The Trump administration decided to work around the time restriction imposed by courts, by no longer treating families as units at these borders. Therefore parents are detained and children are “put into foster care or wherever,” in the infamously blasé words of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Now images of these children sleeping on mats placed on the floor inside of a cage is heart breaking when shown around the country.
As with much of the administration’s actions, it’s difficult to parse how much of this policy is a new moral low for the country and how much of it builds on historical precedent.
As is generally the case, the answer is both.
Forced separation of families was, of course, central to the American regime of slavery. In a system that allowed for hereditary enslavement, children were transformed into property at birth.
As the system of human trafficking grew over the early 19th century, children were regularly sold away from their families for both economic and punitive reasons. Supporters of slavery dismissed moral arguments against this separation, asserting that black people lacked the emotional capacity to truly feel the pain of losing a child or parent.
This historical fact seems to be repeated as we see the Trump administration’s policies regarding immigrants and the U.S. border.
Join Host Tracy L. Bell at 6:30 p.m. EST on “Conversations Of A Sistah” via Blog Talk Radio for her commentary on “The chilling historical echoes of Slavery in the border separation of immigrant families”
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