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Children should never be used as bargaining chips

Written By: - Date published: 8:27 am, June 21st, 2018 - 66 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, immigration, International, us politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

I woke this morning to news that Donald Trump was going to solve the crisis over American based refugee children by signing an executive order.  This seemed to completely contradict his claims that the problem was all the Democrat’s fault but when has that ever stopped the orange one?

But there is a large sting to the announcement.  Children will now not be taken from their parents but instead will be locked up with them.  And given the current turmoil in the branch of the Judicial system that deals with Immigration cases this could take a long time.  The Guardian reports there is currently a backlog of 714,000 cases, an increase of 171,000 since Trump took power.  The article also suggests that Jeff Sessions and the Trump Administration are trying to only appoint Judges with the “right” world view.

This is also in breach of existing US law as well as International Conventions on the rights of children.  From the New York Times:

The order said that officials will continue to criminally prosecute everyone who crosses the border illegally, but will seek to find or build facilities that can hold families — parents and children together — instead of separating them while their legal cases are considered by the courts.

Mr. Trump’s executive order directed the government’s lawyers to ask for a modification of an existing 1997 consent decree, known as the Flores settlement, that currently prohibits the federal government from keeping children in immigration detention — even if they are with their parents — for more than 20 days.

But it is unclear whether the court will agree to that request. If not, the president is likely to face an immediate legal challenge from immigration activists on behalf of families that are detained in makeshift facilities.

Get that.  Same mass prosecution of anyone entering the US “illegally”, but instead of their children now being separated from them they will be imprisoned with them.

I think that claims of a back down and of success are premature.

And the chaos within the Republican Party’s ranks continue with former Trump lawyer and deputy finance chair of the Republican Finance Committee resigning his Party position and saying this about the separation of families at the U.S. border:

As the son of a Polish holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy is heart wrenching.  While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips.”

It appears that Cohen is also willing to give information to Federal Investigators about Trump.

One wonders if the two events are linked.  There does seem to be spike in outlandish attention seeking behaviour by Trump every time he is under personal pressure.

66 comments on “Children should never be used as bargaining chips”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Once Cohen flips, the window of opportunity for other members of the Reichskabinett will close quickly. Ditto for Republican members of Congress.

    Closer to home, Winston Peters’ cowardice is a stain on New Zealand.

  2. marty mars 2

    The Trump supporters there and here will be moaning that the child crisis actors didn’t deliver enough for the cost of them – oh and Obama/Clinton did worse

    • soddenleaf 2.1

      All a distraction. Kim got Trump to take the US off the U.N. human rights council. It was a win either way. Either Trump kept the hardline seperating kids from parents or he took the hammer of U.N. human rights abuses of N.Korea away at Kim’s insistance

  3. DH 3

    Not sure I’m following this. Seems apparent it’s the other side using children as bargaining chips here,

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      Sounds like you’ve been lied to. What’s your excuse for believing lies?

      U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Monday confirmed a Reuters report that he was considering a proposal to separate women and children who cross the U.S. border with Mexico illegally, a policy shift he said was aimed at deterring people from making a dangerous journey.

      March 7th 2017.

      So when people talk about “the banality of evil”, it’s you.

      • Richard McGrath 3.1.1

        OAF, you have a nasty spiteful way with words – the initial comment did not warrant that sort of venom. The left have used kids as bargaining chips, e.g. Time magazine with its fake photo of Trump looking down at a ‘separated’ child, who was not in fact separated from her mother, but separated from her father (and siblings IIRC) by her mother in Honduras, and dragged across Mexico, bypassing the ten U.S. offices in that country where asylum seekers can initiate the process of legal immigration.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Irony: a concentration camp doctor gives advice on ethics.

          • Richard McGrath

            Ha! I was waiting for that. Only concentration camp I know of where the inmates eat better than the local population. Are you suggesting that detainees should have no medical care? And way off topic – the thread is about children being used as bargaining chips. Where is the moderator here?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              You think an illustration is equivalent to kidnapping and extortion. What could you possibly offer this topic?

