Along, no doubt, with many others, I have wondered how low the Trump administration can go. The answer has been given, at least until something more despicable comes along: separating children, including infants, from parents. The government has refused to stop this practice despite complaints by loyal supporters such as Franklin Graham, and by three former First Ladies. Trump has added hypocrisy to the mix by pretending to disapprove the practice. He and his Homeland Security Secretary have tried to shift blame to the Democrats for a policy announced by the current, Republican, Attorney General.
Sessions has attempted to justify that practice by citing the Bible, a ploy which presents several aspects. He referred to Romans 13, and paraphrased verse 1: "obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes." There is no law requiring separation, so apparently he means that laws against illegal immigration must be enforced. Some have entered illegally only because our border agents have refused asylum, leaving illegal entry the only option for those afraid to go back. In any case, enforcing immigration law does not require separation; that simply is the chosen, barbaric, way of discouraging entry.
Romans Chapter 13 also was cited in support of slavery — we must uphold laws of slave states and the Fugitive Slave Act— a history which resonates through Sessions’ southern accent. Sessions’ reading probably is not accurate exegesis, but that’s hardly the point. The use of proof texts is bad enough in religious debate; to resort to it in defense of a government policy demonstrates that policy’s lack of merit.
One measure of Trump’s failure to make America great is the condemnation of the policy of separation by the United Nations Commission for Human Rights. In a statement which labors the obvious for an administration unable to see it, a spokeswoman for the Commission said this:
The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles. The child’s best interest should always come first, including over migration management objectives or other administrative concerns. . . . Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation. . . . We call on the US authorities to adopt non-custodial alternatives that allow children to remain with their families and fulfil the best interests of the child, their right to liberty and their right to family life.
Does this abandonment of civilized principle, this international embarrassment matter to voters? Trump’s job approval rating is, according to Gallup, at an all-time high.