EDITORIAL: Images of suffering children reflect new American reality

They’re sounds and images that could melt the coldest of hearts. But the heart-wrenching scenes playing out along the southern U.S. border are not enough to cut through the xenophobic zeal that now passes itself off as American immigration policy.

Recordings surfaced this week of sobbing toddlers crying out for their mama and papa from where they were being detained in make-shift cages set up in former department stores and other centres along the Mexican border. The recordings, along with photographs of crying youngsters, prompted many opponents of the new policy to protest “This is not who we are,” despite the growing evidence to the contrary.

The Trump administration has fully embraced the family separation policy, although its reasons for doing so continue to evolve in search of a more palatable option.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was among the first to speak out in favour of the policy that has stripped an estimated 2,000 children away from their parents. Sessions cited Romans 13 in the Bible, calling on Americans “ to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

But the attempt to lay the blame for what many experts are calling state-sponsored child abuse at the feet of God didn’t sit well with the public, prompting condemnation from religious leaders across all denominations.

It then fell upon Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to sing the praises of the new Trump administration policy. “We will not apologize for the job we do … that the American people expect us to do,” she said.

When that failed to drum up support, President Trump himself fell back on his old standby of blaming his political opponents for the unpopular aspects of his own policies. The president signed an executive order Wednesday, calling for an end to the separation of children from their parents. That policy shift won’t end the imprisonment of children, however, just keep them detained alongside their parents.

But the images of these children won’t easily escape the consciousness of a world shocked by the U.S. actions. And the damage inflicted on those children will be a permanent stain on a government willing to use innocent youngsters as pawns in a political game.

Just Posted

Horses from Victoria Carriage Tours involved in second incident in three months

Witnesses: Horses veered into a parked vehicle, smashing windows, climbing onto roof with front hooves

Stolen Search and Rescue dog harness replaced by donation

Moxxii’s specialized harness was stolen at the Pet-A-Palooza festival

Seaplane flights cancelled between Victoria and Vancouver due to smoke

Harbour Air has grounded flights travelling through the Georgia Strait

First stores open in Victoria’s expanded Mayfair shopping centre

Construction project will add about 100,000 square feet of retail space and 400 parking stalls

Smoke from wildfires delivers jolt to Greater Victoria air quality

Online map collects air quality from home monitors

PHOTOS: Puppy love makes a splash at St. Ann’s Academy

Puppies stampede, dive and do yoga at Victoria’s largest outdoor pet festival

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Canada’s team chasing elusive gold medal at women’s baseball World Cup

Canada, ranked No. 2 behind Japan, opens play Wednesday against No. 10 Hong Kong

Former B.C. detective gets 20 months in jail for kissing teen witnesses

James Fisher, formerly with Vancouver police department, pleaded guilty to three charges in June

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark criticizes feds for buying pipeline

The $4.5 billion purchase of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline second worst decision, she said

New B.C. Hydro electric car chargers launch on Vancouver Island

Fast-chargers to reduce ‘range anxiety’ for B.C. electric car drivers

‘Takes more courage to fail’: B.C. ultra-marathon swimmer reflects on cancelled try at record

Susan Simmons halted her swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back because of hypothermia

Animals moved from B.C. Interior shelters to make way for pets displaced by wildfires

The Maple Ridge SPCA houses animals to make space for pets evacuated from B.C.’s burning interior.

$21.5 million medical pot plant to be built in B.C.

The facility is to be built in Princeton

Most Read