  4. Ad 4

    Robert Frost reads nicely on immigration here

    Mending Wall

    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
    And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
    And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

    The work of hunters is another thing:
    I have come after them and made repair
    Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
    But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,

    To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
    No one has seen them made or heard them made,
    But at spring mending-time we find them there.
    I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;

    And on a day we meet to walk the line
    And set the wall between us once again.
    We keep the wall between us as we go.
    To each the boulders that have fallen to each.

    And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
    We have to use a spell to make them balance:
    “Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
    We wear our fingers rough with handling them.

    Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
    One on a side. It comes to little more:
    There where it is we do not need the wall:
    He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

    My apple trees will never get across
    And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
    He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
    Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder

    If I could put a notion in his head:
    “Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
    Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
    Before I built a wall I’d ask to know

    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offence.
    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,

    But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
    He said it for himself. I see him there
    Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
    In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.

    He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
    Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
    He will not go behind his father’s saying,
    And he likes having thought of it so well

    He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

  5. adam 5

    How is this any better? It still treats people like criminals for looking for a better life. And it still locks them up.

    Incrementally our humanity is being stripped away.

    People are so use to taking the lesser evil, they celebrating this evil, what a world we live in.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      It still treats people like criminals for looking for a better life.

      Perhaps they should try looking in their own country rather than expecting someone else to provide it?

      • Chris 5.1.1

        country someone else

        • Draco T Bastard

          You think it’s a bad idea that they should resolve the issues that they have and should, instead, run away?

          Malthus was right and millions of people suddenly deciding that they don’t like the neighbourhood and moving somewhere else is going to over stress that somewhere else. Especially when that somewhere else is already over populated.

          Physical reality does apply.

          • Chris

            The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Yeah, actually they are.

              • Chris

                If they are then every persecuted person must become either an activist or a martyr.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  They’re letting the criminals run rampant. We stopped them a few centuries ago and it’s what they need to do now.

                  Doing so would be better for them, their country and the world.

                  • Chris

                    Sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong if someone chooses to be something other than an activist or a martyr.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Leaving corruption in the world isn’t wrong?

                    • Chris

                      So it’s wrong for a widow with young kids struggling to survive to try to leave a place in search of somewhere she can give her children a better life because she personally must stay and fight against the violence and mayhem and corruption?

    • Drowsy M. Kram 5.2

      ‘Our’ humanity is being stripped away because the ‘elites’ recognise that, as their wealth continues to expand, there will insufficient finite residual resources to go around.

      ‘Fair’ and ‘share’ are not in the 0.001% lexicon.

    • Wayne 5.3

      Isn’t this now effectively the same as the Australian solution for boat people?
      The Aussies basically put people (whole families) in offshore camps. Presumably the US is not going to put all these people in regular jails, but in detention camps. No doubt they will have the choice of returning to their country of origin, or wait to appear in front of a court/immigration tribunal.
      What would NZ do if a whole lot of people arrived illegally on a boat? Would they be able to go into society effectively on bail, or would they be detained in say Waiouru military camp (which could easily be modified for this purpose)?These days it is mostly empty anyway

      • Stuart Munro 5.3.1

        It’s unlikely to happen, but Waiouru would be a particularly bad choice.

        It has such a harsh climate that being sent there could be mistaken for a punishment in and of itself. Long term imprisonment is a very poor response to these kinds of people – they need to be assimilated or repatriated with reasonable speed, and the Waiouru community isn’t set up for the former.

        • Wayne

          I have spent a lot of time in Waiouru. The summer climate is actually very nice, but winters are cold and wet.
          The buildings are well heated, there are good dining halls and lots of recreational buildings, a heated pool and plenty of buildings that can be used as classrooms.
          Is it the same as being in a town, no.
          I mentioned Waiouru because it already exists.
          The other alternative, obviously favoured by some, is to simply let a group of people illegally arriving by boat to immediately go into the general community and effectively become new bona vide immigrants. I am not sure even Labour would do that.

          • Stuart Munro

            “The other alternative, obviously favoured by some, is to simply let a group of people illegally arriving by boat to immediately go into the general community”

            What pathetic rubbish.

            We need not concern ourselves with gulag style internment camps for voluntary migrants, unless we are desperate to destroy our reputation as a modern humanist nation. Which National presumably is.

            It’s like P testing and workplace drug testing – a solution lacking a problem.

