Many of us are horrified at the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border. The separation is unnecessary on its face and designed solely to intimidate people seeking immigrant or refugee status. We are warehousing children, even very young ones, wherever they can be squeezed in — including abandoned WalMart big box stores and potentially in abandoned military bases.
Our country unfortunately has a long history of such cruel behavior. Slave children were routined sold away from their parents. Native American children were taken on the flimsy pretense that their parents were failing to “assimilate”, and placed into government sponsored residential schools where they were often abused.
“The boarding schools closed in 1896, but another cycle of forcible separation of Native American children from families began in the 1950s when the federal government instituted an adoption program. Native Americans whose parenting practices were perceived to breach white norms or whose conduct was seen as suspicious — conduct as anodyne as taking a child to a hospital or leaving children with a babysitter or extended family members — had their children taken away from them and handed over to white families. People who refused to give up their cultural traditions were particularly vulnerable to losing their kids.
The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 sought to put an end to these practices, though without complete success. Native American children are still disproportionately in foster care programs in many states.”
Enough American voters will eventually come to their senses and put an end to the Trump era. But every child damaged by these cruel policies will be affected to one degree or another for the rest of their lives.
This is our exceptional America.