americans , Iraqis ,Sudanese , Somalian , Pakistanis , and yes even Chinese . Shows where your bias lies , and voters have not stopped listening , too busy following conspiracy theories on twitter and facebook . You're right in one area , we are intellectually bankrupt but not because of liberals , but because some voters vote their pocketbooks and others vote their bias .
ClearBlue (New York)
This conflation of enforcement of extant, common sense laws with Naziism is silly, and is the reason that most people I know who are NOT Trump supporters regularly dismiss the Times at this point. You're crying wolf, and should authoritarian principles really come into play in this administration, the Times, having blown its credibility, will mo longer be a relaxant part of the conversation. It's sad, really, to see how a great newspaper has grown ever more intellectually dishonest.
Kara (anywhere USA)
“We simply follow the orders from above.” Indeed. That was the primary defense that the Nazis trotted out at Neuremberg. They couldn't be held responsible because they were just doing as they were told. Is this really the path that the US is going down? Those who cannot learn the past are doomed to repeat it.
jan m (westchester county)
I am haunted by the following paragraph: Senator Merkley told me he asked people working in the detention center if they were concerned about the impact that family separation would have on the children who had been put under their authority. The answer, he said, was, “We simply follow the orders from above.” As someone who loves history I am terrified by the answer given by the workers in the detention center, it is the same excuse that Nazi's used during WW2 to explain their cruelty in the concentration camps! Does our current population not know enough history to be frightened by this? I am personally horrified. I am embarrassed to say I am an American today for the first time in the 63 years I have been on this earth
James Young (Seattle)
The current population of Trump supporters doesn't know, because that part of living history is gone, or almost gone. Those WWII veterans that bore witness to the cruelty of both the Nazis and the Japanese, are in their 90s. When I was a boy, my father was a WWII veteran, my fathers friends were WWII vets, my uncle was a prisoner of war, held by the Japanese for almost the entire war. Everyone I knew their fathers were WWII veterans,my grade school teachers were WWII veterans, I had a high school history teacher, who watched his whole family massacred by the Nazis, he escaped by hiding under the bodies of his dead neighbors. While I was born towards the end of the baby boom, still, living history was all around me. As a combat veteran myself I've witnessed first hand cruelties perpetrated by the majority on the minority, those deemed unworthy. What is happening is cruel, and unnecessary, whether or not these people came across illegally, they are still human beings, who by virtue of them just being alive, they should be extended the dignity and the rights afforded to all of us, those god given rights, as we like to say in this country. This country used to be a country that other aspired to be like, not anymore. And it's up to us, those of us that believe that what Trump is doing is morally wrong, that this will leave the US as back water on the world stage. Trump is setting the US up to be second place to China, that's what's going to happen.
Alice's Restaurant (PB San Diego)
Little over the top. However, the real solution is to send them back where they came from immediately--or not let them in at all, babies in hand or not. This will only get worse. So many tens of thousands more in Mexico, Central and South America.
1truenorth (Bronxville, NY 10708)
I voted for Trump for this very reason. Of course, it’s horrible families are broken up. At the same time, the illegals made a decision to enter our country illegally and now have to live with the consequences.
MG (Massachusetts)
This has got to stop! This is not America. If you don’t remember or never knew, do read Madeleine Albright’s , Fascism.
Jan (NJ)
And rightfully so to come for the migrants. This president operates by the U.S. Constitution unlike the leftists.
Robert (Seattle)
The United States has signed treaties that require us to accept applications for asylum. Congress has passed legislation that make those treaties part of our own laws. In other words, it would be a violation of our own laws to deny anybody the right to seek asylum. Many of the children who have been taken from their parents are from families that are seeking asylum. Children in these families should never be separated . It is a violation of their United Nations human rights. This isn't a Democratic or Republican party thing. It is just morality and human decency 101.
Kathy Lollock (Santa Rosa, CA)
"We simply follow the orders from above." Where have we heard those haunting words before? One time and place which comes to mind is Nazi Germany. And so it is that this is another type of genocide that we Americans are allowing...the Brown-skinned victims of violence, suppression, and oppression who desperately seek safety, food, water, and shelter for themselves and their families. Their "concentration" camps are now expanding to federal prisons. Families are separated from each other...moms from dads and each parent from their children. They are kept in large cages like animals. But why not? They are not treated like human beings worthy of dignity but instead as animals. Children cannot thrive if kept separated from love. They will die or forever suffer from the scars of trauma. Fathers and mothers will hang themselves because they are hopeless. This is what we have done, all of us fine "Christians" out there who not only do not heed Christ's Sermon on the Mount but also are unworthy of having the name "Christ" in its religion. We are a sick society on a journey to perdition.
Sha (Redwood City)
If it weren't for the resistance and demonstrations at the airports, Muslims would be in concentration camps now. People should be in the streets to protest this abhorrent policy of separating children from their parents.
BorisRoberts (Santa Maria, CA)
What resistance? What demonstrations?
Betsy Blosser (San Mateo, CA)
"We simply follow the orders from above." Isn't that what happened in Nazi Germany? Who among those working for ICE has the courage to disobey these orders? Yes, I understand the fear of losing a job - food, mortgage or rent, etc.. But what are we doing to these children and these families? This is an outrage! Who has the courage to stop this?
Anne Hajduk (Fairfax Va)
In another Times oiece, the "horror" of being forced to wait in Mexico for days while awaiting processing was highlighted. Really? Why not ask for asylum in Mexico? What, doesn't Mexico want to shelter these persecuted people?
Al (Idaho)
Mexico is trying to get rid of its xs population. Why would they want to take on even more?
sam (ma)
Here's a ? for this paper and others advocating for endless illegals, where will they live once they enter our country? This is NEVER addressed, ever. We don't have any affordable housing available for our own citizens. Maybe they can all go live at your house?
jd1234 (midwest)
Who do you think builds the housing? without Mexican labor the economy will only slow down.
Al (Idaho)
Construction is a huge part of the illegal work force. Much of it paid in cash, avoiding taxes And suppressing wages. This has devastated the construction industry. The current economy is an example of what happens when the supply of cheap illegal labor dries up. It's a good thing.
Russell Scott Day (Carrboro, NC)
That there is an ongoing reign of terror in our midsts against the weak and most defenseless that we a a nation cannot just stop, turns us into unworthy cowards. At least the political prisoners and the unemployed for their use of pot as a folkway have some agency and in cases in some states have made laws that somewhat protect them. To use innocent children as coercive levers against their parents to force them to change their stories? "Just doing our job." Is what the Nazis were famous for. To protest as civilized people eschewing violence, occupy? the march? but now we are to the point where burning in effigy is appropriate, and appropriate for all of the fascist opportunists and incompetents appointed by the Trump Administration.
Marc Kagan (NYC)
Apparently, 50% of the American people, or some number close to it, are just fine with taking 5 year olds from their parents and putting them in cages. They're complicit. And the other 50% can't figure out anything to do about it other than wait for November, when they hope that some of this evil can be mitigated. And if not? They're frozen in the headlights, unsure, in a never foreseen moment. Is it hard to understand anymore how Nazism came to rule over Germany?
Diego (Forestville, CA)
These people belong in The Hague. This is a crime against humanity. We must push back forcibly.
AVIEL (Jerusalem)
Those low level officials just following orders are hardly to blame for not risking their jobs. If the public really cared they'd strike ,protest etc etc.They'd write their reps that whoever does not enact and support legislation making it a crime not to keep illegals and their families together and treat them humanely will not get their vote. It seems to me the majority of people either support the get tough policy, or don't care too much either way. Many people will willingly sacrifice some democracy and liberty for a better material standard of living and more law and order. It seems to me both false and a mistake to compare Trump to Hitler. It reinforces his supporters belief that both he and they are victims of the powerful elite media and their liberal allies. As for the "they came for them first etc quote it's important to remember the vast majority of Germans supported Hitler and National Socialism as long as he was winning the war. Is America today is so different? I hope so but the jury seems to me still undecided
BorisRoberts (Santa Maria, CA)
Here's what I do. Write my Representatives, state thar if they do not do something to remove the illegal aliens from my city and state, they will not get my vote. We have among the highest rental rates and housing prices in this country. We have an extreme number of homeless Americans in this country now But our state and local officials are doing everything in their power to keep things the same. I wonder who is making all the money from the illegals?
Jackie (Missouri)
Wasn't the excuse "We were simply following orders" used by Nazi war criminals during the Nuremberg trials? Between this, race relations between the black community and the police, the lack of sensible gun control, the rise of authoritarianism, the despoiling of the environment and the uptick in violence in this country, the History will judge harshly the first twenty years of the Twenty-first Century.
tanstaafl (Houston)
People should stop coming here illegally. It's especially irresponsible to bring kids along with you. Problem solved.
No rush. It's still far from facism. We'd better use that word when immigrants are called "illegal enemy combatants". That would be a slow yet painful process.
Lauren Warwick (Pennsylvania)
"We were simply following orders" was not accepted as an excuse for atrocities at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazis. How is it acceptable in 2018 from Americans? How is it accompanied by nearly complete silence from Republicans?
butlerguy (pittsburgh)
the measures being employed by the border patrol are nothing more than kidnapping. the federal agents who are just following orders are criminals. this is what happens when a sociopath inhabits the oval office. and the republicans in congress watch all this cruelty and evil and do nothing. god help us.
BorisRoberts (Santa Maria, CA)
Michelle, that's a lot of partisan rhetoric. According to that Bastion of Free Speech, Abundant Information and all things the Evil Republican Party is Doing, Might've Do, Could Possibly Do, and Won't Do, The New York Times, Mr. Barack Obama deported more illegal aliens (on the down low) than they are deporting now. Would that be correct? I believe it is, but since Trump is doing It, let's make comparisons to Mussolini, a fairly well known fascist. Much like Leonhardt, whose link I followed to your article, it appears that you are so partisan, that you automatically view anything a Republican does, as being wrong. Personally, I feel that both parties are corrupt, this last election, there was nobody to vote for, that I felt could lead us in the right direction. I feel that my assumption was and still is, correct. Illegals. A lot of people want to immigrate here, but there is a limited number of legal spots to get in. Wanting to come in, wanting it real bad, does not give anyone the right to cross the border and set up shop on the fringe of society. The only countries that allow it are Third World countries or those on their way down. They need to wait in line like the rest of the world.
Dana (Santa Monica)
What kind of monsters rip children out of their parents arms? What kind of monsters support the Monster and his henchmen who developed, enforce and proudly declare this new "US" policy. I am not a religious person and yet I find the so called 'moral majority' to show each and everyday how utterly devoid of morals and humanity they are. Any decent person should be wretchedly ill reading these stories from the border. And yet the New York Times comments section is filled with people rationalizing this policy, justifying it and self righteously declaring it a necessary evil. We will see if they sing the same tune when Trump comes for them on some trumped up reason. In the meantime, seeking asylum is legal. Entering a country to request asylum in the country is legal. The beacon on the hill is once again an international human rights violator.
I want another option (America)
This does not apply to people who seek and request asylum through proper legal channels. This only applies to people who are caught entering illegally and then request asylum rather than agreeing to be immediately deported with their family. I have no more sympathy for these people than I do for a convicted burglar who is separated from his kids.
Son Of Liberty (nyc)
With his attack on the "Other,"his threat to "Pardon Himself," his attacks on science, his attacks on all the institutions of our democracy, Donald Trump will be the biggest disgrace in America slavery...Oh wait to his supporters slavery was the golden era.
Alice's Restaurant (PB San Diego)
Of course, what Albright is talking about is not “Fascism: A Warning”, but rather the loss of American sovereignty. She doesn't believe in it: For her, and Goldberg, no surprise, a solid NYT Opinion Kingdom member, it's all about the "collective" and filling it as fast as possible--Hillary's gold standard "open-borders". A better book to read, "Camp of the Saints" by Jean Raspail, which is why the Italians want to deport more than 500,000 illegal immigrants.
manfred marcus (Bolivia)
Cruelty 'gratis' is an awful dehumanizing of our fellow human beings, an unforgivable offense comparable to detention camps during war, or undocumented immigrants treated like the 'Rohingya', powerless to defend themselves from our stupidity. How low can we go? Monsters like petty Trump and Sessions, with no 'feelings' whatsoever towards others' suffering; no compassion, let alone justice. Why do we have to behave so badly, be so miserable, revert to tribalism (Us vs Them)?
Steve J (Canada)
You mean, first they came for the illegal immigrants. That’s very different than the migrants. If you can’t be honest off the bat, why should we listen? You might as well start off with ‘first they came for the domestic abusers....and we were glad they did’. And it ends.
maria5553 (nyc)
the word "illegal" just signals "non-huan" look how effectively it worked for you.
Aristotle Gluteus Maximus (Louisiana)
Here is a plain and simple illustration of Goldberg's misleading, dishonest manipulation of facts. An individual foreigner who tries to sneak into the USA is not an undocumented immigrant. They haven't even attained the status of immigrant, let alone being "documented". It's not the US border patrol who are forcing these people to bring their kids into the USA exploiting their kids to get into the country for free. Goldberg should try to sneak into a foreign country herself and see how it really is, see how people try to exploit the generosity and good faith of the USA for their own selfish motives.
willow (Las Vegas/)
The practices described in the article are being applied to families legally presenting themselves for asylum. They are not "sneaking" in. They can be turned away as a family. Instead, they are being punished by taking babies and children away from their mothers. These are families that are fleeing gang violence and drug cartels who exist in part because of the market for drugs in the US. Applying for asylum is an act of desperation - what would you do if your choice was either to face the very real possibility that you and your family will be murdered at home or to try to leave that home for a place where you might be safe?
Aristotle Gluteus Maximus (Louisiana)
Right. Why don't they stay in Mexico? As if people don't lie and make up stuff to get in on a good deal. No. That would never happen. The USA isn't responsible for bad governments in Central America or the domestic abusers in all of Christendom. These people don't apply for an entry permit. They cross into the country illegally and then turn themselves into the border patrol knowing that the USA is obligated to take care of them. Just like in Canada. People cross the border illegally, are arrested and then set lose into Canadian society to sponge off of the social welfare meant for disadvantaged citizens. We are being conned and exploited.
Philly (Expat)
This is a losing recipe, to compare immigration control to the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis. The US immigration control and enforcement should be based upon a set of rules, law, policy, and not emotions, not tug at the heart stories. It is better to make decisions based upon rules and not emotions. Asylum applies to persecuted minorities, e.g. religious or political or ethnic or LGBT minorities that face persecution in their home countries. Most asylum seekers do not meet these criteria. The US and Italy simply cannot be expected to allow entry to everyone and anyone who simply prefer to come to the US and Italy. The leadership in both countries are saying loud and clear, enough is enough. Advocates instead should help make these migrant exporting countries liveable so that their citizens have opportunities at home, so that they will not feel that their only option is to migrate to the US and Italy. 11 June 2018 11:53 pm.
Mary Lenihan (Hermosa Beach, CA)
So many Trump policy supporters call themselves Christians. I dare them to re-read two passages from the Christian Bible: “as you treat the least of these, so you have treated me.” (That was Jesus saying that. In case you don’t know.) Here is another: “love one another.” (That was also Jesus.) Such simple messages. Yet so many Trump policies violate both, daily and often and in a despicable way. No, we don’t need to offer everyone a bed at Motel 6. But separating parents from children in detention camps is cruel beyond belief. U.S. policy is starting to edge into Nazi behavior. We have met the enemy, and his name is Trump. Shame on everyone.
Charlie (San Francisco)
Canada is taking migrants at their border. We should give them all safe passage just like the Mexican government does.
Charlie (San Francisco)
If Trump supports do I. Keep the drug pushers and coyotes south of our border. No more cheap maids, gardeners, and cooks for the rich!
willow (Las Vegas/)
And no more cheap farm labor for the farmers. Prepare to see your food prices go up.
Al (Idaho)
Willow. The nyts has written that labor is 10% of the cost of fruit and vegetables. Paying these people a decent wage would hardly effect the cost. Now if you just want to Exploit them, that's a different issue.
Philly (Expat)
It is a losing recipe to compare immigration control to the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis. US immigration control and enforcement should be based upon a set of rules, law, policy, and not emotions, not tug at the heart stories. Asylum applies to persecuted minorities (based upon race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group and political opinion). Most asylum seekers do not meet these criteria. The US and Italy simply cannot be expected to allow entry to everyone and anyone who simply prefer to come to the US and Italy. The leadership in both countries are saying loud and clear, enough is enough. Advocates instead should help make these migrant-exporting countries liveable so that their citizens have opportunities at home, so that they will not feel that their only option is to migrate to the US and Italy, which is not their right. 12 June 2018 7:30 am.
PJM (Florida)
How many more of these pieces is The Times going to inflict on its readers? Every other nation in the world is allowed to enforce its immigration laws except the one nation in the world (the United States) that has the largest influx of illegal immigrants. This kind of breathless pained criticism of perfectly reasonable policies might play to the loony left, the but the sensible center will nod approvingly and say, "About time!" People who choose to immigrate illegally to the United States have made a choice. Choices have consequences, for all of us. The father who took his life in detention could have been reunited with his child almost immediately if he had simply said, "Okay. I admit it. I did something wrong. We want to turn around and go home." But he didn't. He chose to kill himself instead. So now this child will be separated from his father forever. And who's the cruel one in this scenario? Try the father. He's the coward who killed himself and inflicted life-long trauma on his child. Yet this writer (and apparently everyone else who is employed by The Times) thinks Trump and those who support the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws are to blame. Please. The Times can seek using PC-speak ("migrants," "undocumented") to try to fool us into thinking that these people have done nothing wrong. But they have. American citizens cannot disobey laws with impunity. Neither can "migrants," or "undocumented immigrants."
Jean (Cleary)
Well Trump does. What is good for the goose.......
Bob in NM (Los Alamos, NM)
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore." Yeah, sure. France should ask for the return of the statue. Or let Canada have it. It doesn't belong here anymore.
Rennata Wilson (Beverly Hills, CA)
Poems are not laws.
Analyst (SF BAY)
First, they came for the dope dealers. And I didn't stand up. And then they came for the sneak thieves and car burglars and I didn't stand up. Why should illegal immigrants get a pass? They are not legally allowed to be here and they should be sent home. And they should be billed for all the expenses the government incurrs, including the cost to send them back to their own countries.
professor ( nc)
For further proof of the evil nature of Trump and his supporters, look no further than the comments below! I look forward to the day when karma hits Trump and his supporters for their evil and callous behaviors. Shame on all of you!
Margo Channing (NYC)
Not a trump supporter but Obama did the same thing. What god are laws if you don't adhere to them?
Mogwai (CT)
Americans demand trumpism and his smart handlers will hand him victories in '18 and '20. America is trump. YOU are the one who is different. Americans love to be ignorant and hate anyone who is different is any way. So Americans hate YOU. This is what Liberals refuse to believe. Americans hate Liberals and Democracy.
Chris Walker (Deep South)
Now I recall why a liberal Californian had his own special appreciation for the 2nd Amendment.
sam (ma)
These illegals seeking economic asylum can always continue on to Canada. They are the most generous, kind nation who would be willing to take in many millions more. Right?
MJM (Newfoundland, Canada)
How can they continue on to Canada when they are arrested at the US-Mexican border?
John (Thailand)
First they started to enforce immigration laws...and the liberal open-borders crowd went into full panic mode.
RLS (California/Mexico/Paris)
If Michelle was honest, the title to her article would have been, “First They Came For the Illegal Aliens”. But even that would be wrong. I lay the blame for all these problems strictly at the feet of Obama, who made it clear with ‘catch and release’, that anyone and everyone should consider our immigratiom laws a joke. The immoral and sadistic coyotes never had a better friend,
Helvetico (Dissentia)
If enforcing immigration law is fascism, then pretty much the entire world is "fascist" according to Ms. Goldberg. Why draw the line at eliminating national borders, though? What about abolishing private property, too? Think of all the Hondurans who might find refuge by squatting in her Brooklyn Brownstone. Surely she wouldn't evict them, as that's just "fascism" on a smaller scale. Share your privilege, Michelle, or as we say in Spanish: "Comparte!"
Stephen Holland (Nevada City)
The treatment of detainees is the message here, not enforcing the law. What DT and co. are doing is cruel and unusual. If someone shows up with their kid, seeking asylum because she'e running away from gangs or domestic abuse, she and her kid shouldn't be separated while their case is being adjudicated. That's the story, plain and simple. We used to be a nation of laws and a nation with some compassion (even if only for a few years here and there.) It's something to try to live up to.
Helvetico (Dissentia)
Everybody has a story. No one is going to show up at the border and say "I want to immigrate but can't be bothered with getting papers." I can't believe American adults are this naive.
cherrylog754 (Atlanta,GA)
"...American fascism as a looming threat,...But for undocumented immigrants, it’s already here... Yesterday during my first coffee of the day i was reflecting on the "people" trying to make a better life here in America. And how we round them up, seperate the families and put them in detention camps.  It all sounds so familiar to the beginnings of Nazi Germany. “We simply follow the orders from above.” And the above could be a line right from the Nuremberg trials. But it's from our own security people. Let's not kid ourselves, we're now heading in the same direction as other dictatorships. Find some group to blame for troubles of your own making and then, persecute them.
Himsahimsa (fl)
They probably won't see their children again. Just as was done with native Americans, the children will be taken from, in this case, their Catholic (Heathen) families and given to Evangelicals to be raised as Evangelical. Cultural genocide. Re-education (camp).
Bill Sen (Atlanta)
For those who need further proof that we are well on the road to Fascism, please review the 14 Characteristics of Fascism by Dr. Lawrence Britt. By my count, we have already hit 13 out of 14.
Valerie Wells (New Mexico)
"We simply follow the orders from above." Isn't that what the German soldiers said after the extent of the Holocaust was made known? You think I exaggerate, and perhaps so, however, monstrosity in a decent society doesn't happen overnight, it happens by degrees.
Susan (Paris)
“Trump is obviously more comfortable with despots like Russia’s Vladimir Putin than democrats like Canada’s Justin Trudeau.” And could there be any exercise more shameful for this country than comparing Trump’s demeanor and behavior with our allies at the G7 meeting - sullen, surly and accusatory, with his fawning and gushing over a mass murderer in Singapore?
Nancy Braus (Putney. VT)
We are now in great company: the US government is now copying the playbook of family separation written by those brave Americans who committed genocide against Native Americans, the men involved in the slave trade, and the Nazis of World War II. ICE agents are following orders, but all of us who are not speaking out and doing everything we can to stop this cruelty are also enablers.
jabarry (maryland)
Chief of Staff John Kelly, supposedly a man of integrity, supposedly an honorable American, told NPR, separating children from their parents is a "tough deterrent" to illegal immigration and "the children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever." Obviously this inhuman deterrent has not deterred desperate people from fleeing desperate situations to save themselves and their children; obviously the children are forcibly separated from their parents and put into "whatever;" obviously this is not a Christian act...or is it? Kelly justifies an inhuman, self-degrading means to attaining an end result. This end-justifies-the-means act is the philosophy of evil. This is the excuse used to justify man's inhumanity to man. It is the philosophy of Putin, Hitler, MS-13, and is at the root of every travesty documented in history. This is the same philosophy Evangelical Christians embraced to put Gorsuch in Garland's SC seat. For those who stand with Trump and Kelly, those who believe stopping illegal immigration justifies the inhuman treatment of the people and their children who illegally cross our border; to those who think this is appropriate, I for one say, you have lost your humanity, you have become your means, you are evil, you are an abasement of Christianity. While too many Americans are too lazy to vote in elections, a subclass of humanity rose to take our republic and impose despotism. The only question that remains, "Is it too late to take it back?"
Jill (MI)
So utterly corrosive. The past 18 months of fascist law, dis-order, deregulation and looting of the treasury have conditioned us to simply look away, rather than protest the actions of this retrograde administration. Their daily deeds, their words and crass policy justifications have eroded our outrage. No wonder we consume so many anti-depressives, anti-anxiety meds and alcohol....who can stand to look the hideous truth in the face and patiently wait for Mueller and the elections to alter this reality? Not I. God have mercy on the victims.