            • Draco T Bastard

              We need not concern ourselves with gulag style internment camps for voluntary migrants, unless we are desperate to destroy our reputation as a modern humanist nation.

              We do have to consider reality and how many people that out country can sustain.

              Open borders would have our resources massively over used in short order.

              In fact, that’s already a problem.

              • Stuart Munro


                But flotillas of boat refugees heading for NZ has never happened. Wayne’s object is to create a panic, not to generate worthwhile solutions.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  But flotillas of boat refugees heading for NZ has never happened.

                  That’s not proof that they won’t happen.

                  …not to generate worthwhile solutions.

                  You seem to be intent on ignoring the solution of not being over-populated in the first place and all because you think we should take everyone who arrives with a refugee tag on them.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    As it stands we can readily accommodate our spontaneous migrants.

                    Let us see a single boat arrive before we distress ourselves about flotillas.

                    It would be responsible to prepare for a boat arrival – it would make decent prep for any of the natural disasters that leave people in need of temporary housing.

                    “You seem to be intent on ignoring the solution of not being over-populated”

                    In fact prudent planned and consensual population growth if any, is my preference, but between the blithering incompetence of Treasury, the real estate speculators’ corruption of the National party, and Labour’s supercilious presumption that they know best, no-one is consulting ordinary New Zealanders about their expectations in regard to migration.

                    It is be imposed upon us willy nilly, along with every other frankly stupid policy in my lifetime.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      As it stands we can readily accommodate our spontaneous migrants.

                      As it stands we can’t accommodate the migrants that arrive here under due process.

                      And if we simply take all that arrive all that’s going to happen is that more will come. Australia is correct about that.

                      It is be imposed upon us willy nilly, along with every other frankly stupid policy in my lifetime.

                      True. We wouldn’t have the policies that we have if we actually had democracy.

                      But that’s why we have Representative Democracy – to prevent actual democracy.

            • Chris

              As usual, no more from spray and walk away wayne. What a tosser.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.3.2

        the same as the Australian solution

        Some of us (obviously not you) are as disgusted by those nazis as we are with the US versions.

        What should we do if more refugees start arriving here? Monitor authoritarian centrist hate groups more closely.

        Seeking asylum is not illegal, no matter how much you wish it was.

      • D'Esterre 5.3.3

        Wayne: “Isn’t this now effectively the same as the Australian solution for boat people?”

        You’re not the first to have noticed this. Many of us – including some Australians – have remarked on it.

        It seems to have slowed, or even stopped, the boats and the people-traffickers, though. A harsh regime, but – from what I’ve heard – many, perhaps most, Australians accept the necessity for it. Australian cities are already under significant environmental pressure from the size of the population. The habitable part of Oz is much more sensitive ecologically than many people realise.

        “What would NZ do if a whole lot of people arrived illegally on a boat?”

        Never say never, I guess, and there needs to be contingency planning for it. But – given our isolation in the middle of unforgiving seas – it’s implausible that illegals would get here from Indonesia or anywhere else on the sorts of boats we’ve seen on TV. They would need much sturdier vessels.

        Waiouru? Anybody from the tropics going there in winter would want to be on the first train – or bus – out of there, I’d have thought.

  6. Puckish Rogue 6

    “Children should never be used as bargaining chips”

    Except when school teachers go on strike

    • AB 6.1

      If you are so intent on deliberately creating false equivalences, what say we re-phrase the original statement to make your deceit impossible?
      For example to this:
      “the terror and suffering of children should never be used as a bargaining chip”

      • Puckish Rogue 6.1.1

        No I think it stands as is

        • Draco T Bastard

          No, it doesn’t. Teachers going on strike isn’t an attack upon children as incarcerating them is.

          • Puckish Rogue

            The intent is similar though the execution is very different

            • Stuart Munro


              As if Tolley’s far-right nightmares weren’t doing exactly the same thing.

            • Draco T Bastard

              There is no intent by the teachers to harm the children. Nor any action that will do so.

    • Doogs 6.2

      PR – re 6
      Of all the things you have said as you drag your stench-filled red herring across the tracks of genuine discussion here on TS, this, to me is the most offensive.

      I suppose bus drivers don’t hold commuters to ransom when they are looking for a decent wage, eh?

