June 19, 2018
Fully 56% of the 1,000 U.S. adults polled by Ipsos on behalf of The Daily Beast this week say that it is not “appropriate” to separate children from their parents at the border—and yet President Donald Trump continues to blame his administration’s zero-tolerance policy incorrectly on the Democrats and to assert that Germany’s more open immigration program has led to a rise in crime.
On June 18, the POTUS tweeted, “The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up.”
Several minutes later, Trump added, “Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture! We don’t want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!”
However, according to a report by USA Today, in May, Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior actually rebutted the claims that Trump currently is making—noting that the total number of crimes committed in the country in 2017 had fallen 5.1% from the previous year.
Case closed? Far from it: Just weeks later, Interior Minister Horst Seehoffer has turned on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, threatening her leadership.
Although he refuted the crime statistics, Seehoffer has created a so-called “migration masterplan” in the interim, according to the UK news outlet, The Daily Mail. Under his proposal, the German border police would be given the right to turn back all asylum-seekers without identity papers and those who are already registered elsewhere in the European Union.
Merkel rejects the idea, believing that it would be perceived by the rest of her allies in the European Union as a “Germany First” decision—and that it would further burden such front-line Mediterranean countries as Italy and Greece.
On the other side of the pond, U.S. immigration rights advocates—most of them, Democrats—support Merkel and are fighting Trump’s hard-line “America First” stance.
With more than 2,000 children already torn from their parents’ arms, a contingent of Democratic legislators insisted on inspecting a facility in McAllen, Texas, where the youngsters were being held this week.
Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), who was part of that group, released a tweet on June 17: “Just left Border Patrol Processing Center in McAllen—aka ‘the dog kennel.’ Witnessed loads of kids massed together in large pens of chain-linked fence …. @realDonald Trump, change you shameful policy today! #FamiliesBelongTogether
And even a few Republicans are pushing back. Representative Susan Collins (R-Maine) commented during an appearance on CBS-TV’s Face the Nation on Sunday that, “What the administration has decided to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that, if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you. That’s traumatizing to the children, who are innocent victims and it is contrary to our values in this country.”
Former First Lady Laura Bush wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post, also on Sunday, in which she said, “I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And It breaks my heart.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan—who rarely says a word against the administration’s policies—admitted, “We don’t want kids to be separated from their parents,” when asked by a pool of reporters, but blamed the situation on “a court ruling,” according to Time magazine.
Will the Trump administration budge? Not if you listen to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has shown little pity for the plight of the children. He spoke in support of the zero-tolerance policy earlier this month: “If people don’t want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them.”
Research contact: gideon.resnick@thedailybeast