Roger Bourke (Alta, Utah)
From time to time I read charges that government agents are “jack-booted thugs.” I always dismissed these claims as rantings of the paranoid right—until now. Wrenching children away from desperate mothers is as thuggish as it gets. The Attorney General’s stated rationale that this is to deter illegal immigration is at best misguided, and surely horribly inhumane. We were suppose to give up the practice that children should suffer for the sins of their parents at the end of the middle ages; apparently we have reverted to that standard—when will we bring back trials for sorcery? Of course this is all under the tutelage of the Thug-in-Chief. How can any human with any sense of decency excuse him and his minions? This administration is the-worst-of-the-worst. If you have any concern for the wellbeing of your fellow human beings, any adherence to religious teachings, then demand they put a stop to this horrible behavior. And go to the ballot box this year and vote every enabler of these policies out of office.
Soxared, '04, '07, '13 (Boston)
In a strange way, these mass arrests of children at the border remind me of the stories of the cattle cars that took Jews in Russia, Germany, Poland, Austria (and God knows where else) to places where they were never seen again. Donald Trump and Jefferson Davis Beauregard Sessions III have delightedly opened up a new chapter of The American holocaust, Part 3. The near-genocide of both the indigenous peoples and slaves were Parts 1 and 2. Is this Part 3 a chorus from "Look Homeward, Angel?" The American president is zealously honoring--if the word can be so sullied--a campaign pledge to "keep them out," a footnote to "build that Wall." That the families mutilated by hideous separations of parents and children matter not because, quite simply, those traumatized are not white people. If there's any other way to decently state the obvious, I would welcome the help. What Trump and Sessions are doing is dunking the head of the Statue of Liberty into New York Harbor and holding the enduring metaphor for freedom down, under the water, trying to drown her. The lamp, once held aloft proudly, has all but been extinguished in the cold waters of the Atlantic. The evangelical bloc who bray that America is a "Christian" nation are nowhere to be heard; their voices have been stilled by the hate they bear "the other." Where are those of Christian bent who, supposedly, walk the "good walk" in Christ's very footsteps? He said "harbor the stranger," a commandment aggressively disobeyed.
Robert Westwind (Suntree, Florida)
Donald Trump, making America a dictatorship. Nice work Republicans.
Tom Q (Southwick, MA)
Yes, and the guards at the Nazi concentration camps were just following orders too when they forcibly separated children from their parents. These patrol agents, and the idiots who issue the orders in Washington, should all be forced to watch the film "Sophie's Choice." Of course, morality and ethical behavior begin in the Oval Office and the current occupant has demonstrated no adherence to either.
Maria Brent (Sewell NJ)
This is child abuse with life-long effects. Who will impeach Sessions? Or charge him with the crime of child abuse? And the President who is ultimately responsible? Mrs. Trump would not have her son's life disrupted by having to leave his school mid-term. Mrs. Trump: what about these babies and toddlers ripped from their parents? Do you speak up for them? Why not? Ivanka: you have children. What are you doiing about this horror? What would you do if your children were ripped from you? Cruelty and heartlessness abound, and our tax dollars fund this. Shame, shame, shame.
Mike (Republic Of Texas)
No need to trouble yourself. Samantha Bee has already addressed the First Family. And with such eloquence.
vandalfan (north idaho)
I have been an attorney, prosecutor, and public defender, focusing on family law and child protection. In 34 years, I have learned to inure myself from losing sleep mulling over the horrors that I deal with in court. 34 years of practice, and last night I could not go to sleep thinking I live in a country where the government deliberately destroys families to please uninformed politicians.
Mike (Republic Of Texas)
Right bro. Everybody has a story. Maybe you've heard this one, "Leimome Cheeks, 62, was charged Sunday with two counts of child endangerment after a bystander recorded her letting her two grandchildren out from pet kennels in a vehicle." But, toss your kids on a train headed North and your a hero. Maybe they make it. Maybe they don't. Maybe they become an Obama dreamer. Maybe they become a stat in an annual Human Trafficking report.
NYHUGUENOT (Charlotte, NC)
"Uninformed politicians"? No, it is the informed voters who want the border closed to anyone unwilling to come here properly. These people scream "Asylum" when they are caught but if they aren't they just come in and merge with the millions of illegals already here. We are doing nothing worse than is done in other countries including our neighbors to the South where these people originate.
Ralphie (CT)
More fear mongering and anti-Trumpism. These people have no right to come here without papers. We need to control our borders. And if one of the ways we do that is by dissuading people to come here by knowing they won't be warmly greeted. Asylum seekers are supposed to initiated the process by going to the US embassy in their country. Not by trekking through Mexico and then crossing our border illegally. Of course no one wants children separated from their parents. However, when we send adults who have children to jail, that is what happens. And the separations aren't permanent. Maybe if the dems would cooperate in helping to secure our border rather than establishing sanctuary cities and encouraging people to come here (so they can become good democrats) we wouldn't have this problem.
MJM (Newfoundland, Canada)
And maybe if the US hadn't meddled in their home countries, the people wouldn't have had to flee from the violence and thuggery rampant there. The fact is children are being ripped from their parents arms with no assurance they will ever be reunited. We know the damage this does to children yet American authorities have adopted this as standard procedure. In the long term, part of the solution would be to hep these countries restore civil societies so people can live safely in their own homes. Short term, this causes harm and doesn't help solve the problem.
Robert (Seattle)
Nonsense. Everybody and anybody has the right to ask us for asylum. The United States is required to recognize valid claims for asylum under the 1951 "Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees" and its 1967 "Protocol" which were codified and expanded when Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980. It would be a violation of federal law to deny somebody the right to ask for asylum. Ralphie wrote: "... These people have no right to come here without papers ..."
Occupy Government (Oakland)
how devoid of human compassion you sound, dismissing families in crisis with an "of course... it's only temporary." We need a comprehensive immigration policy, but Republicans have made it clear they want zero immigration of people like these. Racism and cruelty are not American values.
Thelma McCoy (Tampa)
Who has standing to bring a lawsuit against our immigration authorities on charges of crimes against humanity? Can the ACLU get a court to order the cruelty of separating children from their parents to end? Should we all go down to the border and protest? Should we phone or email our representatives? What can we do? I would like to know. I can hardly stand thinking of the cruel practices our immigration authorities are engaged in. Stopping this should be the number one priority of our congress.
Daniel A. Greenbaum (New York)
At the moment it is not for lack of concern but lack of clarity as to what to do. For the moment the only option is to flock to the polls this November and then to hope Democrats get control of at least one house of Congress. They can then hold real hears and slow down the evil of the Trump Administration.
NYHUGUENOT (Charlotte, NC)
Obama was counting what the Border Patrol calls "Turnarounds". These are people who agree to turn back in return for not being prosecuted and refused entrance for 10 years. They're not deportations.
Shaun R. (New York)
The most chilling line in a terrifying prognosis "We simply follow the orders"; now where have I heard that before.....
wes evans (oviedo fl)
Until canceled by :President Johnson at the behest of Sec of Labor Willard Wirtz (AFL CIO) there were legal guest worker programs for Agriculture Harvesters. These programs began in the late 1930's as America geared up for WWII. These programs were Government supervised insured that workers were paid at the prevailing wage and that food and housing were provided at no expense to the workers. The unions and liberal progressives were responsible for the demise of these programs which benefited the workers and America. The illegal migrant problem is the consequence.
BorisRoberts (Santa Maria, CA)
According to Wikipedia, only 3-4% of illegal aliens are in Agriculture.
Texas Liberal (Austin, TX)
"There is no reason to believe that undocumented immigrants will be the last group of people deemed beyond the law’s protection." If you'd use the correct terminology -- they are not "undocumented immigrants", they are "illegal aliens" -- you might see the illogicality of that sentence. They are not "beyond the law’s protection" but rather are being subject to the law -- the law they broke. There is no "law's protection" for them to be beyond. Basing enforcement of laws upon emotion rather than reason . . . where does that stop? Applied to all law-breakers that proffer a need they claim justifies their offenses, the resulting negation of laws will lead to a lawless society -- to anarchy.
MsDJMcB (California)
Hey Texas, The laws say they are refugees seeking asylum. The law gives them the right to seek asylum.
Mary (Peoria)
I thought the article was depressing and frightening enough, but then I read the comments from my fellow Americans (NYT readers, no less) demonstrating that they have bought what Trump is selling. Anyone who has ever lived in any city in America knows that immigrants are mostly law-abiding, contributing members of our community and in fact are the backbone of the economy. In other countries, such workers are given guest visas and allowed to work toward citizenship; here, rich corporations prefer to keep them in legal limbo to better exploit them and create working conditions American citizens would not have to tolerate. Now along comes Trump and Sessions to make crossing the border without papers a "crime," instead of a civil offense, and all their fascist followers nod along that that "criminals" deserve whatever cruelty they get. To cite another often-used but all-too-relevant quote: “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” (Voltaire)
Margo Channing (NYC)
The law is the law, Obama sent many more back than trump. Do you suggest we take every single person in? I mean why have laws if people like you insist that they don't really apply to anyone?
bnc (Lowell, MA)
I would highly recommend the book "Waking Up White".
C. Morris (Idaho)
'Sophie's Choice' comes to America. No one would have suspected.
Ms. Bear (Northern California)
There's a lot of hatred in some of the comments here, stuff along the lines of "The illegals have it coming." Our immigration system needs work, but how is terrorizing people who have already been through horrific ordeals justified in any situation? What next? Should we start chopping off the hands of people who steal? Should we start with the current administration, because they're robbing & betraying our country while you're distracted by criminal asylum seekers. We are one of the wealthiest countries in the world! We are powerful enough to be better than this. The people stealing from you are not immigrants or undocumented workers; they're the ones in power cutting taxes for the wealthy, eliminating the regulations that protect our environment, destroying unions, taking away health insurance...
sam (ma)
Oh please. We don't even support our own citizens, that include the elderly, children, vets, homeless, etc. How in the world can we support all who want to come here? For starters, where do they all live? We have no affordable or available housing.
William Case (United States)
America doesn’t send its own children to jail along with their parents when their parents are arrested and incarcerated. No civilized country does. Why should migrant children be jail children for crimes their parents commit? Migrant children who cross the border illegally are not prosecuted because they are too young to have acted with criminal intent. Michelle Goldberg’s assertion that they should be incarcerated along with their parents is astonishing. Migrant children whose parents are arrested and incarcerated for crossing the border illegally are treated similarly to U.S. children whose parents are arrested and incarcerated for other crimes. Due to a recent court ruling, the Department of Homeland Security cannot hold migrant children for more than 20 days. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 requires the Homeland Security Department to transfer migrant children to the Department of Health and Human Services. The migrant children remain under HHS custody for an average of 34 days. The overwhelming majority are released to sponsors who are family members while the remainder are placed in foster homes. Like U.S. children, they are reunited with their parents once their parents have served their sentences.
Alexis (Portland, OR)
Agents boarding trains and demanding papers? Families forcibly separated for dubious "crimes"? Wailing children herded into converted Wal-marts like cattle? An unhinged megalomaniac, surrounded by soulless sycophants, overseeing it all? Never have I felt more like we are living a twisted repetition of 1930's Germany than after reading this column and all of the links associated with it.
Bobcb (Montana)
I didn't read the article, but the title "First they came for migrants" is rubbish. I don't think anyone has a problem with properly vetted LEGAL immigrants. However, ILLEGAL immigrants are an altogether different matter. Trump got a lot of votes because of his stance on ILLEGAL immigration----- and that is one of the few things he was right on. Dems would be wise to work with him on this issue, not against him. It would be to their political advantage. I believe that most Americans are appalled by the fact that we have 11 million+ ILLEGAL immigrants roaming around in this country. We need to fix this situation before it gets worse.
Raindog63 (Greenville, SC)
"I didn't read the article, but...." I didn't read your comment, but, I already know you will do nothing more than repeat what you heard on Sean Hannity.
sam (ma)
Articles like these are indirectly supporting Trump's re-election campaign and boosting the GOP. Good job, keep it up!
willow (Las Vegas/)
"Roaming around"? Don't you mean working hard, paying taxes, and trying to apply for citizenship?
Brian Meadows (Clarkrange, TN)
I think it may be time for America to become a nation of more emigration than immigration. Once word becomes current as to how we lurch back into barbarism, not only will no one want to come here anymore but an increasing number of our better people will just get up and leave. And we will be left with those who either can't leave and/or the meanest yahoos who live to inflict pain on others. Then, indeed, we'll have to be put under an EU civilizing mandate for at least two generations!
Auntie social (Seattle)
Brought to you by the party of “ family values,” as in Kinder, Küche. Kirche. How soon we forget what we fought against such a very short time ago.
Sherry Wacker (Oakland)
Comments claiming Obama deported more immigrants than Trump are true but it should be noted that he was deporting actual criminals, not those commiting the simple misdemeanor of crossing the border.
Helena (Borderless)
Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”   — Luke 18:15-17 Do the staunch Bible devotees of Christianity in this country really abide by Jesus's teachings? It seems difficult to reconcile their beliefs in the faces of the innocent little ones separated from their mothers.
natan (California)
There is a separation of church and state in the US. Some Christians may be hypocrites but what does this have to do with the laws of the secular state? I'm an atheist (and an immigrant) and I don't agree with this nonsense of open borders.
Benjamin Katzen (NY)
Read the letter above yours for your answer.
Greg (Florida)
Take the Statue of Liberty down already. Maybe it can be recycled into barbed wire.
NYHUGUENOT (Charlotte, NC)
"Take the Statue of Liberty down already. Maybe it can be recycled into barbed wire." Copper is too soft for barbed wire. We can use it to make solar panels.
Noah Howerton (Brooklyn, NY)
For drug users (and others) it never left. Maybe it's a good thing that the left is finally coming around to the idea that America isn't all it's cracked up to be?
MJM (Newfoundland, Canada)
The left (who and whatever that is) have always known that and tried to bring about change for the better. The right (ditto) has always resisted change, harkening back to the mythical "good old days".
Geoff (Toronto)
“We simply follow the orders from above.” And when have we heard this one before? Was this not oft stated at the Nuremberg trials? In this situation of abducting children from their parents causing untold psychological harm to fragile minds there should be no statute of limitations. My American friends you cannot wait until they start tatooing symbols on brown bodies. The visciousness of fascism has invaded your body politic as it invades the bodies of the young and the desperate.
James Smith (Austin, TX)
Evil is the word for it all right. You may take the argument that these immigrants really are not our problem. But, especially for Central and South America, you cannot make that claim. Because we have had our dirty fingers in the internal affairs of all the backward governments down there, creating and propping up one right wing dictator after another. If we had kept our hands off and let the communist insurgencies flower, they might be better off or worse off, but our hands would at least be clean. Now they are not. So we cannot claim that we bear no responsibility for why these people come here. Aside from that, Republicans always find justification for evil acts committed by the state. (How long will it be that we find out that some of the separated kids really won't go back to their parents but will be siphoned off to an adoption program for nice white Christian parents? Don't think it could happen?) Whether it be torture, or mass incarcerations, or trying children as adults, or fomenting racism, or taking children away from their mothers, the GOP can find a reason to do it.
David MD (NYC)
According to The Constitution, it is the job of Congress to pass laws and for The Executive Branch (The President) to enforce those laws. Both Trump and his predecessors have failed to implement nationwide eVerify systems that prevent illegal aliens for becoming employed in the US. eVerify systems, compel employers to electronically verify that those applying for employment are legally allowed to work in the country. Preventing employment of illegal aliens will compel employers to follow the US law and hire instead people who are legally allowed to work here presumably causing employers to pay a working wage. Read: 1. The View From Flyover Country: Essays by Sarah Kendzior 2. Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank. I hope Michelle Goldberg would speak with Sarah Kendzior and tour Kendzior's city of St. Louis.
Observer of the Zeitgeist (Middle America)
This is just silly. I have friends who overstayed visas in France. They were escorted to the border very nicely. No fascism required, just liberte et egalite.
MsDJMcB (California)
Actually, fascism is here for all of us. It's just that the rest of us are asleep. The migrants and their families are facing it square on while the rest of us just shake our heads and move on. Has anyone else thought about the affects on the children when they mature? Does terrorist sound familiar? Does no one else realize these children are being bred to be the next terrorist war?
ubique (NY)
First the rhetoric reduces people to "illegal aliens," then to "criminals and rapists," and slowly the wording will ultimately change into something much more familiar: "the undesirables." No one will care when those who are just plain undesirable start to disappear, because why would they? When words are used to take away the humanity of people who are struggling to survive, then all of us can sleep more soundly knowing that these people were never really worth our consideration in the first place.
S North (Europe)
'We are simply following orders from above'. Thus evil begins.
Len Charlap (Princeton, NJ)
- Fourteen Characteristics of Fascism - 1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays. 2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc. 3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc. 4. Supremacy of the Military Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized. 5. Rampant Sexism The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution. (cont.)
Victoria (San Francisco)
Thank you, Michelle Goldberg! Count me as another reader who is horrified to find so many comments here that disagree with you. There is no excuse for an official policy of psychological torture inflicted on innocent children. NO excuse.
T Walton (Newfane, VT)
"We simply follow the orders from above.” Sounds familiar. 1930's Germany?
hen3ry (Westchester, NY)
We're becoming more and more like the countries we claim to hate, the totalitarian societies that arrest people not carrying identification, who don't have the proper permits to live and work in a city or region, or who don't have the correct political views or connections. Immigrants who are here legally have the same rights as citizens. Undocumented immigrants have human rights that should be recognized. We're all human beings. Separating parents and children, making the act of asking for asylum almost completely illegal is not what America used to be about. Are we so frightened of outsiders that we're going to assume all of them are criminals until proven otherwise? Do we even care that by treating them like criminals we may be creating criminals? If any other country were doing this our citizens we'd be screaming bloody murder or worse. We protest other countries mistreatment of our citizens and their own. Yet here we are with an Attorney General who is willing to deprive people of their families, a right to request asylum, and the right to be treated like human beings. We spend very little of our budget on foreign aid. Perhaps if we spent a bit more on helping refugees before they come here some of this problem could be solved. We won't solve it with a wall or a cruel policy. It might be solved if their home countries were better places to live.
LibertyNY (New York)
Any American who thinks that Trump's inhumane treatment of children crossing the border is acceptable or justified is culpable. If Mexicans or Canadians were doing this to Americans who crossed their borders with children, the same fascists who think this is acceptable on our side of the border would be outraged. This IS like the Nazi Germany. First they come for groups that have been villainized to the point of making them less than human (which for Trump = immigrants). Fascists do their work incrementally, like boiling a frog. If you fail to notice or care until the heat is directed at you, well maybe there's some justice in that.
William Case (United States)
The Nazis swept up millions workers from the Central and Eastern European nations they conquered and forcibly transported them to Germany to work in war production factories. The Nazi's "immigration policy" was the exact opposite of the Trump administration's policy, which is to discourage foreign workers from coming to the United States without visas.
Mark (Rocky River, Ohio)
It certainly appears in the next global war, we here in the U.S. will need Western Europe to come an rescue us, instead of the reverse in the 1940's. Surely, in between we will be fighting another Civil War with casualties every day. I think the American people have failed in the admonition of the founders, to hold this 'Republic if you can keep it."
Joseph Thomas (Reston, VA)
I don't know which statement is more horrific - "they would hurt the children to influence the parents" or "We simply follow the orders from above". This is not the America I grew up in, this is not the America I fought for, this is not the America that I want my children and grandchildren to live in. This is unacceptable and it must be stopped! What has happened to our great nation?
RLB (Kentucky)
A statesman appeals to our best instincts, a demagogue to our worst - and Trump is a demagogue. We are in desperate times, and most simply think it's business as usual. We've had some bad presidents, but we've never had a president who cared so little about America and so much about himself. Trump criticizes our democratic allies and praises our authoritarian enemies, since he'd like to become America's permanent president. For evil to thrive, it is only necessary that good men and women do nothing. See:
Mike McGuire (San Leandro, CA)
If we enforce immigration laws today against people who've clearly broken them, we'll have fascism tomorrow? That's a bit of a leap. And I notice that legal immigrants are excluded from the Times' apparent definition of "migrants;" only those here illegally need apply . I'm half expecting to read a headline these days saying "First they came for the car burglars ..." before going on to tell us that enforcement of any laws is the first step toward fascism. It's that Trump doesn't follow the law that has me worried, not that he sometimes does.
Jack (House)
Separation of children from their parents is sad - especially when the kids are really young. But it's warranted. If any American parent draged their kid across the boarder child services would probably find it enough to separate them. And it's not as if illegal immigrants don't know that they may get separated. Yet they continue to bring their children and cross the boarder.
JD (Arizona)
As immigrants and asylum seekers come in and children are treated like animals, all I want to do is get out. But my own research shows no lawful, organized country will let me in. I'm beginning to understand why so many people in 1930s Germany didn't leave, and I'm beginning to understand how (not why) they were unable to fight. It creeps. It is upheld by 1/3 of the populace. It is off stage at first. It is so many problems at once, one doesn't know where to begin. My own state is imprisoning these children, but I don't even read where they are so I could go do something. Simply witness? Stand vigilance? What action would make a positive contribution and, more important, a change? Every morning when I read the paper, I sit here and ask myself, "where do I go to help stanch the flow of evil?"
idle hands (chappaqua)
the image of armed guards marching through train aisles looking randomly for people without proper papers seems reminiscent of movies of the cold war with Stasi operatives doing the same. but this is no movie and what our country is doing under sessions is no different from what happened under mielke shameful and despotic
David (Boston)
This article leaves a lot out. First, it doesn't mention the the pizza delivery guy was ordered to leave in 2010. He was granted "voluntary departure" but didn't leave. It should be obvious why he was not granted bail. Obviously a judge should look into the matter, but arresting lawbreakers is not fascism. Next, if you read the cited article, the Mexican who was murdered had his DACA cancelled because he had two criminal convictions. He was convicted of two more crimes, including a DWI, before he was granted voluntary departure. He was not "law-abiding." I'm sorry he was murdered, but murders happen in Mexico. We cannot admit every hopeful foreign national from countries where murder happens. It's legal for Federal law enforcement to ask a foreign national for his immigration documentation, and it's mandatory for them to carry it. Within 100 miles of the border, they can screen anyone on a train or bus, as long as they don't profile. They can even set up roadblocks. It's authorized by statute, implemented in regulations, and has been found constitutional. Similar laws exist in other free countries. That's not fascism; it's the rule of law. The US immigration system is admittedly incoherent and full of abuses, but liberals really need to explain how they expect the law to be enforced, because near as I can tell they object to every enforcement tactic. Until they do that, I won't trust them to make immigration policy.
Spook (Left Coast)
Dont label people advocating for open borders, etc as "liberals". Plenty of liberals (more properly "progressives" nowadays) do not support such folly.
AS (New York)
It would be nice to read from some of those who decry the current system and its cruelties just what they would propose in its place. Would they support a special tax in the US to provide income to the people suffering in Mexico and Guatemala and El Salvador. Would they advocate a completely open border? My concept would be to simply take over these countries and make them part of the USA. The only people that would suffer would be the oligarchs in Mexico and the USA who make money off wage suppression. At least in that case the US taxpayer would get some assets to help defray the cost of integrating this population.
Mike (Republic Of Texas)
I am heartened. Although not the majority, many commenters disagree with MG. We must control our borders. Next thing you know, we'll start enforcing other laws.
Mikeweb (NY, NY)
Many commenters are beating the well worn 'illegal immigrant' drum. These people aren't trying to sneak in, they're presenting themselves at the border and asking for asylum, which is their right under both international law and our own federal laws. Why asylum? The countries they're fleeing are practically war zones. Law enforcement there is either non-existent or working for the drug gangs. Think our own inner cities were bad at the height of the crack epidemic? It's 1,000x worse south of the border. Kidnappings. Mass killings, including of children. 'Well, that's their problem' you say? We're a nation of over 300 million, and are by far the largest customer of the drug cartels ravaging these countries. This is a demand side problem.
Spook (Left Coast)
Yeah, those guys in the photo were clearly presenting themselves at a border checkpoint...
Enough Already (USA)
If things are so bad there, then invade and be done with it. The solution is not mindlessly growing our population.
`Maureen S. (Franklin MA)
"We are following orders"- this is chilling on many levels. As a society we failed in setting moral and ethical standards. Who are these people- they are all of us. Democracy dies a little bit more each day.