      I suppose nurses (topical) don’t use patients as bargaining chips for better pay and conditions, eh?

      I don’t suppose, by any straight-thinking logical possibility, that farmers and their animals are kept captive when the freezing workers are negotiating another round, eh?

      Could it be that businesses and manufacturers are disadvantaged when wharfies need further remuneration for their efforts, eh?

      Shall I go on? Get the idea, do you?

      This the trolliest piece of fuck-shite I have seen in a while.

      Do you live under a bridge, or . . . . no . . . . wait, you live under a Bridges. Figures!

      • Puckish Rogue 6.2.1

        Your reaction is why school teachers use children

        • Draco T Bastard

          School teachers don’t use children.

          Although, as Stuart points out, National and other RWNJs certainly do.

        • Doogs

          Just checked back to see if you had a reaction – and you did . . . .

          Seems you just have to have the last word, eh?

          Your comparison of Trump’s use of children as levers to discourage refugees (for that’s what they are) has no similarity to teachers striking for improved pay and conditions – none whatsoever. Industrial action, as I alluded to in my comment at 6.2, is a legitimate device to leverage a bit of power for relatively powerless workers who feel aggrieved about their lack of proper remuneration.

          To twist that comparison into what Trump is doing is nothing short of mischievous and nasty trolling. Well, you got a reaction. It won’t teach you anything, because your MO is to annoy and disrupt. Just so long as you know how odious your contributions are. But then again . . . .

          BTW have you seen the latest ‘Time’ cover. Says it all about Trump and his callousness really.

  7. Bill 7

    Manus Island. Calais

    But then, what Trump does, come’s out the blue and has no precedent. Apparently.

    And before any idiot jumps up to dismiss and shut down with some nonsense line about my comment being a piece of “whatabouterism”, I have a question.

    Who among the multiple commentators over the past days have even so much as thought about any possible parallel with what the Trump admin is doing/has done and what other jurisdictions aside from the US have done/are doing?

    Trump isn’t ‘out of the blue’. Trump is one natural consequence of liberal configurations of power and accountability, just as Stalin was one natural consequence of Bolshevism’s configurations of power and accountability.

    And whereas few people have any problem condemning the entire political and ideological underpinnings of the USSR, I find it puzzling that so many act as apologists for the political and ideological underpinnings of liberalism – in spite of it throwing up, not just Trump, but such nice figures as Mussolini and Hitler in the past.

    • Stunned Mullet 7.1

      Thanks Bill – I was going to comment in a very similar manner, what would we do/how would we behave if we had similar numbers of people arriving at our border ?

      • Bill 7.1.1

        Well, no Stunned Mullet. Your questions aren’t really similar to my comment at all, insofar as yours could be taken as being in an apologist vein of thought, while my comment is anything but that.

        • Stunned Mullet

          FFS – How is my comment in any way apologist ?

          • Bill

            The word could was in my comment Stunned.

            • Stunned mullet

              FFS – this site really is plumbing the depths of cakholedness I’m doing a Felix and leaving it to the brotherhood of goat bothers and other assorted ‘tards.

    • Sabine 7.3

      the rabbit fence comes to mind.

      the schools for indians in canada.

      the schools for indians in the US.

      and of course Germany, where the kids where immediately sorted to either serve as guinea pigs in the name of science or they were fed to the ovens immediately. btw.

      Trump is the result of racism. Fear of loss of status and naked racism.

      Trump is the result of the fearful white minority that is waking up to the truth that on this planet not only did they ‘discover’ all the continents that were to discover, but they also for the very large part fucked this planet up for every one in the everlasting greed for more money. Trump being a stellar example for this greed with his gilded towers and shitter.

      As for seperating nursing babies,toddlers, and older children, maybe you could say ‘the parents had it coming’. But it would be at least fair to admit that the refugees from South America are refugees due to US American interference since fucking ever. Regardless of conservatives or ‘liberals’.
      But i would ask everyone to just for one moment to think about the fact that the children were not asked, and are now being held in ‘tender age camps’ and ‘tent open air camps’ in the desert for the older ones.

      the girls – no one fucking nows where they are. because all that the journalists so far have seen are the boys.

      as for being able to re-united these children. Nope, the Trump administration don’t do no stinking record keeping.
      So parents have been deported and god/goddess or the fucking devil don’t know where they kids are.

      the US is literally kidnapping children. They are stealing them.

      so yeah, go tell us more of the evils of neo – liberalism – a word that has no meaning to anyone younger then fifty.

