What Melania Trump Got Wrong and Right While Visiting Migrant Children in Texas
Two week ago, the First Lady’s spokesperson Stephanie Grisham released a statement from Melania Trump condemning the separation of migrant children from their parents that recently crossed our border to seek asylum as a refugee.
“The First Lady hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a nation that governs with heart.”
I disagree with Mrs. Trump “both sides,” rhetoric, considering our immigration policy under prior presidents never required the separation of children from their parents — in fact, our country’s legacy consists of keeping families together unless the parental guardians faced criminal charges and jail time. And I want to be very clear, seeking asylum in The United States of America is not a crime.
According to American Immigration Council:
“Asylum is a protection granted to foreign nationals already in the United States or at the border who meet the international law definition of a ‘refugee.’” The United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 ascribe to this description of what constitutes a refugee, and Congress ratified the “U.S. Immigration law in the Refugee Act of 1980.”
To wit: Any notion that “both sides” carry blame regarding the recent indictment of separating immigrant children from their family is pure nonsense. Trump has long signaled a warning about “caravans” of immigrants crossing our border — referring to a strict “zero tolerance” policy preference in immigration.
Earlier in the month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible, Romans 13 to excuse Trump’s policy on separating children from their parents at the border. Per USA Today, Sessions said, “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the order.” Sessions went on to say, “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.” Not only was this a gross statement, but it was a manipulation of scripture.
That said, what matters now is the First Lady spoke out against her husband’s policy. That’s no easy feat. It shows she’s able to rise to the occasion of a “call to arms,” and that she’s an independent thinker, which I long suspected despite my reservations regarding specific aspects to her character (i.e., birther supporter).
Our country is at a moral impasse. We need leaders that can stand up and address what’s right and what’s wrong. Trump’s policy of separating children from their family is cruel. Again, it wasn’t the tradition in practice with past presidencies. Our current immigration policy is specific to the ideology of alt-right Stephen Miller, senior advisor on policy to the president.
What I’ve like about Mrs. Trump, is her dedication to her son. I believe the love she feels for Barron Trump as his mother, along with the protectionism that comes with motherhood, is what drove her to speak up and loudly against harming the mental and physical stability of children. Several doctors have described separating children from their parents as child abuse. Who could ignore such a description? Not Mrs. Trump, that’s who.
On Thursday, Melania Trump made a surprise visit to Texas to visit migrant children in a shelter. She inquired about the kid’s well-being, including the timelines for reuniting the children with their parents. But of course, there was more focus on her jacket that said, “I REALLY DON’T CARE. DO YOU?”
Look, her fashion choice was Marie Antoinette, at best. But the Trump family doesn’t tend to think about how their actions reflect America. They should, but they don’t. I suspect Mrs. Trump didn’t even second guess her attire, reserving all thought to the mission of getting to Texas, and if she meant to be spiteful, then shame on her.
In response to the boiling outrage over the jacket, Grisham tweeted:
“Today’s visit w the children in Texas impacted @FLOTUS greatly. If media would spend their time & energy on her actions & efforts to help kids — rather than speculate & focus on her wardrobe — we could get so much accomplished on behalf of children. #SheCares #ItsJustAJacket”
Honestly, I refuse to get caught up in the controversy jacket storm because I am tired of the day-to-day outrage.
Mrs. Trump showed up, and to me, that’s most important. From her elitist world, she took time to show that she’s capable of caring beyond releasing a press statement. That she likely cares for the well-being of these children — many of them babies and toddlers — that are frightened, lost, and confused. And I pray Mrs. Trump appearance at the shelter goes beyond a photo-op and rhetoric, that Mrs. Trump will partake in an intense tour of every facility that houses these children, including demanding the media has full access to the facilities to document conditions to the public without interference from the Trump administration.
For once, I wish the media would give Mrs. Trump credit for doing something outside the parameters of our current administration.
Again, this can’t be easy for her, considering she’s married to a very vocal man who demands loyalty. Allegedly she spoke with her husband and expressed her concerns about the administrations’ immigration policy. And just a few days after Donald Trump issued an executive order to end the separation of migrant children from their families. Despite the vagueness of the executive order, it’s a start. Mrs. Trump, along with the many activists, guided this change in policy. Hopefully, she will guide Trump further toward making more morally right choices when it comes to all children no matter their creed and color.
I may be a hardcore liberal and dislike Trump’s overall immigration policy, but I’m not too proud to say, thank you to Mrs. Trump for finally getting something mostly right, even if that included disagreeing publicly with your husband.