Claudia (New Hampshire)
Much as the plight of refugees and migrants pulls at the heart, is immigration, ultimately, not a question of numbers? If only 10% of the population of India and China decided to emigrate to the US tomorrow, would we not face a near doubling of our population along with the reality that English would become a minority language, once all immigrants from this hemisphere are added? If we are a lifeboat in the middle of a sea of need, do we have the space, the capacity to offer sanctuary, opportunity to everyone in the world who wants to come here? And what of the experience in England, where some immigrant groups simply move in and then refuse to accept basic values, like allowing females to be educated or to vote? I'm not saying we should be heartless or forget we are a nation of immigrants, but Trump, in all his frank appeal to racism and fear, has raised an issue we have to face beyond simply decrying the nastiness of his approach. We have to find an answer to these questions to win the argument.
Zejee (Bronx)
This is the richest nation the world has ever known. We do not need to separate babies from mothers and lock up children like dogs.
sam (ma)
It makes one wonder how many Central American men are violent wife/children beaters? Should we be allowing them into our country at all? If these claims are true then there is a lot of these awful men who exist there and here. Is this an accepted cultural thing? The US is not a domestic violence shelter nor a foster home for children from other countries.
MickNamVet (Philadelphia, PA)
The photo heading this article indeed tells a thousand words: Hispanic-American border patrol officers detaining various Central Americans from entering the USA. If you go back just a generation or two, those same officers would be the ones being detained. As Trump's and the GOP's enforcement regulations show, this administration has no regard for the values of family, community, society. Trump and the GOP are mere traitors and destroyers of the constitution.
CS (Ohio)
Looking forward to the story about Michelle Goldberg opening her home and spending every penny she has to welcome as many migrants as possible into the USA. Until then, stop telling the rest of us we must be open to whomever feels like walking in. Freedom from lack of welfare isn’t a right.
serban (Miller Place)
Since when are individuals supposed to replace the Federal government? Your comment attempt to score political points but in fact reflect a total lack of simple humane empathy. The US cannot be expected to accept every one who wants to live here but it should be expected to treat human beings who desperately want to live here humanely and not like criminals.
Joan (Seattle)
This is the exact kind of reactive article that shows why the Democrats are not assured of gaining back the House in 2018. Many moderates from both sides are against illegal immigration. The more the left throws a fit about immigration, the less chance Democrats have of winning in 2018.
DD (Bloomington, Indiana)
What can we ordinary citizens do NOW to stop this inhumane practice of separating small children from their parents? This must stop! It's inhumane, it's un-American. If--for no other reason--can't those who support this terrible practice see that these children will grow up to hate America. With just cause. Please--what can we do?
Scott Mooneyham (Fayetteville NC)
It is truly astounding reading some of these comments and how so many are based on no facts and emotional responses, shaped by Trump and his kind. There are roughly 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, representing about 3 percent of the total population. Hoards indeed. Of course, if you are of a certain mindset, you might look at a family who has lived in New Mexico since before it was a state and see an illegal. Or you might look at the tens of thousands of families given amnesty under Ronald Reagan and see an illegal. The number of illegal immigrants has been declining for roughly a decade. The majority are no longer from Mexico, and a significant number are not coming in through illegal crossings at the Mexican border. More than 60 percent have been here a decade or more. Finally, I challenge a single person reading this story to confirm that they have not gotten a job at a chicken processing plant, picking cucumbers or working as a hotel maid because the job went to an illegal immigrant. Oh, not that kind of job, right? American truly has become an Idiocracy.
Enough Already (USA)
Half of all Mexicans would move here. That's sixty million people. The only ideocracy are liberals who argue they should be allowed to do so. And those who believe that no American will work in factories or the fields. Nothing is more elitist that listening to liberals explain that no American will hold such jobs.
Scott Mooneyham (Fayetteville NC)
Love your fact-based arguments
Michael Piscopiello (Higganum Ct)
Absolutely correct, authoritarianism has arrived and is a thriving business for America. WE have separated children from parents without hesitation. We have created indoor internment centers for children, caged in fenced enclosures. We intern immigrants and hold them in private run facilities, because capitalism is awesome. Parts of the country are working hard to disenfranchise minorities and deny them voting rights. Parts of the country are working hard to discriminate against the LBGQT Americans in their community. Then, of course, we have an administration working feverishly to remove federal protections for citizens and the environment. But, of course, the plutocrats are stealing as much money as they can. Yes indeed, authoritarianism is here.
William Case (United States)
The Trump administration hasn't exacted any new immigration laws. It is merely enforcing the immigration laws passed by Congress and signed by previous presidents.
LivingWithInterest (Sacramento)
Goldberg: "Immigration officers are boarding trains and buses and demanding that passengers show them their papers." You or I could be sitting on that train or bus. What's to stop officers who have the full force of the government from asking you or I for our papers? Is my drivers license "papers" in this context? Are we, as American citizen, required to show some form of identification upon demand? Fascism isn't a fairy tale. It's a story about the frog sitting in a pot of water, not realizing the water is getting hotter and hotter, until it boils.
Mike McGuire (San Leandro, CA)
Not to upset you further, LWI, but the police currently have the right to demand identification from citizens and non-citizens alike. That is, except where local authorities have banned the practice, such as in New York City. to its credit. Elsewhere, they've been able to do this this for decades, long before Trump. Except for some of our black citizens, Times readers did not appear to connect this to fascism until Mr. Trump started doing it looking for undocumented immigrants.
LivingWithInterest (Sacramento)
Mike, you are so right! I remember when the authorities started profiling Black Americans and how much that got people talking about "one profile does not fit all" when it comes down to "driving or walking while [fill in the minority under scrutiny]. As much as trump rails about Fake News, I'm committed to railing about all the instances, that when summed-up, constitute the deconstruction of our democracy. It isn't the little things. It's when all the little things add up. Thanks for the reply.
redmist (suffern,ny)
And we wonder why the suicide rates are on a ballistic trajectory. I'm no longer clear on what it means to be human.
Harry (El paso)
This article much more closely resembles a science fiction novel than anything Trump has done. Undocumented aliens are here illegally and are committing a crime by being here or trying to enter. As an attorney not a single day passes where I do not see American citizens charged with or convicted of crimes incarcerated and separated from their children. There is absolutely no difference and no reasonable argument can be made that there is one. One of the major reasons Trump was elected was to enforce these laws. The left may not want certain laws to be enforced but the American people by electing Trump disagree. Reading stuff like this brings to mind not only science fiction but also the theater of the absurd
Patricia (Florida)
Harry, I disagree on two points. "American citizens charged with or convicted of crimes incarcerated and separated from their children. There is absolutely no difference and no reasonable argument can be made that there is one. " Not. Children of citizens charged or convicted of crimes are not torn screaming from parents' arms (literally) by uniformed officers and secreted away by American strangers who don't speak the same language, and with little hope that they will ever see their parents again. That may not be true, but try to tell that to a terrorized child not old enough to go to kindergarten. "The left may not want certain laws to be enforced but the American people by electing Trump disagree." I don't know anyone, left or right, who is a proponent of illegals crossing our borders. Most ARE, however, against manhandling children. They are being used as a tool of threat, and that is reprehensible. As far as the American people electing Trump, that is a falsehood almost as big as his whoppers. The people elected a Democrat. The Electoral College elected Trump.
david (leinweber)
What bothers me here is how little we hear about the way American parents are separated from their kids ALL THE TIME by our criminal justice system and family courts, and nobody cares. How many kids are in 'the system' now because their parents did drugs or drank? Yes, taking drugs or drinking too much is not ideal parenting, but neither is taking the risk of crossing a border illegally with your kids in tow. Also, the family court/social worker/parole board agencies involved in taking kids from parents are part of the unionized, pink-collar, public employee workforce that overwhelmingly hate Donald Trump and heavily vote Democratic. This is just another example of how the anti-Trump fanatics seem to favor immigrants over American citizens.
sam (ma)
Or how about the hundreds of thousands of children languishing in the horrid foster home system here in our country? I guess they don't matter either.
Cynthia (Illinois)
It's not an either-or thing. This liberal supports both American citizens and immigrants. I believe in humanity. If people have broken the law why can't they have an ankle bracelet like Manafort, and show up for their hearing? Losing ones children into an unjust violent system is disproportionate to the crime. This is inhumane and condemned by the UN. It violates international protection of children.
david (leinweber)
Exactly. Even if it's not Leave it to Beaver, many, if not most, children are still better off with their biological parents. Taking children from their parents is a veritable industry in this country, and mostly a Democratic Party one at that.
Occam's razor (Vancouver BC)
America is on a slippery slope. The fact that this cruelty does not stop, today, right now...
Eero (East End)
It is only a matter of time before the stories of physical and sexual abuse of these children begin to surface. Understand that anyone capable of tearing a child away from a parent doesn't think of those children as human beings, but only a new object of their hatred and thus deserving of abuse. There are no protections for these children - no system of oversight, no provisions for their care, no opportunity to learn or be supported. There is not even enough housing for them. Their destruction is foretold. Congratulations Sessions, you are developing a whole new body of terrorists, they're known as ICE.
Debra (California)
It costs $674.00 A day to house these illegal immigrant children. They are yes meals and snacks til full, are getting physical activites, healthcare, etc. That only US children, many extremely impoverished should be getting. Welfare gives approximately same monetary amt to welfare recipients to last an entire month.
WillT26 (Durham, NC)
The dishonesty of pieces like this is mind-boggling. Families that are sneaking into the country illegally are being separated. These people, understandably, are claiming asylum after they are caught. They have / had no intention of claiming asylum- until they were caught. This issue is getting so tiresome. Families will not be split up if they do not break the law. People are free to apply for asylum- legally. I am growing so tired of the endless lies associated with illegal immigration. Stop- please just stop. This nation accepts roughly one million legal immigrants every year. Every single year. We have the right to decide who comes into the country. We have the right to decide how many come into the country. We are a nation of laws and the law is applied equally to all. It is not a secret that those who illegally enter are going to be split from their children. I am tired of hearing about the child human traffickers having a hard time. Stop illegally entering this nation. Stop using children to guilt-trip the citizens of this nation. Stop. Stop. Stop.
Mary DeRocco (Provincetown)
We, as a people, are witnessing the destruction of our country and values. How quickly it unravels. Meanwhile, elected Republicans in Congress sit passively see no evil, hear no evil, speak not of evil: this is criminal behavior the consequences of which are causing great unnecessary suffering. Here we are, that “vast right wing conspiracy” the press scoffed at 20 plus years ago, is a toxic virus- Pandemic on the horizon. What are we waiting for?
Mike (Republic Of Texas)
OK, TDS, the syndrome, is at epidemic levels among NYT staff and readers. Let's take a breath and review. . "These kids are being used as pawns to persuade parents to give up their asylum claims and to warn others against coming to America." That very well might be the strategy. Even Liberals acknowledge that the world doesn't have a right to come into America as they see fit. . GWB had an interesting take on liberalism. I paraphrase, "We doom these people to the soft bigotry of low expectations." So, illegal immigrants don't have to follow the laws of the land, just because they aren't from here? Take the case of Leimome Cheeks, 62, a Memphis grandma charged with transporting 2 kids in dog kennels. If that's a crime, it would follow that tossing your kids on a North bound train, to fend for themselves, is as bad. . I have yet to hear the NYT give an effective and legal way for this human wave to be dealt with, without resorting to mass amnesty. . When and from whom have we heard these little nuggets of wisdom? "If you don't have time to do it right, the first time, when will you have time to do it right, later?" "If you can't do it right, you can't do it fast." Finally, if you think arguments like this will cause Trump voters to flip, it won't.
Cheryl (CA)
You’re missing the point. This is about children being separated from their parents as a means to scare people into not coming to the US illegally. Why punish children who did nothing wrong? Heartless policy
Cynthia (Illinois)
Ok. Here's an idea. Manafort gets two ankle bracelets and is out on bail for his many financial crimes, stealing from all of us to defraud the US government. He did it. But he can see his kids. Used to be, people crossing border were picked up, given a court date, and could use justice system to make their case for asylum or otherwise apply, or were sent back. No expensive detentions required. These prisons are being used to make money for someone. It's always about the money, and creating fear in our population. Complete waste of taxpayer money!
Somebody (Somewhere)
Problem is, the vast majority disappear and don't show up for their court hearings. If they could be trusted to do that, chances are, they wouldn't be locked up.
Maureen (New York)
With all the handwringing going on here, let’s remember one point - migration is a business - a highly profitable business - possibly even more profitable than drugs. Those weary sad people with their weary hungry children are at our border because they PAID someone to bring them. Drug gangs exist in America, too. There is violent crime in America too. In fact some of those sam people with their hungry screaming children may themselves be involved in the drug trade. Let’s remember the many thousands of destitute American homeless.
James Atkinson (Fresno, CA)
I see the NYT is back on a roll with its open-borders megaphone. Readers have been pushing back on with facts and analysis for years to no avail. This column did not give a single anecdote where the subjects were not breaking federal law to do as they pleased. Not one. So what you arguing for is breaking the law if you don’t like it. People can make that choice however there are consequences. You go to jail and you don’t get to take your children with you. If I get arrested for a misdemeanor in my own country and police take me to jail I can’t bring my kids. They system is being gamed with asylum claims and minors. I started under Obama and her responded with building special detention centers. This newspaper should the magnitude of the numbers of arrests, detentions, minors, warrants an readers can grasp the severity of the problem. The NYT wants everyone who crosses to get a bus ticket to disappear but patience and compassion for crashing the border ran out a long time ago. America is not obligated to accommodate every nation that cannot regulate their fertility. What the NYT objects to is the determination of Homeland Security to get this under control.
Cynthia (Illinois)
You fail to realize we need these immigrants. US fertility rates are falling drastically. Our aging population won't have enough young to care for us, harvesting our food, building our highways, etc. We need them.
Lynn in DC (um, DC)
Cynthia, you believe immigrants should come to the US just so they can be exploited to perform cheap labor? That is offensive.
phoebe (NYC)
Sophie’s Choice anyone?
Keith (NC)
I wish the NY Times was doing their job, because they came for the children decades ago and have continued ever since and you said nothing and now we have the "opioid epidemic". 100+ people dying every day but sure it's horrible that the government has started treating illegal immigrants like they treat all other criminals please continue to write piece after piece advocating for them if you want Republicans to pick up seats in November.
Spook (Left Coast)
They are still taking them, and persecuting parents just for a little marijuana, too. All part of our profiteering "justice" system.
Sam I Am (Windsor, CT)
I'm not surprised that Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions could issue such cruel, callous, and racist orders. To them, these aren't people in the sense Anglo-Americans are. But I never thought an agency with thousands of employees would simply fall in line, executing such orders. Of these Americans, I'm ashamed.
Mike (Republic Of Texas)
What happens when members of the Executive branch only follow the rules they think are fair? It is just one step before corruption, ala, Latin American.
RichardS (New Rochelle, NY)
The poem is based on the writings of Pastor Niemöller, a Lutheran clergyman in Germany during the years of Nazi control. While an early supporter of Hitler, because the Nazi party took aim at what he considered to be the religion-lacking Communist, as Germany spiraled into a moral pit, the disillusioned pastor became a vocal opponent to Hitler and his regime. His fight continued even after being sent to concentration camps in 1937. But by then it was too late for him and everyone else. That is the price of silence and the essential message of Pastor Niemöller.
Colin (Virginia)
It's important to remember the key distinction here: Trump is going after illegal immigrants. There is nothing racist, bigoted, intolerant, fascist, or authoritarian about enforcing laws that are on the books. In fact, a president that does anything else (cough, cough,...Pres. OBAMA,....cough, cough), isn't really doing his or her job.
willow (Las Vegas/)
So every law that is on the books is OK? So I assume that if it is found that President Trump has broken the law, including the emoluments clause, you will be fine with him paying the legal consequences? Thank you. There are countries around the world that have unjust laws , for example, criminalizing Christians or women who drive cars? These laws are admirable because they are "on the books"? And if in the future a law passes that says that anyone whose family has not been in the United States for two generations is an 'illegal" (as Germany at one time criminalized being born Jewish) that would be fine too and that happens to include some of your relatives, that would be not be bigoted or fascist?
krw (Chicago Metro)
Ahem, Colin, cough, cough, asylum seekers who turn themselves over to the authorities aren't the same as people who sneak over the border to work the jobs US citizens refuse. And, cough, cough, President Obama deported more undocumented aliens than ANY other president. Check your facts, sir, and put away those cigarettes.
Len Charlap (Princeton, NJ)
5th Amendment: "...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;..." 6th Amendment: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence." 7th Amendement: "In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, ..." 8th Amendment: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." 9th Amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." So while you may not consider what Trump is doing to be "racist, bigoted, intolerant, fascist, or authoritarian" (although many of us will), Colin, you must admit it is unconstitutional.
Brez (Spring Hill, TN)
The separation of families is disgusting and reprehensible. Alternative detention facilities for families are the obvious and doable short-term solution. Nonetheless, everyone else can't live here. We have one of the most liberal LEGAL immigration policies in the world, but just wanting a job, or a better job, or the fact that some governments are even more incompetent than ours, is no excuse to illegally enter the country. Perhaps negotiations with Mexico, as opposed to the current idiotic attitude of threats and bombast, would enlist their assistance in better border security.
Eric (Brussels)
What have we become?
Margo Channing (NYC)
We are a nation of laws and borders. Without adhering to those chaos ensues. Obama deported many more than current president.
Colenso (Cairns)
It's unpleasant for a small child to be separated from his parents. I know. I was often that child, separated and handed over to complete strangers. But it's not the end of the world. Children are tougher and more resilient than we are willing to consider. It's hardly as if the children are going to suffer the fate of Jewish children under the Naziis, or the fate of many civilians, young and old, in the death camps run in the Far East by Imperial Japan leading up to and during WW2. The USA has the right to secure its borders and limit immigration. Employer groups across the political spectrum want to pay as little as possible in labour costs so they are all for illegal immigration and as much legal immigration as possible. Every large media group is owned by very rich Americans who like cheap immigrants because it means they pay less to have their backyard landscaped, their nannies are cheaper, their favourite eating places are cheaper. Oh, but I forget! No American media group is affected or influenced in the slightest by the personal fiscal interests of the owner. I mean – just look at Fox News.
Patricia (Florida)
colenso: "It's hardly as if the children are going to suffer the fate of Jewish children under the Naziis, or the fate of many civilians, young and old, in the death camps run in the Far East by Imperial Japan leading up to and during WW2." Good heavens, they're not going to be killed is hardly an argument to continue terrorizing children. "I came out OK" is not, either. I am not, and never have been, a proponent of open borders. But I do believe people who make themselves known at the border requesting time in front of a judge to hear them deserve to be heard and most certainly better treatment than this horror. Their children -- who are being used as punishment for their parents' actions -- should never, EVER be brutalized.
SSJ (Roschester, NY)
Given the progress that the world has made concerning human rights, Sessions is the most vile and caustic racist that this country has ever seen. In the past there have been some remarkable standouts but that was the past.
Chris (Michigan)
Jeff Sessions is the instigator of these actions and needs to be more directly called out by the press, politicians and public. He hides behind the cloak of Trump but he’s the one masterminding these cruelties. This man seems to want to turn back the clock to his childhood, the Jim Crow south. People need to call out the actions and intentions of this Himmler-like character in the administration.
Jack (Asheville)
This is who we are, America! It's important to stop blaming "evil Republicans" for the atrocities that we all make possible by our own daily choices. If you don't like what you see in the mirror, do something to change yourself and the world around you.
This is absolutely horrendous and antithetical to everything America used to stand for. The comparisons to fascism and Nazis are totally appropriate. Makes me ashamed to be American today.
Peter (Germany)
This is all so sad, and the worst of it is the fact that Trump does all these aggressive lashes to helpless people for the primitive reason to pander to his voters. "Look what a tremendous guy I am" is his immoral message. When will the American people stand up against this menace to mankind?
Desert Dweller (Phoenix, AZ)
Bill Kristol, when talking about the Kim Jung Un-Trump face-off, pointed to the atrocities of the North Korean dictator against his people and suggested that should be a part of the discussion. He's right, but ... Should not our inhumane anti-immigrant actions of ripping babies from their mothers' arms not also be part of the discussion? And our killing of unarmed black boys and men? Pot and kettle, anyone?
There (Here)
Typical hyperbole by Goldberg. They're. "Coming" for the illegals because they're illegal. Citizens have noting to worry about How many readers here have been detained by the government lately?
Amains (Detroit within sight of the Canadian border)
Every time I make the crossing from Windsor to Detroit I am detained, as are my children. Why? Canadian born parent of children adopted from China. We are all US citizens but apparently must prove it over and over again. They are not "coming." They "came" quite awhile back. Did no one else notice?
William Case (United States)
Michelle Goldberg cites Martin Niemöller’s famed “First They Came For” lecture, which applied to Nazi concentration camps, but which doesn’t apply at all to illegal immigration at the U.S. border. The Nazi were desperate for workers to replace civilians serving in the German armed forces. To keep their war factories running, they forcibly imported millions of Ostarbeiters—which literally means “Eastern workers.” The Ostarbeiters were slave laborers the Nazi swept up from the conquered countries of Central and Eastern Europe and forcibly transported to work camps in Germany. The United States is not sweeping up millions of undocumented workers from Mexico and Central America and forcibly transporting them to the United States to work in American factories. It is trying to discourage them from coming to the United States without visas.
Ian MacFarlane (Philadelphia)
Only following orders? The same refrain so often played at the Nuremberg Trials. Is this who we have become? Our Christian nation like that of the German people is being swayed by a stupidly self-centered demagogue. The civilized world is crying to think we as a people have abandoned even the semblance of decency . The children who are literally torn from their parents arms will never forget nor will they or any who witness this brutality ever forgive. We are creating a monster in the likeness of the very fascists so many of our citizens have given their lives to defeat. Easy to pin the tail on the donkey in charge but what about the herd he is leading? The members of Congress who are purported to represent our nation, the officers in the field who are only following orders? Are they simply heartless savages with minds dazzled by their glistening sidearms, the tears they see in the eyes of the children they terrorize, the fear they elicit from the parents they force into submission? The answer is no, they are like us Americans, citizens who have become devoid of feeling, their empty minds following the dictates of their equally mindless leader who only knows how to stroke his own limitless ego. I wish I was writing a short story of some fictional egomaniacal dictator rather than making an insulting comment about the man who has become the face of our nation. We are becoming a nation of fools who are being played by the biggest fool our nation has ever born.
pmbrig (Massachusetts)
Give me your go-getters, your well-off, Your proud elites yearning to make money, The best and brightest of your teeming shore. Go back home, you wretched refuse. The "mighty woman with a torch," whose name, in Emma Lazarus's poem, was "MOTHER OF EXILES", is now weeping. France should demand that she be returned.
andrew (new york)
Just following orders. The Nuremberg defense. Talk about desperation. How desperate for a job do you have to be as an American adult, to separate innocent children from their parents. And how desperate for a job do ICE agents have to be to root around the public square like the Gestopo demanding papers and dragging their kill off to some fate. And how desperate must we be for peace of mind to stand by and allow such serial obscenities to continue. Now we know what happens to people as their world sinks into totalitarianism.
Willhac (Canada)
These are complicated issues with economic and legal consideration however with any human dilemma comes a responsibility to react with companion and empathy. This reaction is a liberal and conservative concept basic to a civil democracy. If we loose sight of our common humanity then who are we?
The laws that allow for separation of children from adults bringing them over the border without documentation were put in place to combat human trafficking particularly sex trafficking. How do border agents even know if these adults are in fact parents or relatives vs traffickers wanting to put these children into slavery or prostitution? These cries against separation only result in empowering traffickers and putting children at risk from adults in detention centers and then when they inevitably disappear into the country. How is that compassion?
serban (Miller Place)
Why are you rationalizing what is essentially an inhumane policy? Do you actually know that small children are being brought across the border for prostitution? Is it that difficult to tell whether a child is accompanied by his/her mother? Your claim that keeping children with their parents encourage traffickers is not just patently absurd, it is equivalent to saying putting innocent people in prison will discourage crime. Think about it.
Martin Jones (Silicon Valley)
If the kid is crying and screaming as they are being separated from the adult, you can rest assured they are a legitimate parent.
mikecody (Niagara Falls NY)
If I take my kids with me to steal food from a grocer's, and when I am caught claim I want to apply for food stamps, my kids are likely to be taken away from me anyway and I will be charged with theft. No different from someone who crosses the border unlawfully, even if the parents immediately present themselves to the authorities to make asylum claims. There is a process in place to claim asylum. You go to a legal border crossing, and you make the claim there. It seems to me that doing it the other way implies that had they not been caught, they would never have made any such claim but just disappeared into the mass of illegal immigrants already living here.
patricia (pittsburgh)
Having never been to the United States, why would you assume that they would know exactly what processes are in place for immigration.