      And i hope to dog, that you and your family never ever think of migrating or seeking refugee. Cause it would be ok to rip your family apart so that someone can use you and your family as bargaining chips worth 25 fucking billions to build a fucking wall.

      Why don’t you tell us again how global warming is gonna affect the world.

      • Bill 7.3.1

        I did migrate. Trump is the result of liberalism, not fascism. And I never made any mention of neo-liberalism (seldom do).

        And where do you get this notion that I view what’s happening in ‘the states’ as being in any way acceptable? (At least, I guess that’s the thought you were running on when you wrote the nonsense of your second last para.)

        And you’ll be pleased to hear there’s a post on AGW scheduled for tomorrow morning.

  8. D'Esterre 8

    I had the same visceral reaction to the picture of the crying Honduran toddler, as I did to that awful image from Bush jnr’s insane adventure in Iraq. It was of a terrified little girl crouched screaming and blood-spattered against a wall, after her parents were killed by US soldiers firing on the family car. Many of you will be familiar with it.

    These images in particular are a vivid, heart-wrenching illustration of the sheer, pointless, blinding lunacy of a particular policy. There has to be a better way!

    In this household, we were vocal opponents of the Iraq invasion. We were among the many people who marched on parliament, imploring the Clark administration not to get our polity involved in it.

    Even had that not been the case, the desperate image of that little girl would have turned me against the Iraq invasion. I cannot imagine any parent feeling differently.

    Unfortunately, we here are in no position to lecture the Americans on how they deal with illegal migrants. We’ll never have a land border with any other country, lucky us.

    In addition, we take a vanishingly small number of refugees, compared with the flood of people coming over the Mexican border.

    We’ve been to southern California only once, about 20 years ago. Even then, it was impossible to avoid noticing the huge numbers of central and southern Americans in that part of the world. How many of them were legitimately there? No way for us to know.

    I thank Noam Chomsky for informing me as to the complexity of the factors underlying the pressures of migration into the US.

    Any polity has – or ought to have – the right to manage the numbers of migrants and refugees it is asked to accept. Even given the shameful record of US meddling in the polities of central and southern America and the Caribbean, it’s still entitled to control migration over its borders. The question is how it does that humanely.

  9. Ed 9

    Galloway nails it.

    “If you support Israel’s crimes, if you supported the assault that broke Libya, if you supported the “infestation” of Syria by foreign head-choppers, if you back the genocide in Yemen but are upset by crying children in your own camps – you are just a hypocrite. That’s all. “

    • Cemetery Jones 9.1

      Brendan O’Neill said much the same:


      “Why is Rachel Maddow made more upset by Mexican infants being temporarily taken from their mothers than she is by the bombing to death of 27 Libyan women and children, most of whom were asleep in their beds at the time? Or to put it another way: why does Ms Maddow weep over bad things Trump does where she never did, at least not publicly, over the bad things Obama and his war-mongering sidekick Hillary Clinton did? Welcome to the era of partisan tears, where you’ll win liberal pity only if the politician making your life a misery is someone they already hate. If it’s someone they like, screw you – you’re on your own.”

  10. D'Esterre 10

    Ed: “Galloway nails it.”

    Yup, he’s got it exactly.

  11. D'Esterre 11

    Wayne: “I am not sure even Labour would do that.”

    Especially not Labour, I’d have thought. Labour’s core principles are collectivist: the notion of people just being dumped in the community sounds very individualist, to me.

    The Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre had its origins in 1953 – under the aegis of a National government. It was refurbished in 1979 – also under the aegis of a National government, of course. But back then, even National governments had more collectivist impulses than is now the case.

    And before Mangere was established, it was the Fraser government which, in the 1940s, set up the camp at Pahiatua for the Polish refugee children. That camp was later used to house war refugees who’d been accepted as immigrants. Those refugees were treated similarly to people at Mangere today: crash courses in English and life in NZ. They were also found employment.

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