Martin Jones (Silicon Valley)
Reports are that children are being separated from parents even when the family is making their asylum request at legal border crossings. How is this humane? The worst that a family should see is a rejection and being turned back. Arrest and separation is outright cruel.
Sherry Wacker (Oakland)
When you take your kids to the grocery store are you trying to save their lives? Your comparison is ridiculous.
MDH (Birmingham)
My 91 year old father passed away in December 2016. As much as I miss him, I am glad that he isn't here to see our country break down. He was a quiet, gentle, spiritual man and suffered silently throughout his adult life carrying the memories of his time in battle in the South Pacific. He answered the call to serve at great personal sacrifice. I believe he did so from a place of for his family, his country and for all humanity...and his belief that all the people of this planet deserve a decent life. He would never deny a place of refuge to anyone suffering or in need of care. He would be devastated to see what we have become. I am his daughter and so ashamed of what America has become.
JoKor (Wisconsin)
I wonder, States have statutes dealing with Children in Need of Protection or Services. In Wisconsin, children can be removed from those who harm them...physically & emotionally and they then work to return the children to their parents. Could these State Statutes be used to protect these children from the Federal Government?
JD (Minneapolis)
I actually had to stop reading this and take a huge deep breath before continuing. This chilling column reminds us that the slippery slope is here, and when it affects only brown people, nobody takes notice. Thank you Michelle. There is work to do.
Mike (Republic Of Texas)
Build the wall. Stop the invasion.
JACK (08002)
Michelle Goldberg's conflation of the current migrant issue with Nazi Germany is despicable. "the kind captured in the Martin Niemöller poem that’s repeated so often it’s become a cliché: “First they came …” There is no reason to believe that undocumented immigrants will be the last group of people deemed beyond the law’s protection." I take particular umbrage because my mother survived Auschwitz & I was born in a DP (displaced person camp) after the war. Nazi Germany was about a sophisticated country under the bent of a madman whose ultimate goal was to exterminate every Jew in Europe. As a "responsible" reporter, Ms. Goldberg should know better. But as a Jew, her remarks are particularly offensive.
Irene (Brooklyn, NY)
I am a 2nd generation Holocaust survivor and I think Ms. Goldberg is absolutely correct in warning about the slippery slope. What is happening is shameful and despicable. And "following orders"...Yes we've heard that before and we should take it as a warning going forward. A very slippery slope.
Enough Already (USA)
It's disgusting to compare sending Mexicans home to Mexico with the Nazi murder of innocent Jews.
Don Bob (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida)
Somehow this feels akin to the internment of Japanese-Americans upon the outbreak of hostilities during WWII... something that will elicit shame and repulsion in the years to come. Weren't we supposed to be the beacon of liberty and justice? Where has our humanity gone?
Maureen (Boston)
I am crying after reading this. How on earth can the US be doing this? I am sick.
David (Palmer Township, Pa.)
The U.S. is doing this because Donald Trump won the Presidency. It appears that either few listened to what he said during his campaign and many others don't want the U.S. that our Constitution has promised its people. Things will only get better once the administration changes and all those who are part of it are no longer involved.
Peter (NYC)
After you are done crying...get your check book out and write checks for $10,000 for the next 20 years to cover the cost of the health care, education and wealfare benefits for the illegal immigrants!
Ramon.Reiser (Seattle)
For those who know it not: First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. I did not get a waiver of my 4F and then a change in my orders from Europe to Viet Nam (and pay for a bone spur in my heel to be removed) to establish a police state in America. Civilization is a thin veneer, and it is worth living for, fighting for, and dying for. It is to be preserved and enhanced for our grandchildren’s grandchildren. And let us all remember we are the descendants of illegal immigrants, even Native Americans. And cherish the opportunity to design the future. And always protect the little ones and their mothers.
Ken (Portland, OR)
The problem with that poem is that the Nazis DIDN’T come for “me” if the “me” is intended to refer to Christian Germans. Everybody knows that which is why people who are not a member of whatever groups a leader like Trump is targeting can easily ignore it (if they don’t gleefully support it).
A. C. (Menlo Park)
Separating children from tehir families is cruel and this chapter of our history, like so many other things that are happneing under Trump, will be remembered in shame. A civilized nation does not resort to human right abuses to solve its probelms. This is a clear abuse of children and their parents.
Jtati (Richmond, Va.)
All of this to appease a base that represents a minority, knows nothing about the statistics or facts of immigration and never had a job taken from them because of it.
Donna Nieckula (Minnesota)
What can I say? It’s not like nobody saw this coming. Maybe it’s best to borrow from another quote: The American voters were warned. They were given an explanation. Nevertheless, they persisted. Trump is who Trump is — pretty much all of which has been known since the 1980s. The blame for this authoritarian/fascist turn falls upon the shoulders of those who voted for Trump.
Chen (Queens, NY)
The deportation of migrants is not immoral or unjust. It is the rule of law. There is a complex immigration and work visa system that allows around a million people from across the world into the US annually. Are you saying the bipartisan Immigration Act of 1990 is evil? The one spearheaded by Ted Kennedy? Just because you believe in open borders and non-enforcement of immigration law doesn’t mean everyone else is a fascist. Even for many liberal-progressive voters, the name calling grows tiring. Migrants by definition have no legal right to reside or work in the United States. There is nothing inherently fair in allowing them to remain while millions around the globe wait decades for their residency visas. You will find this sentiment particularly strong among legal immigrants. You decry expansive executive power in immigration, but that was the basis for DACA. Obama unilaterally created a program when many argued it required Congressional authorization. So if you think the implementation of new asylum policy is repugnant, Congress can pass legislation overriding it. Rather than calling people Nazis, try winning elections and court challenges instead.
oogada (Boogada)
"Just last week, we learned that a teenager from Iowa who had lived in America since he was 3 was killed shortly after his forced return to Mexico." How can this be? Just this week a Trumpish administrator said there is no record of anybody, ever being killed or even seriously hurt because we wouldn't let them in. I'm gonna check this out on FOX, and then we'll see...
Margo (Atlanta)
It is a shame that the Mexican government could not manage to keep that young man and his friend safe - another person was killed at the same time. Should we have saved that other young man? What about everyone else killed by violence in Mexico? It's a lot of people.
oogada (Boogada)
True dat, but one of them was standing in Iowa begging us not to send him "home" to die.
Will. (NYC)
They are not "visitors" or "assylum seekers" as several commentators labeled the detainees. They are criminal invaders who decided they would willfully break the laws of a foreign nation and expect to be treated as if they did not. The Trump Administration is loathsome on just about every level. But to support these law breakers plays right into Trump's tiny little hands. Don't take the bait.
Spring Texan (Austin Texas)
I am so sick of people who invoke the "law" here. You'd have cited the "law" against fugitive slaves as well, I am quite certain.
Carol Wheeler (San Miguel de Allende, mexico)
And the children?
Raul Campos New York Times Likes To Stir The Pot Without Any Heat There Is No Boil (San Francisco)
Obama deported more undocumented immigrants than all other recent presidents, yet no one ever called him an authoritarian Fascist. California is a sanctuary state yet migrants worker’s rights are ignored and they are treated no better than economic slaves. The Central Valley’s economy is booming yet no one is proposing that migrants workers should get social benefits equal to other Californian citizens. The hypocrisy of liberals is astonishing.
Sarah (Dallas, TX)
For a group that wraps itself in religion every chance it gets, I'm amazed that GOP leadership hasn't considered what God thinks of their actions. I imagine the pearly gates has a wall too big for the monsters "leading" our country to get over. God bless those who suffer and die at the hands of the GOP.
LF (SwanHill)
They worship a different god from the God of the bible.
Ed M (Michigan)
“Just following orders” ... now where have we heard that defense before? Ahh, yes, the Nuremberg Trials, back in the days when we represented a morally grounded democracy. The good old days, before we started the long slide into moral decrepitude and conversion into a fascist state. Will we wake up as a nation before it is too late, or will we be forced to follow this nightmare to its bitter end? I weep for our once great country.
linda (brooklyn)
the terror being inflicted on these children will last forever. distressingly, you will find a fair amount of support for the government to seize children in retribution and as a deterrent. there's a very deep undercurrent in this country that would welcome an authoritarian government... just ask those who admire and support vladmir putin. this evil has always been out there; donald trump's ascension has just emboldened them.
Lean More to the Left (NJ)
"We simply follow the orders from above.” That excuse was used at Nuremberg. It didn't hold water then let's pray it doesn't hold water now. If republicans are allowed to have their way they will be putting all non-republicans into "re-education camps" before the end of the "Orange one's" first term. We must rise up now to stop the inevitable or, most assuredly, they will come for us next. Vote no to all republicans in November. Your country needs you now. RESISTANCE IS NOT FUTILE.
GMO (South Carolina)
Yes, let's not let any of those descendants of the Mayan civilization cross the border to work in farmers fields or chicken processing plants. Let's not let those native Americans build our houses or trim the shrubbery or cut the grass. Let's keep them in their own countries where drug gangs can extort, torture, maim, and kill them. And let's certainly separate their families so that the children can be free of the care of their parents. Let's keep meddling in their countries' affairs like we always have, and support whatever dictator we fancy and keep buying their drugs. And if they still keep coming, let's shoot them down like the dogs they are.
Brenda (Morris Plains)
What’s the difference between separating children from their parents when the latter commit the crime of entering the US illegally, and separating parents from their children when the former commit (say) burglary? Kids don’t stay with their parents while the latter are in custody. The left doesn’t object to heavy-handed enforcement of immigration laws; it objects to ANY enforcement of immigration laws. The folks arriving at the border are coming from ... Mexico. There is essentially no threat to these people in Mexico. If they wish to make asylum claims – which are, almost uniformly, utterly nonsensical – they can prosecute those cases from Mexico, without becoming a burden to us. “They” SHOULD “come for the (illegal) migrants”, who should be expeditiously escorted to the door and given the boot. Every single illegal should be sent home. Tomorrow. The businesses who hire them should be heavily fined. These folks might be great people. 150 years ago, before the welfare state, with huge open spaces to settle, railroads to be built, etc., their unskilled labor might have been welcome and they might have made great Americans. No more. They are not a benefit to the US; we simply don’t need unskilled labor, which only depresses wages, while costing the taxpayers a fortune. Go home. Work hard to improve your own country so that people no longer see fit to flee. And take your kids with you, as we wouldn't want to break up your family. But go home.
redmist (suffern,ny)
Go home to what? For a minute walk in their shoes.
Dave from Auckland (Auckland)
The answer, he said, was, “We simply follow the orders from above.” Well we know where that got the Germans in WWII. Perhaps, Kudlow's heart attack was also an order from above. Who is next?
Maggie C. (Poulsbo, WA)
And still Congress fiddles while a smirking Putin is holding the match. Who is allowed to enter these private holding pens if not a U.S. Senator? How about a contingent of high profile people, as suggested on AM Joy (MSNBC)? Obama, Michelle, Oprah, representatives from both parties? A small stealth camera-enabled drone? The Pope? Please, Someone help these desperate children and parents whose only “crime” was to throw themselves on our mercy. Thank you to the ACLU, refugee and immigration agencies, Senators Merkley, Menendez, Harris, Rep. Jayapal, Washington Governor Inslee, Washington AG Bob Ferguson, and others who are fighting for the reuniting of these families.
Cwnidog (Central Florida)
"These kids are being used as pawns to persuade parents to give up their asylum claims and to warn others against coming to America. The administration, Merkley told me, has 'decided that treating kids in this fashion would influence the adults not to seek asylum. They would hurt children to influence the parents.'” Michelle, fascism doesn't just come for some of us. When it comes, it's here for us all.
Steve Sailer (America)
"We still talk about American fascism as a looming threat, something that could happen if we’re not vigilant. But for undocumented immigrants, it’s already here." Indeed, what could possibly be more fascist than Rule of Law?
What’s happening to refugees around the world, and to undocumented immigrants (and Hispanic American citizens) in this country, is not an example of humanity at its best to put it mildly. But we need to take great care and reflect before comparing anyone’s or any administration’s actions to those of the Nazis if we are to remember and guard against the horrors of humanity at its worst.
Norma (Albuquerque, NM)
In fact, this administration and the republicans in congress make the comparison to Nazis relevant. Their fierce opposition to President Obama wasn't for the good of the country, but their simply their expression of racism. Now that they have trump in the White House, who couldn't bring himself to condemn the Nazis in Charlottesville, where one woman lost her life, they sit immobile. trump is in fact the symbol that should remind us to guard against the horrors of humanity at its worst.
Ray (Fl)
Come on. It's the parents who bear responsibility for coming here illegally and bringing their kids , not the American people.
Blamesomeoneelse (Texas)
@Ray: Come on, it's Americans who are responsible for snatching four-year-olds out of their mothers' arms. There is no reason on Earth to separate children from parents, except for the sake of pure cruelty. Deport them, fine -- but you don't have to tear children away from their parents in order to deport them. That is totally unnecessary and is merely a brutal show of force.
DebinOregon (Oregon)
Interesting, but not surprising: The pro-life crowd ain't so kind to babies and little children in this case. Let's hear from the so-called Christian majority who will, no doubt rush to care for these little ones? Nope. Who would Jesus cage? How many of these "illegal " women are pregnant? Aren't their babies precious too? No, cuz they are not "us" and they are brown. How Christian is it to blame people for fleeing violence and death??
Sipa111 (Seattle)
Trump and his Ilk just give the orders. It is Americans on the border that are carrying out these odious orders without visible dissent. It's not just Trumps value being reflected, it's America values
Richard Mclaughlin (Altoona PA)
I wouldn't worry about it going any further than the migrants. Bullies only pick on those who can't fight back.
FGH (Boston)
Simply the title of this piece is chilling. How did we get here? Separately, Goldberg has established herself as one of the must-read voices at the Times.
Robert (Chicago)
Endless shame on all of them. May Mr. Gibsons future be distributed to these war criminals so that they and their families may be torn apart, and that they can spend eternity in cages. Mr. Sessions should have the honor of going first.
smacc1 (CA)
You know if someone - a parent - gets caught committing a crime on, say, Christmas Eve day, would our justice system set them free so they could spend the Holiday with their loved ones? OF COURSE NOT! Why is it, then, that when a foreigner enters the USA without the permission of the USA, we're supposed to treat them as guests? This piece is nonsense, and it's what we've become accustomed to reading (and hearing) from the NYTimes. Stop undermining our country with these fake characterizations of Trump's immigration policy. He's enforcing US immigration law, which this paper characterizes as inhumane and lawless? How about going after the true perpetrators - the migrants' home countries.
Cindi T (Plymouth MI)
Immigrants are desperate; they are not "criminals".
Desmo88 (Los Angeles)
We all may with shame rue the prescience of this brilliant article, especially on Wednesday November 7th, if texting and shouting in social media is all we muster against the rise of 100% American made fascism.
Thats Enough (Northeast)
It is as a result of Ms Goldberg and the elites (who actually detest America and had sold this country out for so long) that the American people finally woke up and put a disrupter in office to reverse the insanity that the progressives had brought upon us in so many forms. Illegal immigration is just one of these perverse progressive gifts to America.
Bill Holland (Freeport, ME)
Wow! Tell that to the owners of meatpacking facilities, apple and vegetable growers, and dairy farmers.
JS (Boston)
The next step will be to shoot them, men women and children, at the border. Oh wait, we already started that a couple of weeks ago. Well then the next step is to arrest US citizens by accident when they can't produce documents of citizenship. Oh wait, we have already done that as well. Perhaps the next step is to "accidentally" deport US citizens because they lack documentation. Yes, we have done that as well. The next step is to have ICE search people's homes without warrants. Haven't heard of that one yet but I am sure it is only a matter of time. Perhaps we can also imprison family members who are legal residents, wives and adult children, for sheltering undocumented family members, like parents and spouses. I am sure we can ramp up our ruthlessness and cruelty to match that of autocrats around the world. And for those who say we can't take in the poor and desperate from around the world I agree. We should never have let in those Papist Irish who were trying to escape the famine. They just ruined our perfect white protestant America. If want to know how rightfully outraged the real Americans were about the Irish migrants just read a little history and look at some cartoons from that era. Lets make America great again! No Irish need apply here.
Roswell DeLorean (El Paso TX)
Cogent arguments on both sides. Consider:. Were the Irish fleeing famine “economic opportunists”? Does it matter? Charles Bukowski said it best: “The trouble with these people is that their cities have never been bombed and their mothers have never been told to shut up.” There but for fortune go you or I.
Maureen (New York)
First they came for the illegal migrants. They broke the law. Over a million immigrants are admitted to this country every year. If these people want a better life let them obey America’s laws.
CV (London)
Under the first Article of the Nuremburg Laws of 1936, it was illegal to be married to a Jew. If you violated Article 1, you would have been sentenced to hard labour in a camp. Not all laws are good.
Rob (Philadelphia )
Immigration officials ordered to separate children from their families have a moral duty to disobey those orders.
Chris (Texas)
“There are countless horror stories about what’s happening to immigrants under Trump.” As opposed the the finite number of horror stories under the previous administration?
Colin (Virginia)
The author makes a great case for why we need much tighter security (maybe even a wall) along our southern border. I'm pro-immigrant, but even I recognized that illegal immigration is a tragedy/danger for all involved. (1) We need to reform our immigration laws to make it easier to immigrate legally. (2) We need to figure out what to do about the millions of illegals in the United States currently (citizenship or deportation or a combination depending on circumstances). (3) We need to build a wall (literally or figuratively) along our southern border. The problem is that Democrats agree with #1. (Republicans oppose it.) Republicans agree with #3 . (Democrats oppose it.) And #2 is an incredibly complex question. Therefore, the U.S. will do nothing! Sigh....
Laura Mc (Oakland, Ca)
This column chills me to the bone. As a lesbian, I have only recently been granted full citizenship rights (the rights that come with marriage). I didn’t think those could be taken away again, but lately I’m not so sure. I fear that someday my wife and I will be asylum-seekers in a safer country. To those commenters who say (or imply) that it’s okay to treat migrants inhumanely because « we can’t accept all these people » or « we just don’t have room » in here, I have a couple of questions. What if we lined up migrants without papers and shot them? Would that be justified because we don’t want *those people* here? Where do you draw the line on cruelty? What if something happened in Europe or Australia that flooded the US with white migrants who speak English? Would we have room for *those people* in our country? Is your objection to the number of people or the color of their skin? My Jewish grandparents were refugees, fleeing pogroms in Ukraine. My Irish ancestors were economic migrants who left behind starvation and servitude in hopes of a better life in America. Who am I to deny sanctuary and hope to another? Who are you?
Cindi T (Plymouth MI)
So very well said, Laura. Thank you.
Sergei Pontoise (Albuquerque, NM)
Telling detainees who are parents to go have their photos taken as a ruse to snatch their children is a just a few ticks away on the continuum from telling prisoners in Europe in the mid-20th century to take a shower. Increasingly, I don't understand or recognize my country anymore.
s einstein (Jerusalem)
There surely are enough experts in the USA to testify based upon empirical results, as well as accepted theories of human behavior, whether current policies re "illegals" in the USA are resulting in types, levels and qualities of experienced "terror" and then to apply current laws against terrorism and terrorists against those implementing these actions."We simply follow the orders...," in a daily culture which enables lack of personal accountability for both words and deeds, whatever their temporary, more permanent, immediate as well as long term implications and outcomes ican not be acceptable in a democracy!
Tim (CT)
On May 25th, Michelle an piece on why we need to adopt Swedish practices to have more American babies. The potential backlash for treating immigrants decently wasn't as important as more "American" babies. From her May 25th article: "But if a shrinking number of workers must support a growing elderly population, even our threadbare social safety net will be strained. An obvious solution is increased immigration, but declining native-born populations tend to react to large influxes of immigrants with terrifying xenophobic backlashes." Nothing about fighting the Xenophobes. Nothing about immigration reform, just policies that would make it so our society didn't need them. Ugly
ann (Seattle)
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions decreed that most people fleeing domestic abuse ... would no longer be eligible for asylum.” Domestic abuse is rampant in the machismo cultures of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. If the U.S. offered asylum to every woman who claimed to have been the victim of domestic abuse, it would be tantamount to having “open borders”. While we cannot possibly accept every Mexican and Central American who claims to be fleeing domestic abuse, we could strongly suggest to the major religious groups, in these countries, that they commit to changing the cultures’ tolerance for domestic abuse.
Ellen Q (Boston)
So sad, so shameful. There has got to be a better way to deal with the immigration issues. I don’t expect this administration to solve it. Nor do I expect the Congress of inertia to do anything either.
Teg Laer (USA)
There are no words to describe my outrage at this contemptible policy- a policy that deliberately terrorizes children. Children! How can we let this go on?
ALF (Philadelphia)
We simply follow orders- where have we heard that before???? I fear we may be starting down a similar authoritarian road in this country without thinking about what that means for the lesser among us, or the different, or........ us.
Jeff Atkinson (Gainesville, GA)
This gives new meaning to the bluster, "Make America Great Again." The soul of America, to the extent it ever existed as anything other than tribal myth, is dead. And unmourned.
Down62 (Iowa City, Iowa)
Well, if there's a nail in the coffin of Ms. Goldberg's argument that fascism has arrived, it's this: when Senator Merkley asked detention workers how they felt about separating kids from parents, an answer was "we simply follow the orders from above."
sam (ma)
So what's the option? Letting into our country anyone who can cross our border on two feet? Oh wait, that's what we have already been doing for the past several decades. Time to start enforcing our laws for a change.
I want another option (America)
What part of Illegal don't you understand? If you don't like our immigration laws, then by all means work to change them. But I have zero sympathy for people who can't be bothered to follow our immigration process and then get upset when it doesn't work out they they had hoped.
smvisa (Montreal, Canada)
You have called the new policy of ripping babies and children from their parents arms foremost what it is- evil. The richest, most powerful nation on earth has lost its moral compass. And innocents are paying an incalculable price. But wait! That's someone else's problem. Let's go shopping!
Please cover this every day. People need to know what's going on. I am not saying we can allow people to flow in here with no controls. I am saying that punishing children for their parent's desperate acts is cruel and un-American. We can do better. Please tell us where children are being held so we can protest and embarass the people who voted for this disgusting "president" and his "administration". As we know, Trump is un-shamable, as is Sessions, Kelly, et al. But some Trump voters can be shamed and are decent people who would not turn their backs on the needy. They need to see this, and Fox news won't cover it.
scott k. (secaucus, nj)
“We simply follow the orders from above.” Seems to me that I've heard that line before. Wasn't it Eichmann at the Nuremberg trials?
CV Danes (Upstate NY)
The stripping of children from their parents may be a "moral enormity" and an atrocity, but it is an atrocity that 87% of Republicans willfully approve.
Gary Taustine (NYC)
As Ms. Goldberg was fair enough to point out, deportations of illegal immigrants did not begin with the Trump administration. Fundamentally, the only thing that’s changed is the media’s reaction. President Obama deported millions but he was never called a bigot, his actions were not compared to those of the Nazis, and journalists didn’t highlight heartbreaking stories of exile on a daily basis. Deportations *are* cruel, there’s no way around it, but offering citizenship to everyone who makes it across the border is unrealistic and unsustainable. The only answer is to make lives better around the world using economic aid, technology, science, and commerce, and despite our many flaws, Americans continue to be the most generous and innovative contributors by far. There is nothing shameful about enforcing our laws, and those who do so should not be portrayed as the Gestapo.
Anne Glasgow (Gainesville, Florida)
First, let's stop using the word "detained" as if these people were merely being stopped for a moment before being released. No, these human beings, men, women and children are being arrested, imprisoned, locked up. They are being tortured. Their crime is that they aspired to a better life. Worse, they are guilt of believing in an America that was, but is now drowning in fear, hatred and self-deception. For the crime of believing they can do better, their families are broken apart, sobbing babies are literally torn from their mother's arms. This nation used to believe that punishment should fit the crime. No longer. Punishment is determined not by your character nor what you did, but by the darkness of your skin. Those who will stand up for justice in these dark days will someday be lauded as heroes. Those, like Trump and Sessions, who seek out ever more imaginative ways to punish the meek and the weak will be remembered as what the are, vile cowards and traitors against the American ideal.
John McEllen (Savannah,GA)
We follow orders from above" The same excuse was used in Germany by those in charge . Bad orders do not have to be followed.
Mike Wilson (Lawrenceville, NJ)
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Are any of us Christians? If so, they don’t seem to be influencing any decisions at the moment.
Mana (Philadelphia)
I strongly believe that it is time to stop talking about it, put down our work, turn off the news and march on the capital to protest the cruel and brutal treatment of immigrants and especially their children. We are all complicit if we do nothing!
William Case (United States)
Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not says that domestic abuse victims “will no longer qualify for asylum” as Michelle Goldberg asserts. He said that under U.S. law, domestic abuse victim have never qualified for asylum. To be eligible for asylum in the United States, applicants must prove that they are persecuted in their home countries due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group. Domestic abuse victims don’t fit the criteria. Rather than criticize the attorney general, people who think domestic abuse victims should be granted asylum should petition Congress to amend the asylum law. However, adding domestic abuse victims to the criterial would entitled billions to asylum in the United States. The petitioners should explain how the United Sates is to handle the population growth.
Lucy Taylor (New Jersey)
Children are routinely separated from American parents who go to jail - why no cries of injustice for that?
Steve Fankuchen (Oakland, CA)
Michelle Goldberg reminds me a lot of Donald Trump: both appear to say stuff just to get attention, often substituting anecdote for reasoned policy, and using dubiously relevant inflammatory language. But, hey, as long as people continue to buy snake oil (or guns or drugs, or anything for that matter), there will be people there to sell it.
Carla (Ithaca NY)
This is terrifying to watch as an American.
Barbara (Houston)
These people and their children should be sent back together immediately. Make the penalties more and more severe until the hordes stop invading because an invasion it is. It's getting crowded here.
Ulysses (PA)
Where's our humanity? Where are all the Evangelicals who stand by Trump solely because he's against abortion? They overlook his many, many indiscretions just because he's "Pro-Life" (or claims to be in order to get and keep their support) but turn their backs on these people? How can you be "Pro-Life" but not care about the lives of these poor people and all the less fortunate members of our society? This doesn't follow the teachings of Our Lord. Christians everywhere should be outraged by how these people (many are children) are being treated, and they should be furious with Trump. As far as what Mr/Ms Schrodinger wrote about Ms Goldberg needing an immigrant to sweep her own floors, that's racist. You're dealing in stereotypes, and unless I'm mistaken less than a full deck.
David Potenziani (Durham, NC)
This is no longer my country. I do not recognize it. Our pro-family leaders hates brown families. Our pro-working class leaders will continue jailing working class drug offenders rather than treat them as patients in need of care. Our summit-lounging leaders do the bidding of our adversaries and destroy alliances with our allies. Our political leaders personally profit from official actions in ways large and small. This is not the America I remember. It’s like we have amnesia to our national follies and pain. We allowed millions of American citizens to languish on their island home without power and clean water—with literally uncounted thousands dying as a result. We are turning away from regulating the very banks that caused the crash in 2008, making a future catastrophe inevitable. We fret over sound-proof booths but are blind to the trashing of the planet. We turn over our elections to the highest bidder and gerrymander the franchise to advantage white people. We have made casual racism, misogyny, and fascist ideas acceptable. Now, we literally rend families apart and terrify babies. Why? To teach them a lesson. What have we become?
Then they came for the tax evaders, the labor scabs, the ID thieves, the human and drug traffickers, the gang members, . Illegal migration feeds all these associated crimes and civil degradations. Willfully negligent, selective law enforcement motivated by greed and politics has empowered mass lawless opportunism. How can a country even be a country let alone one that acts in the best interest of its people if whole groups are exempt from its laws because of political advantage? The definition of social injustice. No one is above the law.
Dan (NY)
Sessions is the quintessential inhumane bureaucrat - with every awful decision justified by pedantic selective moralizing. I only hope his cruelty can serve as a call for the rest of us to oppose it with compassionate action.
Margo Channing (NYC)
My sympathy is starting to wane. These are people who knowingly break our laws. The recent example of the pizza delivery person in NY is a perfect example. He was told explicitly by a judge to leave the country nearly 10 YEARS AGO, did he comply? No. He defied orders and now his public defender who we are paying for is fighting to keep him here. We are not the nations innkeeper, why don't the migrants go to countries where it's cheaper to live and the language is the same? It is not up to the United States to take in everyone who claims they are being politically persecuted. The Dems better realize that by fighting for the rights of illegals over its own citizens didn't work out for them last presidential election cycle.
Mikeweb (NY, NY)
He's married to an American citizen. Separating children from parents, separating married couples... seems to me that any sympathy is already long gone.
Enough Already (USA)
His kids and his wife can go live in Ecuador. He had no right to ignore our laws.
Rob (Philadelphia )
Reading stories like this makes me understand why people want to believe that the wicked will be physically punished in the afterlife. The immigration officials who separate children from the families are committing evil deeds that cry out for retribution.
Margo Channing (NYC)
You know how to solve the separation of children and parents? Send them back as a unit. What part of breaking the law don't you get? The parents are to blame for knowingly breaking our laws then trying to garner sympathy. Why have laws if they aren't being adhered to? Why are exceptions being made for certain groups? We have borders for a reason as well. These illegals come to one of the most expensive countries to live why don't they go where at least the language and cultures are the same?
The hallmark of every repressive regime is a disregard for truth or to put it another way, a twisting of facts. While Trump is the master of misdirection and even outright lies, the troubling trend is the willingness of the Left to play fast and loose with the truth to stir up outrage. Let's start with the young Mexican man deported from Iowa. He was a DACA recipient who lost that status after repeated misdemeanors. Apparently this wasn't a wake up call for him, and he then put his own life and the lives of others in danger by driving under the influence, for which he was arrested. At that point rather than face deportation, he opted for voluntary removal (which has certain legal advantages should he try to legally return to the US). Tragically he and another acquaintance were killed in Mexico. Now let's think about this critically for a moment. If ICE knew or should have known that going to any Mexican town was a death sentence, the only logical conclusion is because murderous thugs are the norm among the Mexican populace, in which case, build the wall! Militarize the border! On the other hand, if most Mexicans are normal decent folk trying to live their lives, and there's a small subset of violent cartel members among them, then this is nothing more than a tragic but unpredictable event that could have just as easily happened in LA or Houston. If we want to combat Trump, it starts by returning to facts and leaving the hysterical propaganda to the wannabe dictator.
Steve Fankuchen (Oakland, CA)
Michelle Goldberg reminds me a lot of Donald Trump: both appear to say stuff just to get attention, often substituting anecdote for reasoned policy, and using dubiously relevant inflammatory language. But, hey, as long as people continue to buy snake oil (or guns or drugs, or anything for that matter), there will be people there to sell it.
gw (usa)
A recent Michelle Goldberg column bemoaned the fact that American women are having fewer children. The comment section erupted with one-third to one-half reminding her that over-population is this planet's biggest problem, and if women of the country that is the top consumer of resources cut back on child-bearing, that's a GOOD thing. Apparently Ms. Goldberg did not read the comment section, as once again she must be reminded of population issues. Entry level jobs of the past are disappearing due to foreign outsourcing and automation. We don't have adequate health care and education resources for our citizens as it is. Even if immigrants manage to succeed here, more people adopting the wasteful and unsustainable American lifestyle only worsens climate change, over-development, pollution and natural resource depletion. Please, Ms. Goldberg, make your next column on issues of over-population. In this day and age it is impossible to imagine how a NYTimes columnist can ignore such an extremely critical topic and promote the grossly outdated fantasy that we can continue without limitations.
Bruce Stasiuk (New York)
Right now this all looks like the words of an alarmist. But someday, people might be asking why didn't you warn us sooner. can happen here.
Peak Oiler (Richmond, VA)
Separating children and parents has a dark history, from the era of slavery. We rant in these comments, but citizens will not do more until their own families suffer. We cannot stop this would-be dictator without a new Congress. Let’s get busy.
Aurace Rengifo (Miami Beach, Fl)
"There is no reason to believe that undocumented immigrants will be the last group of people deemed beyond the law’s protection." Is not hard to foresee where this is going. Immigrants with visas will follow and then, citizens not born in US territory. After that, Muslims, LGTB... brown or darker color persons... with the help of the Supreme Court and a GOP Congress.
SalinasPhil (CA)
Who can be proud to be an American after reading this story? Donald Trump makes having pride in America impossible.
Jarek Haftek (Eden Prairie, MN)
“These kids are being used as pawns to persuade parents to give up their asylum claims and to warn others against coming to America” Could it be other way as well - someone using a child to gain access? Haven’t you heard about children being used for a material gain, have you?
mary (connecticut)
The word Humanity no longer refers to a human being. Humanity has been reduced to faceless a set of laws. Crimes against Humanity.
JCAZ (Arizona)
I hope that Canada is ready to accept more refugees. Only this time, it will be Americans.
Nycoolbreez (Huntington)
I’m very sorry this young man was murdered. And, I am very sorry his parents brought him to the United States. We know many of these purely economic refugees live a hard and miserable life. What you don’t explain is why illegal border crossing is acceptable. What you don’t explain is why staying in a country without a legal right to do so is acceptable. Why is that OK?
Cindi T (Plymouth MI)
The words on the Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
CV (London)
The moral enormity of yanking children away from their parents is in no way equivalent to illegal boarder crossing, which, by the way, many of these people aren't doing. You say these people are 'purely economic refugees' as a way to dehumanise them further, as if economic refugees aren't deserving of their children and their families in the way refugees from violence are. The cruelty the US is visiting on migrants from the South is beyond the pale. Sure, illegal immigration is a problem, but there are humane policies to mitigate it. If you shoplifted, I wouldn't advocate for you son or daughter to be shipped off to foster care in Wyoming just because you nicked an ice cream sandwich.
James K. Lowden (Maine)
It's not a question of acceptance. It's a question of denial. That people are coming here illegally is a fact. The question is, how do we deal with that? What do we do about it? One way is for a judge to hear each case, and treat people as innocent until proven guilty: let them free on their own recognizance until their case is decided. We might also admit our role in the violence they're fleeing, by buying the drugs that fund that violence. Perhaps we could do more to stabilize those countries and bring them a measure of domestic security. It's a safe bet, for example, that Nafta is responsible for the net out-migration of Mexicans in the last 10 years. Trump's way is authoritarian and punitive. Treat everyone as criminals use legal cruelty to discourage others. He's denying our role, denying their fear, denying them their rights under our law and international law. Until exposed in the press, he even denied the policy. Tell me: if you institute a policy that results in needless avoidable death, why is that acceptable? Why isn't it negligent homocide?
Commoner (By the Wayside)
The best thing to do, whether a citizen, foreign tourist or migrant living or entering the 'land of the free' is to avoid law enforcement at all costs. Being law-abiding, honest and truthful will not spare you from the indignities visited upon you once you are in their clutches. They are scary, with their bullet-headed, armored, muscle-bound appearance. It was not always so and whites obviously get a pass if they look a certain way, but make no mistake, the law-and-order hysteria that began after the sixty's upheavals has led to a police state and a cowed populace. That goes hand in hand with what another commenter called a plantation economy. Incarceration and subsequent lack of opportunity, demonization of undocumented workers, impunity for their employers and the failure of unions have all benefited the well-off. The massive tax cuts for them is icing on the cake to go with another twist of the boot on all of our necks.
RND (Queens, NY)
Here’s the other side of the argument: showing up with a child in your arms is not going to help you get into the US illegally. Nor is showing up with a pizza going to shield you from being deported if you are here illegally in the first place, as a man did this week when he delivered a pizza to an army base. Working hard, raising a family, and paying tax are not mitigating factors when you get caught. This is hard for people on the left to swallow, but our porous border and the presence of untold numbers of illegal aliens in our country is a problem Americans of all political stripes want solved. And sound immigration policy is as much about who does not get in, and who gets sent away, as it is about who we let immigrate. I’m not a Trump voter but I promise you new ones are spawned every time the word ‘sanctuary city’ is in the news, or every time it’s suggested that illegal aliens are being unfairly targeted for deportation.
Warren (California)
Thank you for shining a light in this very dark corner. You have been circumspect. I am 70: my generation grew to maturity in the shadow of Nuremberg. We were so smug—we knew there was a nobility in the American Character guaranteeing we would never abuse others under the color of law. Justice Robert Jackson told us so. Justice Jackson left our world 64 years ago—-Jeff Sessions was eight when the Honorable Justice died. I know nothing of the arc of Jeff Sessions’ development but am certain that Robert Jackson would be appalled by the behavior of Session’s security officers at our border—- no civilized human being takes a very young child and tells her she will never see that child again. Personnel firings should begin within the week—- managers set the tone for law enforcement agencies. Have Congress figure out who set so harsh a tone and fire them in the most public way possible. Donald Trump forces his way into this dialogue. We know how speaks of and thinks about Hispanic people. In some way this blatantly racist conduct began at the top of our government. I have the strongest hope that the New York Times will dedicate a reporting staff to this issue and keep them on task until there is no abusive behavior to report. Again, thank you for speaking up.
Marie Burns (Fort Myers, Florida)
As someone who has felt like Chicken Little over these many months of the Trumpocalypse, it is heartening to read columnists like you & Paul Krugman standing up, without couching criticisms in equivocal niceties, to the Trump administration. Keep it up, Ms. Goldberg. As many on the right like to say, "I want my country back." But I want it back better, I want it back to the one that Emma Lazarus envisioned, one that welcomes those whose potential it is to make us better culturally, morally & economically. To that end, today is primary day in Virginia, Nevada, Maine, North Dakota, and South Carolina. Vote for Democrats. No matter how awful your local Democratic candidate, s/he can't be worse than Republicans who are enabling the status quo.
Shirley (San Francisco)
It is beneath the dignity of the United States to use children as pawns to enforce its immigration policy. These articles about family separation are heartbreaking. The rotting mean spirit of this country took over when Trump was elected. How much longer must we endure the spread of this rot?
Paul M (Canberra, Australia)
We're all in this sorry state of affairs. Australia has also started separating children from parents seeking refuge here. And Europe is trying to find ways to 'turn back the boats', a 4-word political slogan they learned from ..... Australia.
Carol (Somewhere on the Sassafras)
My government makes me heartsick.
Mrs.B (Medway MA)
Well, at least we aren’t constructing large “shower rooms”. Yet.
ACJ (Chicago)
These descriptions resemble to closely the same stories my Dad told me when he liberated concentration camps during WW II. Even if you agree with the immigration laws, how can we as an advanced democratic nation, allow women and children to be treated like animals--Shame on us, as a nation, for this march into inhumanity.
Carole G (NYC)
If only we could get the GOP interested in family values.
LT (Chicago)
“The little kids are literally being terrorized.” “Many of them were told by Border Patrol that they would never see their children again,” “We simply follow the orders from above.” I think we can safely retire unironic uses of the phrase "American Exceptionalism".
Mark (Rocky River, Ohio)
My late father lived through WWI and the depression and WWII. He served in the U.S from 1939-44. His extended paternal family was murdered in Poland in the Holocaust. He left me with this admonition: "Nobody ever thinks anything horrible will happen in their lifetime. Then it does." I know this. History may not repeat, but it sure does rhyme.
SarahB (Cambridge, MA)
There are terrible stories from America's past from slavery, the Trail of Tears, the Japanese internment camps, Jim Crow laws and all of these happened before I was born and I when I learned of these I always wondered what I could have done had I been alive. I am alive now and doing everything I know to stop this, but it seems that the rest of the country is mostly shrugging their shoulders. The news continues to mainly cover the tweet or rude comment of the day. I wonder how can this be happening and so many are so indifferent? I always imagined that when this day came Americans would stand up for the rule of law and American values, but apparently not.
Margo (Atlanta)
Where is the condemnation for the foreign governments which receive US aid and ignore their own people? It is much better to address the cause of the issue, it's more effective and less costly in time and effort.
Mikeweb (NY, NY)
The flow of money that Americans use to buy the illegal drugs from these countries far outweighs the aid they receive from our government.
Tuco (Surfside, FL)
Migrant - what an innocuous sounding description of an individual who has broken the law. It is possible to LEGALLY become a resident of the US. About one million do it yearly. Yes it is complicated, costly, and time consuming but quite common. Progressives stand alone in advocating illegal immigration and it will cost them dearly in National elections.
Mikeweb (NY, NY)
Please re-read the op-ed piece (and any of the dozens of journalistic pieces on this topic). They are applying for asylum at the border which is their right under our laws, not trying to sneak in illegally.
Vickie Hodge (Wisconsin)
Yes. The word "migrant" is an innocuous sounding word. I am surprised that someone who can use the adjective "innocuous" doesn't know the actual meaning of the word migrant. According to Merriam Webster's Dictionary this is the definition: "a: a person who moves regularly in order to find work especially in harvesting crops." I think you meant to use the word immigrant. Again though that would be incorrect. As per Merriam Webster: "a : a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence." One would need to include the adjective "illegal" to the word immigrant to capture your meaning. There again it would be incorrect as people cannot be legal or illegal. But, they can be "undocumented." Anti-immigration advocates are always hollering about foreigners needing to speak English. Too bad Americans don't do so well at it either. As for Progressives advocating illegal immigration you are wrong. What we advocate is the humane treatment of undocumented immigrants. Something conservatives will regret advocating for in the next election. But, at any rate, the subjects of this opinion piece are ASYLUM seeker. What they are doing is exactly how it is supposed to work. Come to the US and request asylum. Then the long arduous process begins to potentially being granted an immigration status that allows them to remain in the US. Is that clearer for you now?
Diane (Philly)
No, no, no. That is not the point of this column. No one is saying we should have open borders and just let anyone in. But this is talking about separating families from one another, including small children. This tactic is being used to try to keep families from coming the U.S. and if you are some kind of monster who doesn't mind terrorizing children in order to do that, then I guess you would see that as a perfectly fine thing to do. You know, family values and all.
Gerard (PA)
At what stage will the government cease to be legitimate? For instance, what if the border patrol were ordered to shoot on sight as a further deterrent?
Liz (nyc)
A young migrant Guatemalan woman, Claudia Patricia Gomez, was shot in the head and killed by an (unnamed) border patrol agent last month. There will be no consequences for her killer, shielded and protected by our government. We are already there.
JoeG (Houston)
This wave of anti immigration is not reserved to the USA. It's wrong to characterize all immigrants as criminals but is it a fact higher crime rates comes with poorer immigrants? People fear crime when it affects them. When it doesn't they go about thinking it's not a problem. A year ago Obama's arrest, detention and deportation numbers were higher than Trumps. Obama didn't brag about those numbers nor did his party, partly not to alienate some of his voters, mostly his belief the record should speak for itself. Does not worring. about details when your party is charge make things better? What about blaming Trump? Are illegal immigrants suffering more under Trump than Obama? Believe it if you want. Sessions says if they don't want to suffer they should stay home. Cruel but it's still worth coming here.
Brent Hopkins (Pennsylvania)
2015 National Academy of Sciences study found: "Immigrants are in fact much less likely to commit crime than natives, and the presence of large numbers of immigrants seems to lower crime rates." Facts are your friends
JoeG (Houston)
@ BH I didn't realize the NAS were crime experts. Why didn't you refer to the FBI? If I'm to believe statistics or facts as you call them why shouldn't I believe the Arizona State Police stats? Statistics to often have an agenda and are not always factual.
Saywhat (NJ)
Of course, this is unbounded cruelty, We should allow anyone to be here who can get here. What's another half billion, a billion or two, if coming here means their suffering will end?
Texas1836 (Texas)
I suppose your house has no doors and you allow anyone to live there if can reach it? This emotional appeal for unmitigated migration is insane. What kind of person would support importing a billion foreigners in a country of 300 million?
Rich D (Tucson, AZ)
Thank God you wrote this piece and it was published by The Times, Ms. Goldberg. And it is the story that does not get nearly enough coverage in the media. America is becoming a monstrous country under Trump. We are committing heinous acts against some of the most vulnerable people in the world. And we are attacking innocent children. The United States should be condemned by all civilized countries in the world for this practice, the United Nations and Amnesty International. The horror of this practice cannot be overstated. And you are absolutely correct with your accurate historical context. Who is next?
Neildsmith (Kansas City)
A good number of americans have decided that migrants are not innocent victims... that they are, as trump announced with his candidacy, criminals no different from the petty thief, drunk driver, or worse. I don't agree, but I must give a decent respect to the views of my fellow citizens who responded to trumps assertion by electing him president. American citizens have a right to decide what it means to be an american citizen. Every day we see the foundations of our own country crack and crumble under the weight of trump. We watch other countries like syria, iraq, and Honduruas disintegrate into violence and chaos due to their own societal character flaws. Why, then, is it a good idea to import more of that to our already dysfunctional country? It's a legitimate question and one that left leaning people (like me for example) have failed to answer to anyone's satisfaction.
Margo (Atlanta)
I think the courts make those decisions, too.
Brent Hopkins (Pennsylvania)
Those that flee a crumbling society are more often then not the ones who recognize the rot and deplore the violence and chaos. If they weren't brown-skinned they would be welcomed as being "just like us"
Diane (Philly)
Kinda funny that you mention Iraq's "own societal character flaws" if we didn't have anything at all to do with that!
Paul (DC)
To punctuate Ms. Goldbergs piece here is the absolute best rendition of the poem. It is done in musical form by NOFX. Just remember, the last line, "when there was no one left they came for us". Have a great day in the kakistocrisy.
Rick Gage (Mt Dora)
Today I read an interesting article in the times that reported that the state of Ohio purges you from the voter roles if you don't vote in one election cycle and don't respond to a follow up letter. That's it. You're done. You wont know that you have been purged until you go to the polls to vote and are denied your constitutional right to cast a ballot. All to take care of the non-existent problem of voter fraud. The same applies here. Our country doesn't have an immigration problem. More Mexicans are leaving then arriving. The Federal Reserve considers us at full employment. No one is taking away all the good pizza delivery jobs from American workers, employers can't find Americans who want to be pizza delivery guys, or fruit harvesters or work in meat rendering plants or do menial and degrading work. We're all exceptional, remember? This sort of cruelty shouldn't never be allowed, but to do it now, when the economics don't warrant it, shows that our leaders aren't "sad", as our vocabulary deprived president would say, they're sadists.
JB (Weston CT)
A simple question for Ms. Goldberg: What do you think the United States should do to stop the illegal entry into the country by those who possess no English language skills and a grade school education? Assuming, of course, that you think the government should attempt to stop these illegal entries.
SarahB (Cambridge, MA)
People should be treated with dignity and respect. Families belong together. Every person is entitled to have their asylum case adjudicated fairly.
Vickie Hodge (Wisconsin)
I got this one, Michelle.The asylum seekers are not entering the country illegally. They are doing what asylum seekers are allowed to do. Now, if you are talking about UNDOCUMENTED immigrants who enter this country, thereby committing a crime, you need to remember a couple of things (they are useful when thinking about asylum seekers too). 1. Unless you or your ancestors came from the British Isles, your first language wasn't English upon arrival. There is no requirement to speak English to enter this country under any status or condition. 2. Depending upon when you or your ancestors arrived in the US you/they may have had little or NO education at all. That is still true today. It is also true for First Nation peoples when we white folks began colonizing this land. They didn't attend school as we knew/know it. And they sure as heck didn't speak English either!!!! I am always amazed when conservatives start spouting about undocumented immigrants. Conservatives have prevented immigration reform for decades because they refuse to compromise. Governing is not supposed to by a "my way or the highway" activity. Perhaps conservatives will need to vote for democrats if they want to see anything done about immigration. In case you haven't noticed, conservatives aren't delivering on that one. And they never will.
Diane (Philly)
How about asking the business owners who employ them to take responsibility or pay hefty fines for hiring them? Or how about helping those other countries improve their standards of living so that the U.S. doesn't look so attractive. Oh, wait, maybe that's the whole purpose of the Donald's presidency and the secret way he is going to eliminate immigration. Or maybe just don't take little kids away from their parents. What a cruel tactic to try to reduce illegal immigration!
William (USA)
And so it starts ... If you seek to send a message that includes terrifying young children, you are at the bottom of the moral, political ladder. There are so many other effective ways to send messages. Can this be happening in America - terrifying young children? Vote Democrat or Independent or Martian in November - anything but Republican.
Lou Nelms (Mason City, IL)
Red lines at the borders. Red lines overseas. All for national security. While internally, red lines are being smeared and erased by the eradication of our protections against toxic trespass in the water and in the air. And by the series of encroachments on our rights to know. So much for homeland security. Michelle, they have already come for us. Where can we escape these assaults on the commonwealth? Where can we appeal this taking of the common good? Who will want to live here when they are done making America great again?
BSR (Bronx)
I hope everyone reads Timothy Snyder's book, On Tyranny. It is such an important book. If you think you are awake already, you will find out even more important facts about what to watch out for with Trump as president.
Susan (Camden NC)
This policy from the man who believes a woman should not have an abortion because of the sanctity of life. I hope there is some polling done of Trump's evangelical supporters. If they support this then we know for sure how Christian they are. What would Jesus do?
JamesHK (philadelphia)
In 2005, a left-leaning blogger wrote, “Illegal immigration wreaks havoc economically, socially, and culturally; makes a mockery of the rule of law; and is disgraceful just on basic fairness grounds alone.” In 2006, a liberal columnist wrote that “immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants” and that “the fiscal burden of low-wage immigrants is also pretty clear.” His conclusion: “We’ll need to reduce the inflow of low-skill immigrants.” That same year, a Democratic senator wrote, “When I see Mexican flags waved at proimmigration demonstrations, I sometimes feel a flush of patriotic resentment. When I’m forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration.” The blogger was Glenn Greenwald. The columnist was Paul Krugman. The senator was Barack Obama.
Brent Hopkins (Pennsylvania)
Obama goes on to argue against following those feelings as some people do, to justify denial of "rights and opportunities" to immigrants who want to become Americans. Don't take things out of context when you are making an argument, because in the age of the internet it can trip you up and negate your point.
Vickie Hodge (Wisconsin)
Just goes to show that people live and learn throughout life. Well, most of us do anyway. There seems to be a large minority of voters who refuse to learn anything. Including the common human decency of not ripping babies out of a mothers' arms.
Fred Weidenhammer (The Bronx)
I see in today’s Times scores of undocumented workers at a meat packing plant were rounded up by ICE in Tennessee. What is happening to the plant owners? Is it legal to hire the undocumented? America’s immigration policy is hypocritical and immoral. For years this country’s elites countenanced illegal immigration with a wink and a nod. It served their purposes; it kept wages depressed for American workers, weakened unions, kept their estates manicured, and made them big profits in the food business. Now that extreme inequality is the norm, and the middle class destroyed, it is time for fascism. A scapegoat is needed. Human decency is no match for the authoritarian impulse. About four out of ten people seem to prefer a strongman, a Big Daddy, to do their thinking for them. It can happen here, it is happening right now.
Ben Smith (Washington)
How is that relevant. This is not about employment. It's about coming to the country without getting the required permission to do so. It most definitely legal to hire a undocumented alien if you do not know they are not documented and employers are not required to get that information. But even if your premise was correct then the reaction to that should be to enforce the law against them as well. We have laws concerning immigration. Those laws should be followed. What should have happen to those people at the meat packing plant. Should the government ignore the fact those people were breaking the law. They should not. Even Obama enforced the law. Was he a Big Daddy.
Diane (Philly)
Fred, you are absolutely right. I've been saying this for a while now. If they were serious about illegal immigration, they would fine the employers for hiring undocumented workers. We all know why that doesn't happen so instead, let's terrorize children and families to discourage them from coming. How's that for family values?
Terry McKenna (Dover, N.J.)
Not only the elites. Middle class folks would hire men to cut their laws, or landscape their property too. And fast food restaurants would be full of cooks who couldn't speak a works of English. Illegals? Probably. Many are complicit.
AS (New York)
In our daily lives we interact with migrants every day. Employers don't want to pay much. I don't see much demographic difference or linguistic difference between Tijuana, Rosarito or Pomona or Bakersfield. I have dealt first hand with the misery and insane overpopulation in Honduras. An open border solves nothing because many are left behind and only the more wealthy and physically fit can make the trip. How is that fair? But even an open border with no immigration restriction represents a proposal to solve the problem so an outline of such a proposal by the Times would make sense and at least initiate a reasonable discussion. If we are to value the welfare of Mexicans and Central Americans as much as Mexicans, blacks and whites north of the border it would be reasonable to simply annex these countries as they are failed states. As long as they have an exit valve in the US nothing will change. Bad as the US may be under Trump it is not as bad or corrupt as the states to our south who who hold our demographic future. As the Times has pointed out the millenials are not having kids because of the poor economic prospects for a middle class life in the US so we need an influx of people who have many children and are happy to live on neoliberal wages. It would be nice to read an editorial proposing solutions rather than one more tear jerker.
Qwisatz Haderach (Sea island Ga)
One of those kids could be the next Steve Jobs....
A Nobody (Nowhere)
“I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history here. The poem that you’re referring to you was added later. It is not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty.” - Stephen Miller But it IS, actually, part of the Statue of Liberty. It's right on a plaque affixed to the inner wall of the statue’s pedestal. Anyone can go look at it. It is there. It is real. Just like the Bill of Rights - which was added to the Constitution - is real. But this hideous nonsense and vicious cruelty is what we get when truth is distorted and policy is guided by someone like Stephen Miller. He is a weasel. Which is why he is utterly invisible right now. He should go to an ICE detention center and give his history lecture to a group of 4 year olds who've been stolen from their parents. Look them in the eye. Hold their trembling hands. This is not America.
Tom (Washington, DC)
America is a unique country in that there are two ways to change the law: by passing a bill through both houses of Congress and having it signed by the president, or by affixing a poem to a statue. It's what makes us great.
Chris Walker (Deep South)
Like Bush choosing Guantanamo without the full legal picture, this could backfire in the US Supreme Court and cause the executive agents associated much worse problems than if they simply kept families together. Or those executive agents never really want to travel abroad themselves.
drspock (New York)
The real question is where is the Democrat's comprehensive immigration bill? There are 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. Should they register? Do they have a path to citizenship? While DACA and the separation of families appeal to our compassion, at the end of the day those are positions, not policies. It doesn't matter what the GOP is willing to vote for. What matters is what does the Democratic Party stand for? Dianne Feinstein's bill will simply build larger border detention centers to accommodate adults and their children. I'm for a full path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented persons. But I doubt if the Democratic Party is. I believe that we can't insist that US capital and subsidized corn be allowed to destroy Mexican farms and then deny those displaced farmers a chance to work in the US. Similarly, we can't be the number one consumer of Latin American drugs and then turn away the refugees that are fleeing the drug wars that we are helping to support. We should also go back to the policies of pre-1965 when Mexican workers came to the US to work and most returned to their families in Mexico. Border flexibility is the way of the future, but Democrats seem to be as fearful and uncertain about this issue as Republicans are mean-spirited and inflexible.
Peter (NYC)
Liberals want Open Borders but we have no way to pay for it. The Federal Budget is in a serious deficit which will increase. The State fiscal outlooks are horrible because of rising employee pension & benefits squeezing services. Education & health care are very high quality but also very expensive in the US and that is why the illegal immigrants are coming to the US. It is great to be altruistic....but explain to me how we can afford to pay for the education, health care & welfare benefits for the illegal immigrants??
Richard Genz (Asheville NC)
Yes, states (and counties and cities) can go bankrupt. They are users of the US Dollar. Sound finance is essential for them, as it is for households. The US Government, as monopoly issuer of the US Dollar, can always afford to purchase anything offered for sale in dollars, and it can always afford to service its debts. FUNCTIONAL finance, not sound finance, should be the guiding principal of the US Government. In other words, what fiscal policy will achieve our democratically determined goals? Do we want full employment with low inflation? Offer sanctuary and a civilized life for oppressed people? Carbon-free energy? Or simply a small government presiding lightly over a mercantile society? Choices must be made, but at the federal level, "how can we afford it?" is beside the point.
CarolSon (Richmond VA)
"Liberals" want commonsense immigration policies. How about talking to your Republican buddies about how we're paying for education, (non)healthcare, (non) living wages, etc., when they're giving the wealthiest people a tax cut and we have a massive deficit?
Diane Hassinger (Millersburg pa)
This is not a political issue, this is a moral issue. You are either on the right or wrong side on God on this one. Even in World War II Japanese families were not separated when they were rounded up. This country now has an official policy of abusing children, let that sink in!
Jeannie (WCPA)
What are the odds that the empathy challenged people most vocal in their comments about open borders are descendants of immigrants who walked right in once upon a time?
Moira Rogow (San Antonio, TX)
No one 'walked right in'. Read some immigrant histories, they knew they could be turned away for many reasons and were afraid of that. Since the steamship companies had to give them passage back they often didn't pass the companies' inspections. We have laws for a reason. If you don't like the law then work to change it, but this rose colored view of your version of the past is as bad as the maga crowd.
David W Kabel MD (iowa)
Ah, yes. The old "I was only following orders" defense. Where have we heard that before?
silver vibes (Virginia)
“Orders from above” don’t mean from the heavenly Father but from the president. His scorched earth policy against immigrants is meant to terrorize, shock and appall a civilized society but it isn’t working among desperate asylum-seekers from below our southern border. Residents from all those countries are well aware of the hatred this president bears them, yet they still come in droves, hoping to share in the American dream or escape violence back home. The president’s run to power began with slurs about Mexicans and vilifying an American judge who didn’t happen to have an Anglo-Saxon surname and from that point on it was open season on immigrants and foreigners. Ripping toddlers away from their parents and scorning the claims of physical abuse by women is the height of inhumanity. It is ironic that the tyranny and cruelty these migrants are fleeing from in their homelands are what welcomes them at American borders.
Lynda (Gulfport, FL)
The US has room for those we are turning away. In fact, we as an aging country with a low--getting lower--birthrate, desperately need people able and willing to do the jobs undocumented immigrants and refugees from past violence and natural disasters are currently doing. The US has room, has jobs, has capacity for the people of the world who need our help. The US has room for the innovators we are turning away. The US has room for the Dreamers who know only living in the US. The Republican party is selling us lies that the people who seek refuge in the US are too many and need too much. In the meantime programs to assist refugees in communities across the US go unused because of current inhumane and cruel policies put in place by old men working with an old mind set that only certain people deserve entry to the US. US jobs go unfilled because US citizens are too old, too drugged, too unfit or too entitled to do the disgusting hard work of food production and caring for the sick. The voters bought the Republican lies about the importance of the deficits during the recovery from the Bush II recession. We now know about those lies because of the recent Republican tax cut bill for corporations and the 1% ultra wealthy totally ignores deficits just as interest rates are rising and the government debt is more expensive. First they came for the migrants, next the GOP came for Social Security and Medicare with their lies of "No money for the old." Be smart this time.
Concerned Citizen (Anywheresville)
We have a HUGE population of 330 million! we do not need ANY immigrants whatsoever! and we are not running "out of people" -- the birth RATE is slightly down for ONE YEAR and lefties act like this is the plot of "Children of Men" (a society with zero births for 30 years). What do you think causes global warming? pollution? over population? hunger? lack of housing? homelessness? but you want to bring in countless MILLIONS of poor, illiterate unskilled workers? to steal jobs from poor Americans????
Philip Cafaro (Fort Collins Colorado)
Let's be honest: Goldberg and the rest of the Times stable of editorial columnists don't just object to overreach in enforcing US immigration laws. They object to the enforcement of those laws themselves. Most Americans could agree on a humane and generous immigration policy, but too many on the Left will only accept de facto open borders.
Qwisatz Haderach (Sea island Ga)
What law says rip that 1 year old from her mother’s arms?
Obviously we have to control our borders, many just question why a civilized country would need to terrorize young children to exercise this control. A large majority of Americans favor DACA, a rational and civilized plan for a category of illegal immigrants, this administration just uses it as a bargaining chip for severe cuts to all forms of immigration. But the idea that President Obama was an authoritarian because of DACA, and trump is a champion of democracy by just following the law is absurd. The current president has already characterized me (a white, educated, middle class, non-immigrant, female senior citizen) as unAmerican simply because I don't agree with him. That's an authoritarian.
John McDermott (Grand Island, Ne)
This policy of Trump and Sessions separating children and parents at the border is cruel and inhumane. We all need to contact our Senators now, not just sit idly by and wring our hands. This has to stop as an official American policy.
A.L. Grossi (RI)
We don't care. We didn't care about the Native Americans, or the Africans, or the Mexicans, or the Chinese, or the poor Brits shipped from cities early on, or the Irish, or the Italians. We don't care about those we see as different and, as many have pointed out in these comments, those who don't assimilate. Never mind that all groups that have come here have learned English (98% of those born here to immigrant parents), have changed their cuisines to please the American palate, and contribute to the growth and wealth of the country. But we don't care, at present, because they're brown. Given that the birth rate is down in the US, perhaps we'll care that our children will not have social security without many more immigrants coming into the country. It's our choice, a multicultural society, truly multicultural, or the poor house for our children when they're old. Given our government and many comments here in the NYT, I think our xenophobia and egoism will win. God help us.
ADN (New York City)
“I was only following orders.” Does anybody think most Americans know from where that sentence comes? In a country as ahistorical as this one I’m betting that those who know what it means are a minuscule percentage. Ironically, though, the sentence will be heard increasingly often after this regime is “reelected” in 2020. That is to say, when our elections are as farcical as Russia’s. You could call it their battle cry: I was only following orders.
sophia (bangor, maine)
I'm wondering if I can ask for asylum in Canada. Or...if some wonderful Canadian couple might want to adopt a 66 year old orphan who is feeling very frightened living under the rule of Trump. That Charlevoix area sure looks beautiful and so does Mr. Trudeau who politely pushed back and felt the Wrath of Trump fall upon him. If I had money to spare, I'd jump in the car today and head up there today to give a heads up. If Trump continues his authoritarian evils, they will have new immigrants pouring over their border. And Canada, please don't built a wall to keep us out!
pablo (Needham, MA)
I, more and more, wish I's moved there in 1968, instead I flunked the draft physical and stayed in the States.
Pete (NY)
Your senator is a Republican, isn't she? You can do better than hide in Canada. (Though I can sympathize with your sentiment.)
I worked in Kazakhstan six years ago on a large oil and gas project, at a time when the current authoritarian dictator was actually running for "President for Life" (and no, I am not making this up). I was at dinner with some colleagues, all Kazak nationals, discussing the results over dinner. I asked them, "who won?" To a person, they all shrugged and said, "Oh, Nasenbayev, of course", referring to the current autocrat, himself a former KGB agent. "How much of the vote did he get?" I continued. "Ninety-five percent", they answered, before one guy in the corner, face stuffed with food, ventured "... and they (secret police) are looking for the other five percent." They were not kidding, either. If you think that what happened there; what is happening to the immigrants here, won't happen to you at some point - think again. Trump has no intention of resigning. And fifty two percent of the Republican Party is fine with postponing the 2020 election. Until he comes for them.
Chris (New York City)
Maybe it's time for Democrats to recognize that immigration is not a win-win for all concerned. The world is a hard, cruel place. Always has been. And a lifeboat that is swamped is not good for anyone. Call it a zero-sum game. But that's reality. And sadly, Trump was the first--Republican or Democrat--who recognized that 3 Iowas worth of illegal immigrants is a crisis. Meanwhile urbanites label working and middle class folks in FLYOVER COUNTRY as bigots merely because they are trapped in a declining economy. From the perspective of the rust belt: Why bring in yet more people when this country can't seem to take care of its own? What happened to our revolutionary spirit? When do we put all hands on deck to help refugees and victims of domestic abuse advocate for political change? We can agree that Trump has all the wrong answers to the refugee crisis that is engulfing the world--but I fear his brand is going to carry the day at midterms because . . . he at least recognizes that there is a crisis.
Dr Snickers (Florida)
And how does this situation make the world a less hard, cruel place? I prefer to believe that humans are here to improve the situation, not to perpetuate it nor, in heaven's name, to exacerbate it.
Udayan (Seattle)
Cruel and hard place. Sure. But for 4-year olds? America should not be reconciled such wanton, avoidable cruelty. For shame!
Joy (Georgia)
Really interesting viewpoints on Ms. Goldberg's piece. At the very least, she's got us thinking about immigration vs migration, assimilation, and some very powerful poetry. My take from the piece is not immigration policy, not right vs left, party vs party. It's about cruelty to fellow human beings, and America's growing ability to turn our backs on this cruelty. Could we put at least as much effort into tackling this problem as we have into, say, Hillary's emails or "where in the world is Melania"?
Una Rose (Toronto)
You might fairly disagree with some of the methods, but the same thing, detention, deportation was happening under Obama as well. This isn't a holocost. These are illegal immigrants who knowingly are breaking the law,and have no rights as citizens. America has every right to block them and deport them. Either you have borders or you don't, and if you do, you need to uphold them. I personally think that a one time amnesty for current illegal citizens would be a good idea, and then shut down the border for good. It would also be better to have ongoing relationships with the countries these illegals come from, and try to stop the flow from the source. Perhaps addressing the problem of illlegal immigrants and migrants would be helpful to third world nations and their citizens as well.
Contrarian (England)
No one wants to see the misery and pain endured by migrants that has been outlined in this article, Yet if allowed to enter the United States is there then not an ensuing misery and pain endured by American citizens (job losses, undercutting of wages etc?) Of course none of that is of the proportion of a mother being forcefully separated from her child as Ms Goldberg searingly sympathetic article illustrates. But if one cares so much, one is drawn to ponder how many immigrants are living with this journalist, has she housed any etc? On a broader front, if Italy refuses to accept another ship packed with immigrants are they inhumane, ditto Malta; ditto a growing consensus across Europe. Why is this 'populist' movement on the march, why are we increasingly hearing its voice; why are whole populations in growing sympathy with this development? Is it empirical economics, or is it visceral, or is it a combination of both? Lumping them all as 'deplorables' is not an answer.
Bill Seng (Atlanta)
How would you propose one get one of these children out of holding to care for them? That said, if I were to host the child, he or she is still removed from his or her parents. That’s the problem.
Jean (Cleary)
And we have the nerve to accuse North Korea of "Human rights violations" . We need go get our own house in order before we accuse any other country for Human Rights violations. This sounds like kidnapping children. I believe kidnapping is a Federal Offense. The Justice Department should be brought to court for kidnapping innocent children. Or perhaps Jeff Sessions, if in fact the excuse is "just following orders from above." were his orders. Everyday we, as a country, grow more and more like the less enlightened countries regarding Human Rights. Until we do something about our own reckless behavior, we should stop pointing fingers.
Mike (Republic Of Texas)
"I believe kidnapping is a Federal Offense. The Justice Department should be brought to court for kidnapping innocent children." . I agree. Why does the state have the right to remove children from their parents, for drunk driving or illegal immigration. Those children have parents.
M. Ellis (Lexington, MA)
This is so very sad, very very sad. Inconsolable. How can we United States citizens live with a President who allows this to happen in our country?
Thomas (New York)
Mr. Munoz made the conscious decisions to illegally enter America. He knew the consequences. His own actions led him to commit suicide. It’s insanity to suggest otherwise- one who is breaking the law knows that he may be imprisoned and separated from his family. It happens every day in America.
Des Johnson (Forest Hills NY)
Yes, it is happening here. Perhaps, at bottom, it is a problem humans cannot solve en masse. Throughout history, individuals and small groups have withdrawn into solitude for various reasons. Some such individuals achieved fame as shamans, some were burned as witches. But we plough ahead, piling invention upon invention, each one open to gross manipulation by our exploiters. And our leaders cannot seem to sit down and quietly discuss the trends that are washing over us and threaten to undo our civilization and, literally, to drown parts of it. More attention is given to parsing the taking of a knee when a certain tune is played than to the epidemic of gun deaths and the piling up of bodies shot because they are black. The future is not in the distance. It stretches back for centuries and is growing.
ChristineMcM (Massachusetts)
"We still talk about American fascism as a looming threat, something that could happen if we’re not vigilant. But for undocumented immigrants, it’s already here." Think what you want about our immigration policy--or Congress's inability to overhaul it--this recent twist of cruelty of separating families is a sea change in government policy. Rather than press Congress to address the problem legislatively, the Trump administration seems almost giddy about ripping kids out of the arms of parents. Anyone ever think the United Nations would call the US out for human rights violations? What's next at the border? Food deprivation? Firing squads? There's a blood lust on the part of Stephen Miller and Jeff Sessions (and of course the big man himself) that seems to delight in gratuitous cruelty. "You won't fund my wall," Trump seems to be saying. "Well, we're going to take it out on the parents." In Trump's second year, I sense a significant brazenness as he comes to realize Congress won't check him, allowing him ot pretty much operate with impunity. He's doing it abroad and at home, but the increasingly inhumane ICE treatment of illegal immigrants will one day be regarded by historians as one of our darkest moments, a hallmark of fascistic scapegoating. For those of us appalled by this, we can't help but wonder, which of us is next?
Grunt (Midwest)
Numbers matter and 7.5 billion is a big number. So is 325 million. Families can stay together by staying home and not breaking the laws of other nations. and they can also remain together by immediate deportation.
Douglas McNeill (Chesapeake, VA)
Most people who are in the United States illegally have done so by overstaying their visas, not seeking entry by sneaking across our southern border. If Mr. Sessions were sincere about stopping illegal entry, he would separate children from families at all ports of entry, including Norwegian children and German children when those families appear to be traveling with so many items they appear to be emigrating instead of just visiting. But, he might say were he honest, those are WHITE people, those are GOOD people. This policy reeks when applied to black and brown people and when applied to white people as well. Furthermore, exclusion of domestic and gang violence as grounds to seek asylum is cruel when many parts of Central America lack any effective government except for marauding gangs (who we repatriated there from our own country). Not in my name, Mr. Sessions. Not in my name, Mr. Trump.
WPLMMT (New York City)
Those crossing our borders are illegal immigrants entering at illegal points not approved by the US. They are breaking our laws willingly when we have given them fair warning what awaits them if they do not follow our rules. We have told them beforehand they will be detained and their children kept in a separate area. Yet they continue to break our laws. If you permit these people entry, hundreds maybe even thousands more will follow. How can the US handle the hoards who come illegally? It has gotten out of hand and something had to be done. The previous administration turned a blind eye and the reason we are seeing these people continuing to arrive by the bus loads. President Trump promised during his campaign that he would put an end to the illegal overflow and that is what he has been doing. He wants to keep our citizens and country safe and that is what he has been trying to achieve. He should be praised and not condemned for wanting our laws to be followed. Many of us agree with this policy and have given him our full support. These people should go back home and file the necessary papers to become legal citizens just as thousands and maybe millions before them have done. Once they have done this, they will be gladly accepted by the United States of America.
Francesca Shultz (Mercer Island, Washington)
Do they get to have their children back first?
Janet Michael (Silver Spring Maryland)
The administration does not have an immigration policy- it has a capture and incarcerate policy.Americans do not terrorize children and separate them from family.This is cruel and does not align with our values.If Sessions and Co. can do no better than this, they need to go.They are betraying what we , as Americans, believe in.
barry napach (russia)
America since 1920s attempted to control immigration,now illegal immigrants can now delay their deportation by legal means and political pressure but the majority of americans want and demand the government control the borders,imagine no control,how many millions would come and from where?Wonder why Donald is becoming more popular with average americans,that is one reason,opposition to illegals.
Doc (Atlanta)
For those who still doubt that our government is methodically becoming a monster, allow me to introduce Camp Stewart in very isolated Lumpkin, Georgia. Commonly called the back hole of our immigration policy, the private, for-profit detention center is a glimpse of our future unless Congress and the courts restrain the Justice Department. This has escaped meaningful news coverage which plays into the hands of those who consider the U.S. Constitution's protections a nuisance.
Jason (Brooklyn)
"First they came" is right. It's the undocumented migrants now, but the Trump administration is also working to denaturalize people whom they deem to have had irregularities in their citizenship process. They claim it's about safeguarding against fraud, but it's plain to see how easily they can target any group of naturalized citizens for any convenient reason. What's next? Birthright citizenship? Criticism of the president shall be deemed treason, and justification enough to strip citizenship away, even perhaps from natural-born Americans? It's long past time for us to be afraid, and outraged, and to act. Protest and call and organize and vote NOW, while there's still a democracy to protect.
Concerned Citizen (Anywheresville)
You cannot "de-naturalize" citizens unless they have clearly used fraud to obtain citizenship. You cannot take citizenship from NATURAL BORN citizens under any circumstances whatsoever.
corvid (Bellingham, WA)
Not that the Trumpies care one whit, but attachment disorder by way of adverse childhood experiences (centrally, being forcibly separated from one's parents during early development) is a real thing. This is long-term damage being done to innocent children by our government, and I suspect they've only just begun. Look it square it in the eye. The Party of Trump is not just reckless, objectionable, cruel, and destructive. It's a cancer upon our republic, intent upon finishing off the American experiment after nearly a quarter of a millennium. To the extent we allow it to happen, our own liberty, not to mention our souls, are at risk.
Lucy Taylor (New Jersey)
corvid - children are also separated from parents who go to jail. It's sad but an unavoidable consequence of breaking the law.
Qwisatz Haderach (Sea island Ga)
But do the children end up in jail too?
Scott (Charlottesville)
Domestic abuse as a pretext for asylum? Where did that come from? What about being the victim of other crimes such as robbery or assault ? Does that qualify, and if not, why not? In the recent clarification of the law by Sessions, he wrote: "Such applicants must establish membership in a particular and socially distinct group that exists independently of the alleged underlying harm, demonstrate that their persecutors harmed them on account of their membership in that group rather than for personal reasons, and establish that the government protection from such harm in their home country is so lacking that their persecutors' actions can be attributed to the government," Much as I disdain Trump, that reasoning seems correct to me. Simply being a subject of domestic assault is not enough. You have to be assaulted because you are a member of a persecuted group, like an ethnic or religious minority. Otherwise, any victim of any crime could apply for asylum entry at the border, which is like having open borders. Is that what the author wants?
AussieAmerican (Somewhere)
In some places, Scott, being a woman *is* being a member of a persecuted group.
Jim Tagley (Naples, FL)
Not a Trump supporter but we must do whatever it takes to stop the flow of illegals into our country whether by sneaking in or requesting asylum. Of course they're all going to claim fear of gang violence back home, but in reality they're all coming here for one reason; economic opportunity. That's not a reason to let people in.
Stephen Powers (Upstate New York)
Two thoughts: First - I suspect when you say we must do "whatever" to stop illegal entry you don't really mean anything. At least I hope. Second - Probably half the country can trace their roots to immigrants who came here precisely for "economic" reasons.
Alex McCormick (Bloomington, IN )
I'm other words, the end justify the means and separating innocent young children from their parents is justifiable in your moral universe. Honestly, what has become of us?
Bill M (Atlanta, GA)
Illegal crossings are down nearly 50%, detentions are up, and lines are growing at border crossings as asylum seekers are being delayed for proper vetting. This is what putting America First looks like. It means making a choice. We can either focus on taking care of our old, our single mothers, our abandoned children, and our undereducated and low skilled workers - or we can take of Hondura’s and Guatemala’s. But we can’t do both. Because if we take in the latter, it’s less money and resources for the former. And while this strikes progressives as cruel, what do they suggest? They want open borders, but they also want wage growth for workers. They want a generous welfare net, but they want to spread it over so many that it can’t stay generous. In short, what the progressives want makes no sense, and isn’t practical. It really only works for one group; the rich, privileged progressives who want to mouth platitudes and avoid making hard choices.
Concerned Citizen (Anywheresville)
In a different article today....the NYT laments the end of Obamacare and asks why we can't have universal health care for all!!! Well, folks -- THIS IS WHY. We cannot give health care to 25 million illegals and their anchor babies. Until they are ALL deported....there is no hope for universal health care.
submit (india)
Why fall shy of calling for an end to passports and visa requirements for the illegal immigrants wanting to shun their native countries and settle in the country of their choice?
Margo (Atlanta)
They generally are not shunning their country, they wave the flag of their country at the rallies organized to attract attention and sympathy. We don't see too many US flags then. In my opinion these are economic migrants wanting to do anything to keep an American income.
Concerned Citizen (Anywheresville)
Margo: and welfare and medicaid and food stamps.
Carey (Brooklyn NY)
Those who find this practice onerous, and are ashamed and alarmed at the behavior of our government must be proactive in addressing the backlash attitude created by years of not addressing the views and needs of conservative Americans, (broadly defined as mid-America, Rust belt cities, Small farmers, Fundamentalists, etc.). If the Democratic Party is to be successful in stemming reactionary fascist forces we need to be more inclusive of their supporters. Absolutism in support of liberal and progressive ideals will only maintain the schism created by years of inattention to these forgotten Americans. The issue is not making America great again, but keeping America great. The midterm elections and the political rhetoric leading up to resetting of our congressional scenery is the best first opportunity we have to change the path we are on.
Guy Sajer (Boston, MA)
It can happen here. Just look at the Milgram's Experiment from the 1960's and see that it can happen here, very easily. The language used to dehumanize the "other" is on purpose. That we can point to times previous in our history where people have done this is no excuse. We should not be treating desperate migrants this way.
tom (pittsburgh)
How does this make America Great? We should be ashamed of actions that separate family members. How does that party that has long claimed family values as important support the break up of family? The Trump administration is making us remember fascism not making us Great. The media must continue to point out our warts to remind us we have been and can again be moral, but not by this administration.
Mike (Republic Of Texas)
I know how you feel. I was shocked when the Memphis grandmother was charged with cruelty for driving two children around in dog kennels. If you want to throw your kids on a North bound train or drive them around in dog kennels, it is no ones business but your own.
Gaby Franze (Houston TX)
History repeated in a civilized society. Martin Niemoeller's poem is as relevant today as it was during the reign of Third Reich and we here keep quiet about the inhumanity. The last sentence of this poem is especially haunting: "Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me."
Arnold Geisler (Germany)
You expressed my sentiments well. Thanks!
memo laiceps (between alpha and omega)
I've recently been stopped by cops for the first time in my life caught in a classic speed trap (sign hidden in tree branches) and for not having the proper sticker on my plate even though I'd paid and had the paperwork to prove it. Both times the cops were incoherent talking so fast I could not understand them only to find increased hostility when I asked them to slow down. The cop over the sticker was especially chilling, asking me questions that when I answered truthfully and with no "attitude" only made him more hostile. I honestly thought I would end up in jail or worse if I didn't somehow appease them. I thought maybe I could end up getting shot over a registration sticker. I'm a near retirement age white woman who so follows the rules I'd never been stopped before. Even while it was happening I thought if this is how I feel, I could not fathom how someone brown or with accented speech must feel. Yes, it has already started.
Jackie (Missouri)
I am also a somewhat elderly white woman who is a law-abiding citizen and I am scared to death of the cops. I don't know if they are going to respond in a reasonable manner to any polite question I might ask, should I be fool enough to call them, or if they're going to shoot me to death for my attitude and then fabricate their excuses later. And I know that I'm not their "target" audience, but I do live in a dicey neighborhood. If the cops or other authority figures can get away with shooting and killing other compliant people who have done nothing to deserve an immediate death sentence, and I'm not rich, powerful or a celebrity, then why not me?
Margo (Atlanta)
Just get yourself a dashcam. That appears to improve behavior considerably in these situations.
Charlierf (New York, NY)
memo laiceps, sorry about your bad experience; the speed trap itself says you were dealing with bad cops. Write and phone to every media, every police boss, mayor, city representative, state representative and governor. Persist - again and again demand accountability. You’ll feel better and you might even do some good. But to say that the bad cops who persecuted you are the same as most cops who enforce our immigration laws is conveniently irrational.
br (san antonio)
Who Are We? We all need to stop being eloquent to each other about how they are debasing the West. Our bubble may not be as grotesque as Fox, but it is still isolating us from reality. Bill Maher's not wrong. What does it profit us if we win the Twitter war and lose the country?
RDG (Cincinnati)
Of course "they"are debasing the West. They're not Just Like Us, aka European Americans. The real debasing of the West comes from that group of Euro-Americans who disdain and disparage the study of Western humanities as a useless waste of time. Studying the West's literature, art, music, philosophy and science is delving into that cilivilzation's glories. But it also leads to critical thinking, something that sizable and powerful group fear and loathe.
Em (NY)
Yes. It CAN happen here. And it has begun. And can we say it will all be over with the next election? That's what keeps me awake at night.
TheUglyTruth (Virginia Beach)
"Just following orders from above". Translation - I will do what people instruct me to do regardless of what is I believe to be moral, decent, and respectful treatment of other human beings, and even if it violates my religious beliefs.
BookersDad (Vermont)
Interestingly, we've heard this line before--from the Nuremburg trials. Prosecutors for the Tribunal rejected it as an excuse for immoral or inhuman behavior by the Nazis under trial, and held them responsible for the evil that occurred by their actions ordered from above or not. It is discouraging beyond telling that we have come to this here in America.
Charlierf (New York, NY)
As Luigi used to say weekly on the radio: “Thasa funny, when I say it, it come out different.” I guess it’s not only Fox News who intentionally misinterprets enemy words.
Reasonable Guy (U. S.)
I think you (deliberately?) misunderstand what authoritarianism on the part of executive branch is. Enforcing laws passed by Congress isn't authoritarian, but creating a category of people for whom they wouldn't be enforced is, e. g. what Obama did with DACA. The Constitution does allow the Executive to prioritize enforcement, but not to exclude a whole category of people from it. And, Obama administration also did CSR payments without an appropriation from Congress -- authoritarianism again.
memo laiceps (between alpha and omega)
Uh, no. Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by strong central power and limited political freedoms. Individual freedoms are subordinate to the state and there is no constitutional accountability under an authoritarian regime. This means it can also be unchallengable central power exerted on everyone. It happens incrementally first on the most vulnerable and gradually includes even you.
Bill (South Carolina)
Tell me, Memo, what do you think the legislative branch and the judicial branch are doing while this authoritarian regime holds sway? Perhaps it is because the legislature has already condoned the excesses of which the executive branch is accused(due to the fact their constituents want it that way). Also, the judicial branch sees no excesses beyond our existing laws and constitution. If you think this is totalitarianism, I strongly suggest you sneak over someone else's border.
C.L.S. (MA)
There is no law that mandates taking children from their parents. At least not yet. This is simply deliberate cruelty, a way of controlling, just as our masters - oh, excuse me, our law enforcement officials - say it is. Some Americans apparently have no moral sense. May God forgive them, I can't.
J. T. Stasiak (Chicago, IL)
The United States is a very nice place to live and it would be terrific if we could admit every foreigner who wants to live in this country. But the United States is a welfare state and the resources needed to process and assimilate large numbers of immigrants necessarily competes with the limited resources needed needed to take care of its own citizens (e.g. health care). America also has major problems: life expectancy, living standards and wages are decreasing; suicide, infant and maternal mortality rates are increasing; etc. If America is having difficulty taking care of its own citizens, how can it reasonably expect to care for large numbers of immigrants? The Chinese authoritarian political system has lifted 600 million people out of poverty over the past 40 years. This is a colossal and impressive achievement, unmatched in the history of the world. Most Chinese people are very satisfied with their system despite lack of political freedom and arbitrary tyranny (e.g. Tianamen 1989 massacre). The Chinese system is proving to be much more effective and efficient than the American system. If you were an American living precariously on the margins, might you be tempted to trade some freedom for Chinese style economic security? Ms. Goldberg's heart rending anecdotes are specious. Sometimes MrTrump is correct. Border control and immigration policy are practical necessities, not gratuitous cruelty. If American freedom and liberty are to be preserved, they are essential.
seattle expat (Seattle, WA)
I think you may have a misunderstanding about why the problems you mentioned (living standards, etc.) have occurred. This has to do with misallocation of resources to unnecessary military expenditures and subsidies to large corporations. Most immigrants are working and not able to access welfare programs. It is hard for me to understand how state-run cruelty can ever be considered "specious".
TheUglyTruth (Virginia Beach)
Facts. The Chinese suicide rate is among the world's highest, 22 people per 100,000, roughly three times that of the US. China is one of few countries in the world where women commit suicide more than men. The infant mortality rate in China is 35% higher than the US. Life expectancy is 4 years shorter in China. China's measure of poverty, or the poverty level is $1.90us per day. The US poverty level measure is $12,060.
Steve Bruns (Summerland)
Fact: the healthy life expectancy rate (the age to which you can expect to be able to live unassisted) is now higher in China than the USA. And the gap is rising. USA, USA?
Ann (California)
"We simply follow orders from above." Just like the good Germans in pre-World War II Germany. Chilling.
WPLMMT (New York City)
Ann, How is that working out for Germany? They now have over one million refugees and the German people are not too happy with this influx of immigrants. There have been assaults and attacks on the German people which have not made these immigrants very well liked by the German people. This is why the conservative politicians have become so popular recently and are winning more and more elections. Germany is no longer the Germany for its people and they do not like it one bit. Let's hope what has occurred in Germany does not occur here. This is one of the reasons President Trump was elected. He said he would stop the overflow of illegal immigrants and he is trying to do just that. Many of us applaud his courage and are glad he is carrying out this very important campaign promise. We want immigrants to come here but they must come here legally like the immigrants in the past.
Galasso (Charleston, SC)
No, "chilling" is millions of people being executed and cremated or buried in mass graves. By attaching Nazi to everything that might offend them, Progressives dishonor the people who were murdered in the 1940s in Germany as well as the brave souls who perished liberating western Europe.
dbsweden (Sweden)
Trump's system in America sounds just like the way the Nazis treated the Jews. George Orwell predicted this decades ago. Talk about prescience. BTW, the Times never notifies me when my comments are published. Why?
Ginger Walters (Chesapeake, VA)
Orwell's 1984 is prescient. I highly recommend it to those who haven't read it. I've read it twice, but am thinking of going for a third. We are practically living it.
sharon (worcester county, ma)
Ginger- I've read 1984 several times and "It Can't Happen Here" by Lewis Sinclair. We are now living both of these novels and it terrifies me.
ClearBlue (New York)
They don't notify you because the comment board operates under authoritarian principles; they choose what is acceptable speech, who may say it, and are completely opaque in their selection process. Make no mistake: truth is under siege by Trump, much of the conventional right and ALL of the alt right. It is also under siege by the NY Times, which in the last two or so years has replaced reason with ideology. It has, in to coin a word, been Breitbartified. Which is why I usually read its competitor from D.C. at this point.
sdavidc9 (Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut)
The best way to stop refugees is to address why they are leaving. We have supported governments that were good for American business and investments and horrible for some or most of their people. These refugees are the chickens coming home to roost. We trained soldiers to keep law and order and fight Communist ideas. They defended the local elites who ran things for their own benefit and neglected most of the country. The elite answer to the gangs that arose was to keep them away from the nice areas.
Ann (California)
Thank you for pointing out the connection: that U.S. policies and business practices have hurt these countries. There's also that problem that when millions can no longer send money to their home countries, that worsens the economy and living standards there and creates potentially bigger problems via economic instability, etc.
hb freddie (Huntington Beach, CA)
I am sympathetic to the aspirations of immigrants (like my grandparents), but I have questions: 1. Is there a limit to America’s ability to absorb immigrants? 2. If there is a limit, how do you define and enforce that limit?
teacherinNC (Kill Devil Hills)
Consider this: our citizen population is dropping, and along with it, the ability to support an aging population. immigrants, documented or not, pump billions into the economy and undocumented ones are unable or unwilling to claim benefits. So to suggest that the US is supporting immigrants gets it backward, they are supporting us.
Bob Swygert (Stockbridge, GA)
1. Is there a limit to America’s ability to absorb immigrants? Of course. We are a very rich nation and we probably could do more-- but we simply don't have the resources to take care of millions of illegal immigrants AND take care of our fellow American citizens. That's not cruelty, that's being realistic. 2. If there is a limit, how do you define and enforce that limit? By passing comprehensive immigration reform which includes citizenship for the "Dreamers" enhances border security and promptly kicks out anyone who overstays a VISA or tries to "sneak" across the border. Change the law and then enforce it !
Michael (Brooklyn)
We’re actually on a verge of a labor shortage, especially for the work immigrants do. And we need more to pay into Social Security.
Milton Lewis (Hamilton Ontario)
Trump recently opined that protesting NFL players may not belong in this country. He once suggested that a judge of Mexican heritage could not give him a fair trial.He rails against critical members of the media.American citizenship could be reversible in Trump’s bizzare world view. Protect real Americans from the others. Michelle is absolutely correct.Who does Trump turn on next?
Julia Holcomb (Leesburg VA)
After people of color, my guess is the LGBTQ community. Could be women. He is getting a strong start against both groups already.
Expat Annie (Germany)
Don't forget that Trump began his run in politics by denying President Obama's citizenship. Despite the fact that Obama's mother was a verifiable American citizen and thus so was her son, no matter where he was born. And there is still a sizeable share of people today who still belive Trump's birther nonsense. It is not unthinkable that they might also apply this same thinking to other non-white citizens.
Margo (Atlanta)
I think Trump's concern was about political bias on the part of a judge and the media. That along with what many perceive as disrespect to the national anthem. I find that people of Trump's age often think of these things in black and white and have a hard time relating to current politicized behavior. Does that make him bad? or just out of date?
Maria Ashot (EU)
A momentous historic shift has just taken place. Peace is coming at long last to the Korean peninsula. Many are asking: "What about human rights? Was Kim pressed by Trump on human rights?" I would like to remind my fellow Americans that under Trump & Sessions, the USA is now officially a human rights violator as well. We are torturing young children at the border -- children who have no idea what a "border" even is. Many of the victims of Trump's cruelty can't speak yet. Many more that do speak will forget how to from the trauma, exactly like the Syrian children we did nothing to help forgot to speak. Some have recovered from their psychological scars. Most have not. The question of human rights is not one to toss about rhetorically to score cheap points. When US women felons are shackled during birth, that is a grotesque violation of their human rights. A woman in labor is not in a position to flee, or attack anyone. Trump is cruel, selfish, arbitrary & unwise. But the people of the Far East have wisely seized upon the opportunity created by his presence to bring much-needed healing to their region. They will have to act swiftly, because no one can predict how long Trump will last. When the Nobels are announced, they should refer to all the people of Korea, including those who live in California, and Qazaqstan. And they should also include Dennis Rodman. To all the Koreans I went to school with & later taught: I salute you. You were & are a brilliant people.
Humboldt County (Arcata, CA)
With 50% of the population of Latin America under 25 years of age, clearly, we need a thorough and well thought-out overhaul of our immigration policies. But a polarized congress simply cannot deliver. Until then, can we at least agree that tearing children from their parents runs against our values?
ADN (New York City)
@Humboldt County. Can we agree? It doesn’t look like it. 88% of Republicans think what the Republican Party is doing is just fine.
Helvetico (Dissentia)
The parents are responsible for their immigration status: shame on them for illegally entering a country. There's subtle racism here, too: just because they're not white doesn't mean they can't follow the law.
ADN (New York)
Well, shucks, it wouldn’t occur to me that parents are responsible for their children’s immigration status. That’s probably because I’m thinking about how many people are hungry under the Mexican oligarchy and about those parents being hungry and their children being hungry and all so desperate they’ll illegally cross a border in search of food. How utterly irresponsible of them to do that to their children!
Kathryn (NY, NY)
At least, in the Japanese internment camps during WWII, families were kept together. Until now, the installation of those camps was one of the most shameful episodes in US history. The brains of these current young detainees are developing. The stress of being torn from their parents will permanently alter their brains and their psychological development. That we have come to this. It is inconceivable that I live in a country where innocents are subjected to this torturous treatment. WHERE ARE THE REPUBLICANS?
Joanna (Chicago)
The Republicans champion these changes. If they did not, they would have the backbone to stand up to Trump. The majority of them do not. Every last child should be reunited with their parents. "First they came.." isn't just a poem. It is the stark reality of the horrors happening in this country and that will continue under the Trump administration and the right-leaning Supreme Court.
Excessive Moderation (Little Silver, NJ)
Better yet "what are the republicans?" I forgot. Tax cuts for the wealthy are the only important things in America. No human sensitivity in tax cuts.
Steve Fankuchen (Oakland, CA)
A commenter rhetorically and reasonably asks, "What kind of a person denies entry to someone persecuted in another country?" I agree with what she is indirectly saying by that, but need to ask, "What kind of a person denies entry to 10 million people persecuted in another country?" Somewhere a line must be drawn, or we will no longer be the type of society people will risk life and limb to try to get to. Where that line is, I do not know, but without an open, non-name calling conversation about the subject, our country will continue to be a polarized, dysfunctional polity, when it comes to the question of immigration, no one coming out ahead in the process. Meanwhile, the author of this article reminds me a lot of Donald Trump: both appear to say stuff just to get attention, often substituting anecdote for reasoned policy, and using dubiously relevant inflammatory language. But, hey, as long as people continue to buy snake oil (or guns or drugs, or anything for that matter), there will be people there to sell it.
Enri (Massachusetts)
“Somewhere a line must be drawn, or we will no longer be the type of society people will risk life and limb to try to get to.“ That line has always been changing. 500 years ago the land was open for the Europeans to draw and privatize after millennia of common ownership by primary peoples. Once the law of value is established (the ever growing proportion of machinery relative to living labor to increase social surpluses) by the English colonists, the flux has been determined that way. Whether there is a need to create a source of surplus by incorporating previously unemployed people like women in the 1970s and the subsequent privatization of domestic chores (which now mostly immigrants perform). However, people don’t do this consciously. It is the other way around; the flux of living labor whether in the shape of immigrants always follows these unwritten laws, which are more powerful than consciously written human ones. The Guadalupe Hidalgo treaty may refresh your memory on this issue. Borders are socially constructed. Thereby their temporary nature
Joanna (Chicago)
There is a stark difference between Donald Trump, the con man, and Michelle Goldberg. Surely, there is a massive, world-wide immigration problem. I think Goldberg's article warrants attention. We have no idea the cruelties actually taking place at the border. This is just a glimpse. Children, separated from their families, both small and older, have been put in cages. Some have fallen victim to human trafficking. Completely inhumane. I don't know the answer to this massive problem, but surely separating families is not the answer. Michelle Goldberg has every right to shine a light on these atrocities.
Jean (Cleary)
Our Country is already polarized and dysfunctional. It has nothing to to with Immigration. It has to do with how Trump and the Republican Congress views its own citizens. When our own Leaders would prefer to give tax relief to the 1%, to the Corporations yet systematically break down our Health Care system, food stamps for the poverty stricken, interfere with public education, voting rights, do harm to our environment, lie to us on a continuing basis it might be pointing to a country that will become less welcoming to its own citizens, let alone immigrants. North Korea is held up as a regime who persecutes its own citizens. We are fast joining that club.
Eric (Oregon)
Securing the border is a primary role of a nation state. Providing asylum and safe havens to refugees and migrants is a moral duty to a civilized society. There is a formal process to ask for asylum and refugee status, it’s not a free-for-all as the ‘open borders’ rhetoric suggests. Perhaps not all who seek refuge in the United States are ‘deserving’ of the refugee label but that does not mean we should treat them as dangerous criminals. Separating children from their parents, locking them up like felons or ‘animals’, a term used by POTUS (allegedly only for MS-13), is cruel. But alas many of my fellow citizens are cruel and feel the stranger is the enemy. There will be apologists for this administration no matter its actions. And there will be those who wish to resist but are waiting for some violent climax to act, but will be too scared or too patient to do anything. When this is all over, we will question our actions and wonder what more we could have done.
Joshua Schwartz (Ramat-Gan, Israel)
It is impossible not to agree with Ms. Goldberg re the heart-wrenching stories she brings. But I have a question for her. Does she think that the US should have an open door policy. Does she think that the line's of Emma Lazarus's poem about tired, poor and huddled masses should be the immigration policy? Or does she perhaps agree that a country should have some say as to who comes in and who stays? Assuming that even she thinks that some control is necessary, perhaps she then might explain why anybody should follow the rules? Migrants are not the same as immigrants. And asylum is usually of a political nature, not as a solution to domestic violence. Does she think that those rules should be changed?
Galasso (Charleston, SC)
Unrestricted migration also begs the question of when does it become untenable? How many is too many? There is also a transfer of wealth that is taking place in the billions of dollars in remittances back to Mexico and Central America from illegals and those who have overstayed visas. That's money earned in the US but not spent in the US economy. Anecdotal examples about people escaping persecution pales in comparison to the sheer numbers climbing fences for economic reasons.
MV (Arlington,VA)
You have created a straw man. Saying our government, in our name, should not separate children from their parents at the border is not to say that we should have an open door. Seeking asylum is not an illegal act; people have a legal right to seek asylum and have their cases adjudicated. The current administration and its apologists are conflating illegal immigration and asylum-seeking.
ADN (New York City)
@Joshua Schwartz. How many straw horses can be thrown against reason? This isn’t about an open door, and nowhere in this debate did anybody suggest that it was. This is about the abuse of individual human beings, whether one wants to let them into the country or not. One doesn’t have to treat them as subhuman and abuse children to make a point. That’s what Trump is doing and abstract political arguments can’t disguise the cruelty. The Republican political base cheers to see children abused if they aren’t white. It’s indefensible on every level and supporting it is complicity.
Kathy Balles (Carlisle, MA)
I hear these stories of children being pulled from their mother's arms and I am picturing Sophie's Choice. I don't think I could be an ICE agent these days.
Sherry (Seattle,Wa)
This administration mouths the words for immigration reform but has no real interest in humane and managable reforms. We can set rules but in the end there must be some heart behind it...humanity. Seperating children from their families is not a humane solution. The ends do not justify the means. Call your elected representatives in Washington to find another way. Otherwise we are all being "good Germans" and looking the other way.
Marie (Cabin john)
Let's also remember that making America white again is one of the chief reasons Trump was elected. These newest immigration policies help fulfill that campaign promise. Who could be more appropriate than Jeff Sessions to separate children from their parents and break up families, the trauma of which lasts a lifetime? The long shadow of American slavery hangs over this policy.
Joe (Raleigh, NC)
Marie of Cabin John said, "... Who could be more appropriate than Jeff Sessions to separate children from their parents....The long shadow of American slavery hangs over this policy." We're almost lucky we have Mr. Sessions: Looking, walking, and talking like an Old Seg from the 1950's -- it's so easy to picture him in a schoolhouse doorway with an axe handle -- he shines a bright light on the truth of what we've come to. Our President could have picked some more sophisticated-looking, though equally awful, person from among his hotel and casino associates to be in command of Justice in our nation, and we would lack this convenient target of contempt.
michjas (phoenix)
The US has a long history of "moral enormities." The slaughter of Indians, slavery, 20th century mistreatment of immigrants, segregation, Japanese interment, the atomic bomb, McCarthyism, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Iraq, and indifference to world hunger among them. Each of these outrages has bee addressed by thinking people as a discrete harm causing damage to discrete victims. The problem with Trump's immigration policy is Trump's immigration policy and the harm it causes to immigrants. If you believe it is a harbinger of dictatorship, you'll have to explain why slavery was more benign and did not undo our imperfect constitutional republic. Your suggestion is that the American people are on the verge of giving up 250 years of Constitutionalism for Trump's tweets. Anything is possible of course. When that foolish boy kept shouting, there could have been a wolf.
Ann (California)
We're living in a time when those who hold the levers of power can do significant harm. If you've studied history especially those lived and reported on events in pre-World II Germany--you would know Trump and his enablers are dangerous.
Joanna (Chicago)
I think a harbinger of dictatorship is the behavior of Trump towards our allies, in particular with Trudeau most recently and the nations of G-7. I think a harbinger of dictatorship is when the lines are blurred and crossed in the separation of powers. I think a harbinger of dictatorship is when neo-Nazi's parade in Charlottesville, but not only in Charlottesville, and the acting president does not condemn them. I think a harbinger of dictatorship is replacing experienced judges with neophytes who have no judicial experience. Take a look at Poland. I think a harbinger of dictatorship is ripping children away from their parents and caging them and allowing them to fall into the hands of human trafficking. I think a harbinger of dictatorship is the destruction of our relationship with our European allies, the destruction of the environment, the destruction of the Iran deal, the destruction of our school system, the destruction of our health-care system, the entitlement of those in the administration to spend tax-payer money on personal expenses, all going unchecked (yes, you, Scott Pruitt). Will we be reimbursed? I think a harbinger of dictatorship is the acting president of the United States turning his back on our allies and forging alliances with dictators, getting nothing in return. Trump is in awe of dictators, Kim Jong Un, Duterte, Putin. He calls it, "a great honor" to meet Kim Jon Un, a dictator known for his human rights violations. The list goes on.
michjas (phoenix)
Those who foresee Nazism where it is not can be dangerous people. Their actions to prevent what is not there can be as harmful as Nazism itself.
GZ (San Diego)
“Simply following orders.” I wonder if the ICE agents realize that was the reason given by guards in the camps during WWII for their actions. Sad and dispiriting.
Naomi Fein (New York City)
I'm sure they don't. Neither do they know about the Nuremberg trials after WWII.
DB Cooper (Portland OR)
Ms. Goldberg is right. Just this weekend the Times published this account of an American citizen apprehended by ICE: "When I told them I am American, they asked me, where are your documents? I said I had them in my car. ...(t)hey asked me, why don’t you carry your documents? I told them I don’t carry my documents ... because where we work is very dirty." These ICE "round-ups" go far beyond identifying and deporting undocumented residents. ICE employees have absolutely no concern whether the person they've detained is an American citizen or not. But the one thing the detainee is, is brown-skinned. That's apparently all this country requires now under the Trump presidency. When Trump assumed office, I warned that American citizens would increasingly be targeted throughout his tenure. Most disagreed, believing this could not possibly happen in America. And yet it is happening. Here. Recall that Korematsu v US was a 7-2 decision supporting internment camps for Japanese Americans. Seventy percent of those interned were native-born Americans. We are back in this territory. ICE may simply detain any of us now. Anyone who believes this will stop with simply removing residents who do not have the proper documentation to be here is incredibly naive. We are now living in a nation where Trump's ICE thugs may simply detain anyone they do not "believe" to be an American citizen -- or the right color, regardless of clear evidence of citizenship. And this chapter is far from over.
northcoastcat (cleveland)
Eventually, we will all have to carry our papers everywhere we go.
Martin Daly (San Diego, California)
Yes. The same lines had occurred to me in reference to the treatment of migrants at the southern border. Next will be routinization of shooting to kill at the border, with applause or silence from the Trump Party. After that?
Ann (California)
Already happening, of course Border Patrol staff are claiming innocence in every case "U.S. border agent who repeatedly shot Mexican teen through a fence acquitted of murder" "Deaths by border patrol"
Susan Anderson (Boston)
"Next"? No, it's already happened. Shooting to kill leaves the authoritarian with a voice while the victim has none.
Observant (San Francisco, CA)
" Immigration officers are boarding trains and buses and demanding that passengers show them their papers. On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions decreed that most people fleeing domestic abuse or gang violence would no longer be eligible for asylum." According to Ms. Goldberg, most of the liberal "enlightened" Western Europe is already inflicted with authoritarianism. I used to live in Paris and have travelled widely to most of Europe, the police boarded train and buses asking me to show paperwork all the time and I didn't see any wrong with it. I always had a copied of my American passport with me all the time, it's required, and I just showed it to them and they said "Merci" to me. And I don't think Western European countries grant asylum to someone with "domestic abuse" or "gang violence" claims either. If they do, they would be overwhelmed with the asylums with such claims.
Sally (Switzerland)
Interesting - I have lived in Switzerland for almost 40 years, travel in trains and buses almost every day, and have never been asked to show an ID except at a border crossing.
SMK NC (Charlotte, NC)
They are not just coming for us in immigration. They are coming for us financially, they are trying to eliminate us through pre-existing conditions, and are accusing those who don’t kowtow as treasonous. There is a concerted GOP effort to gut America as a land of hope and opportunity.
Maria (Pine Brook)
Financially the illegal children are costing us a fortune. Schooling alone can cost over $20.000 per year per child in some states. That doesn’t include medical, dental and food supplements. How can a parent or parents making minimum wages and not paying taxes or even if paying taxes compensate us in full? Let’s keep them out. Build a wall
Sally (Switzerland)
Maria - and your children did not cost a thing, how convenient. And I am sure that when your children were little, you were making enough money to compensate other citizens in full with your taxes for what your family cost the system. Are you sure the parents - illegal or not - are not paying taxes? I have yet to see how anyone can avoid sales tax, for example.
Sylvia Poole (Gowanstown, Ontario)
Those "costly" children will probably become your doctor or dentist or lawyer when they're older. I am at an age when I'm seeing several medical specialists, and none of them is named "Smith".
Marie Seton (Michigan)
Sorry, but there is no moral equivalence between a law abiding citizen and illegal border crossers. Everyone wants a better life for their children, but America cannot be the destination for every economic/deprived family in the world. Obama went overboard enabling evasions of immigration law. American citizens saw with their own eyes the overflowing of their hospitals, schools and the inclusion of low paid non English speaking people in many occupations. In short, the people elected Trump to stop the onslaught of illegal border crossers and unending asylum seekers before our American ship quite literally sunk.
Ann (California)
Perhaps you'd be willing to do more reading. This is not a simple issue with a slam-dunk answer. Ms. Goldberg is pointing out that brutalizing people seeking asylum or refugee status at the border--or inside the country--is a slippery slope to travel. Yes, the U.S. needs to reform and update its immigration and asylum policies. But separating families and terrorizing children, trampling basic human rights and due process, criminalizing and punishing people by locking them up is not the American way.
Robert Roth (NYC)
That seems to be increasingly the case. The cruel hearted immorality by the US Government cheered on by a large segment of a cold hearted, immoral citizenry who never would resist any criminal. immoral law as long as it was vicious enough, grows uglier and more hateful by the moment.
Louise S (Brooklyn)
Do you really believe that immigrants coming over the border are responsible for ‘the sinking’ of our country? Then Trump has been successful. How easy it is to blame someone else for your problems.
Ed Op (Toronto)
I recently found my family and I briefly detained as we crossed into the States from Canada (as we’ve done dozens of times over the years) for a “random spot check”. We’re not asylum seekers and we have no real reason to fear US Border Control but I can honestly say it is disconcerting to find your passport and car keys taken away and having to sit and wait with no explanation or communication at all; in our case for about 45 minutes. I can’t even begin to imagine how horrifying it would be to be detained and to have my children ripped from my arms. Your country is going down a very dark hole very fast America. Better do something about it soon before it’s too late.
Melinda Mueller (Canada)
I would advise you to think twice about going to America if you don’t have to. Legalities no longer matter much - a badge-heavy border patrol agent can search and detain you for hours, at least, for no reason at all, just because he feels like it. Seize your devices, separate your family members, question you, frighten you - without cause. When you are released, no apologies will be forthcoming. I am a dual US-Can citizen living in Canada, and unless/until the US has a complete regime change, I am never going south again. Thinking you have nothing to fear, which I do understand, is your first mistake. When the rule of law no longer applies, everyone has reason to fear a quixotic, amoral America.
Anon (Maine)
The same thing happened to us on the way back from Canada. My husband was forbidden to go to the bathroom, even though he needed to. We are middle-aged U.S. citizens and felt chilled by the whole experience.
sharon (worcester county, ma)
A few years back we accidentally took a wrong turn on an unknown road and had to turn around in the AMERICAN side of the border patrol parking lot in VT. We didn't have passports because we had no intention of going to Canada. The young border patrol officer came racing out and demanded what we were doing in Canada and how long we had been there. My husband explained that we hadn't come from Canada but had only turned around int eh parking lots since we were lost. Our car was searched before we were allowed to leave even though this was against the law. "Border Patrol, nevertheless, cannot pull anyone over without "reasonable suspicion" of an immigration violation or crime (reasonable suspicion is more than just a "hunch"). Similarly, Border Patrol cannot search vehicles in the 100-mile zone without a warrant or "probable cause" (a reasonable belief, based on the circumstances, that an immigration violation or crime has likely occurred). The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects Americans from random and arbitrary stops and searches. According to the government, however, these basic constitutional principles do not apply fully at our borders. For example, at border crossings (also called "ports of entry"), federal authorities do not need a warrant or even suspicion of wrongdoing to justify conducting what courts have called a "routine search," such as searching luggage or a vehicle." USA, greatest democracy!
arp (East Lansing, MI)
We may not survive long enough to provide for a tribunal that will evaluate crimes against humanity and deal with those who must be held to account.
Jack Sonville (Florida)
This change in policy by Trump/Sessions is all about sending a message: Don't even come to our borders with your kids, because if you enter illegally and get caught, we may separate your family. Until the message gets absorbed, we will have families being separated and children being horribly impacted. I suppose Trump and Sessions believe this is the price to pay for eventually slowing illegal immigration.They are always willing to pay the price when someone else is footing the bill.
Zola (San Diego)
Thank you for this necessary, upsetting, poignant column, which every American should read. Look at what kind of country we have become. I never thought that fascism would come to America. But it has.
Philly Spartan (Philadelphia, PA)
When we look back on this era decades from now (and I hope I have the chance to), this, the forced separation of children from their parents, intended to "send a message," will be our greatest shame.
ADN (New York City)
@Philly Spartan. When we look back on this era we won’t have the opportunity for shame because nobody will be allowed to talk about it. If we’ve already completely lost the rule of law, and if the press is the enemy of the people, why does anybody think freedom of speech won’t be going soon?
sonya (Washington)
Nurumburg trials should ensue.
Ann (California)
So far over 10,000 children locked up, detained too long--many un jail-like settings, even psychiatric facilities. and some forced to take drugs! "In court declarations, some children said that they have been told they have to take the medications if they ever hope to leave detention. Others claimed they have been forcibly injected."
BillC (Chicago)
The small cost of Neil Gorsuch that Mitch McConnell was very happy to pay. Conspiracy with Russia to overthrow the democratic election process to elect a Republican. Massive obstruction of an investigation into that conspiracy to keep Republicans in power. A very small price to pay in deed. Obviously there is much more to come. The return on the investment is too high. Watch the Republicans deepen their a tight alliance with Russia. The foundations for fascism was evident long before Trump. Why else are they so comfortable with Trump. It is who they are.
DJ (Yonkers)
“Why else are they so comfortable with Trump. It is who they are.” Once he was elected president, controlled Congress and took over the federal judiciary, it is, sad to say, who WE are. RIP America.
Jacalyn Carley (Berlin)
And standing up, marching in protest? When does it happen? The one thing tyrants fear. Enough feeling good about a comment preaching to the choir. It is time.
Thomas (Galveston, Texas)
Before there was Trump, there were Trump voters. Most of his supporters do not have education beyond grade level and/or are prejudiced at heart. Democtacy will not flourish in an environment where people remain uninformed, uneducated, and close-minded. The future of American democracy looks bleak in the short term, but in the mid and long term, America will come back as a beacon of light to the peoples of the world.
oprichniki (Moscow, ID)
I don't know how you can convince almost 100 million people they don't want to be fascists, but do please elucidate. You realize that within his own party he is the most popular president in the history of politics? What do yo propose to do with the tens of millions that support him? Deplorable, yes. Ignorable, no.
ss (NY and Europe)
My relatives who voted for him have PhDs, MBAs, etc! I knew they were conservative before, but I couldn’t have imagined they would go for an ignorant amoral buffoon. This is a persistent myth, but it’s not just uneducated people who support him. Don’t blame it on the poor or the flyover country folks. Heartless and greedy rich creeps wanted tax cuts. They got them.
Ted A (Denver)
This is our warning. This piece speaks for itself. Our last chance to walk from the abyss is the upcoming election.
Jacalyn Carley (Berlin)
Organize visible protest. A better use of time and anger than preaching to the choir. Tyrants fear masses on the streets.
Charlie (San Francisco)
What happened to “Russian collusion”? I had my hopes pinned on Putin not a strong economy for regime change!
ADN (New York City)
@Ted A. Please permit the voice of doom to speak. If you’re counting on the next election to pull us out of our descent into fascism, that game, as my dad would say, is played and over. Republicans have been working at this for 40 years — one-party fascist rule. We’re there and there’s no turning back.
Dave (va.)
"We simply follow orders from above", chilling words we weren't supposed to forget.
northcoastcat (cleveland)
Franz Stangl, a former policeman and eventually commandant of Treblinka (the largest of the extermination camps), continually found ways to rationalize his role in Hitler's final soulution. "Into that darkness: An examination of conscience" by Gitta Sereny, based on interviews with Stangl, shows perfectly where just following orders can lead you.
Concerned Citizen (Anywheresville)
Oh please. Nobody is being killed. Nobody is being tortured. The children are in safe foster homes, just like US children who have lost their parents.
northcoastcat (cleveland)
Franz Stangl went from a simple policeman to commandant of Treblinka, just following orders. From Gitta Sereny's interviews with Stangl in 1972: "There were so many children; did they ever make you think of your children, of how you would feel in the position of those parents?” “No,” he said slowly, “I can’t say I ever thought that way.” He paused. “You see, I rarely saw them as individuals. It was always a huge mass. I sometimes stood on the wall and saw them in the tube. But—how can I explain it—they were naked, packed together, running, being driven with whips like . . . ” “Could you not have changed that?” Sereny asked. “In your position, could you not have stopped the nakedness, the whips, the horror of the cattle pens?” “No, no, no. This was the system. . . . It worked. And because it worked, it was irreversible.”
Paul Wortman (East Setauket, NY)
Thanks, Michelle for giving this the attention is deserves. This is a cruel and inhumane program worthy of the very worst repressive regimes. But, in the era of Donald Trump, who advocates torture and has no capacity for empathy due to his narcissism disorder, this the cruelty that is a daily occurrence whether it is turning his back on the plight of Hispanics in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria who just happen to be American citizens or Hispanic immigrants fleeing for their very lives who seek refugee status here and instead endure legalized kidnapping, it amounts to a "crime against humanity" as the U.N. just announced. But, we see no justice, no restraint, no respect for the "rule of law," but only cowering Republicans only endorsing the autocratic and now tyrannical rule of Trump with their silence. With no one defending democracy and human rights that it champions, we have lost our way and soon may find ourselves among those oppressed when "they come for us."
Todd (Key West,fl)
The left claims they don't support open borders, but if you oppose any and all efforts to reduce illegal immigration or to send back people here illegally then you support de facto open borders. That is an impossible position for any country wishing to remain a functioning nation. Controlling borders is a basic function of government.
Ann (California)
Controlling borders shouldn't mean brutalizing people. Other countries like Canada have come up with principled enlightened practices, that while not perfect are humane and fair. "Obama’s immigration speech"
Julia Holcomb (Leesburg VA)
Straw man. Goldberg did not oppose any and all efforts to reduce illegal immigration.
phil (alameda)
I have learned that anyone who mentions "the left" in a comment is already halfway to being a fascist. The argument is phony. Democrats do not oppose all efforts to reduce illegal immigration. The best way is to enforce the laws against working without papers by prosecuting employers. But that's not some thing fascists would favor, is it?
Rev Wayne (Dorf PA)
I’ve been reading a few of the comments this column has aroused. “The law is the law.” True, and we all know it is applied differently depending of who you are. Our country has been willing, in the past, to welcome and protect those seeking asylum. Now, apparently, there are few sufficiently persecuted people to apply. Now, apparently, even when a person presents him/herself to the border guards that gets you nothing but jail time and separated from your children. And we do this to discourage future people from crossing the border. We use children to discourage people from crossing the border for any reason. And our actions, justified by following “some” law just makes us vicious and cruel. We are expressing how mean we can be; not how generous or kind or protective. We are showing the world how abusive we can be. And, yes, it is disgusting.
dairubo (MN & Taiwan)
In violation of international law as well. Where are all those anti-immigration legal pedants about this violation of law? Torture supporters have no problem with violating laws they don't support. This is in the same class.
Jon (New York)
And just to add, slavery, the Japanese internment camps, the genocide against Native Americans, and the Holocaust, were ALL carried out on the basis of the law. Anyone who hands their conscience over to "the law" without further thought will be a willing instrument of crimes against humanity.
Ann (California)
What you are also pointing out is the need for migration reform and a tiered response. For people who qualify as DACA or who have been living in the U.S. for years, if not decades, doesn't it make sense to give them a path to citizenship? They speak English, most are well-educated established and have contributed to their communities, etc. Why not make those who have already invested in America--citizens? Makes more sense that issuing more H-1 Visas.
Richard Luettgen (New Jersey)
I would ask Michelle – and Sen. Feinstein – how else they would impress upon illegal aliens that simply crossing our border 1) does not make them U.S. citizens, and 2) does not constitute a free ride to San Francisco, where they’re unlikely to be able to find affordable housing anyway – they might try Sen. Merkeley’s Portlandia; and 3) do it in BOTH a humane way that also disincentivizes them from trying again. But we’d be talking at cross-purposes, because Michelle’s and Sen. Feinstein’s real purpose isn’t to optimize treatment of families in detention but to do away with detention and to let them all in anyway. Thus we have this invented euphemism, this curious “undocumented immigrants”. They’re not “immigrants” and not MERELY “undocumented”, but gate-crashers. They’re illegal aliens. The angst of the moment is separating parents from children. I wouldn’t separate the kids from parents, but increase the number of immigration judges materially beyond the increases that already have been made, to more expeditiously process asylum requests and deport those without legitimate claims that much more efficiently. Those who simply walk over the border without first requesting asylum I’d summarily toss back to Mexico. And on that subject of asylum requests, the latest faux-outrage is that spousal abuse no longer is considered legitimate grounds for granting asylum. Wow. This is a serious problem regardless of the society in which any unfortunate woman is abused. However, …
Richard Luettgen (New Jersey)
We have enough of our own abused (and we’re not doing all that well tending to THEM) to actively seek the abused women of other societies. The solution for a Salvadoran woman who is abused by her partner isn’t to escape it by coming to America, but to leave the partner and begin a new life without him – in El Salvador. But … she has children and needs someone to support them! How will that change in America? Whether it’s Italy’s new government turning back a boatload of refugees, or the British voting Brexit on a widely-held fatigue with accepting unlimited numbers of the Middle East’s and Africa’s indigent by European laws, or us, finally enforcing our border policies … the MANY problems for those born into, acculturated within and caught in failed and near-failed societies below our southern border isn’t to escape to an alien society, but to help redeem their own. It unquestionably won’t be easy … but without them it can never be done at all. We have immigration laws for a purpose: largely to limit entrants to those who can support themselves and in numbers that can be assimilated without actually begging that alternative societies be constructed out of human materials on our soil. And those detained are in DETENTION. There are few prisons in America that would meet Sen. Feinstein’s standards for humane treatment. Maybe we START with changing THAT. How many prisoners in our jails and prisons get to keep their kids?
EricR (Tucson)
I was watching a rerun of "Border Wars", featuring Oscar Peru and the crew of the large helicopter he captains. I see it, or one like it, nearly every morning from my perch at the dog park, we're on the flight path between Tucson International/Davis Montham A.F.B. and Nogales. This would also cover the Buenos Aires wildlife refuge and the vast expanse of wilderness from San Miguel to Sasabe to Arivaca and points east. This is brutally hostile terrain and one of my favorite deer hunting spots. I turned the sound off and on my phone brought up the Imperial March from Star Wars, you know it as Darth Vader's theme. The effect was chilling and ironic as it worked every bit as well as Das Valkyrie in "Apocalypse". In these older episodes the agents are more compassionate than the stories one hears these days, and there's no surfing involved. For all the multitudes we have incarcerated, let's remember we catch only a small fraction of those braving that gauntlet, and some number of them die trying. Whatever the disposition of these cases, I see no advantage and a lot of downside to separating young kids from parents. Dealing with the legal system is always dehumanizing, that just makes it worse. While all of this is heartbreaking, and begs for more judges, better facilities and policies, etc., the situation at the border is NOT an exigent crisis, the numbers of attempts are way down and the place is thick with agents. Maybe they should all just buy H1Bs from Jared and Ivanka.
Teg Laer (USA)
This obsession with "illegal aliens" trumped up by the right wing propaganda machine to scapegoat immigrants and refugees with or without papers in order to whip up a frenzy to the point that people will vote for demagogues to "save us" from them is so completely bogus. An immigration policy that institutionalizes cruelty to children is so disproportionate a response to people seeking refuge in the United States, it would be absurd - *if* it weren't so inhumane. That so many people have bought into the necessity of treating people coming across the border so despicably only shows just how far down the rabbit hole this country has gone.
See also