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When you look at Melania Trump's 'I really don't care' jacket, remember the President's worst crime isn't family separation

The treachery goes well beyond tasteless Zara jackets

Nash Riggins
Friday 22 June 2018 13:47
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Melania Trump wears 'I really don't care' jacket to child immigrant detention centre

Donald Trump is a showman at heart. The guy thrives on nail-biting chaos and confusion like a mushroom needs rancid manure to grow. But this week it looks like the Teflon Don has finally found a pile of filth so vile that it actually disagrees a little bit with his tummy.

You’ve seen the disgusting photos everywhere. Hysterical toddlers being ripped from fathers at gunpoint, breastfeeding infants snatched from mothers and kids of all ages being placed in cages. Some even say they were beaten.

The first lady was heading to a child migrant detention centre to witness firsthand the chaos and grief caused by her husband when she was spotted wearing a high street jacket with the slogan “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” emblazoned on the back. Confusion ensued, as her spokesperson claimed there was no hidden message while the president himself said just the opposite in a tweet where he stated that it was somehow meant for the “fake news media”. Regardless, the words resonate – I really do care, as does much of the American public, but it seems unlikely that the current administration does, despite the executive order Trump signed to ostensibly end the practice which he himself caused with his “zero tolerance” policy.

Growing up in the American Midwest, we were schooled to believe nothing in our country should ever remain static. We were taught that ours was a nation of progress, and our collective identity was a flawless patchwork quilt sewn together by the bold exiles and refugees who came before us.

We were told America was a global bastion of liberty and opportunity – a supreme and untouchable moral authority whose integrity would never falter.

Super nice bedtime story, huh?

Yet over the past couple weeks, that generations-old narrative has been knocked off its high horse, trampled and bloodied beyond recognition. Instead, Americans have been forced to confront some hard truths on how our government actually chooses to treat other human beings – and it’s not a very pretty sight.

This was Trump’s bright new idea to discourage parents from trying to make a better life for their kids – a “zero tolerance” policy designed to punish asylum seekers for emulating the countless refugees we Americans like to call grandma and grandpa. Across the month of May, Trump’s policy saw more than 2,300 undocumented children taken from their parents and placed alone in far-flung detention centres.

Cruel and unusual doesn’t quite cover it – and for the first time in years, it seemed Americans had finally found a sliver of common ground to unite us. Business leaders and airlines turned on the president, talking heads were openly weeping on TV and Trump’s own conservative allies branded the policy “ugly and inhumane”. The public outcry over this simply could not be drowned out.

That’s why human rights campaigners breathed a heavy sigh of relief Wednesday after Donald Trump pompously signed an executive order declaring an end to his policy of child separation. It seemed like common sense had finally chalked up a win.

But take a closer look at that executive order, and it turns out Trump’s most horrible crime to date isn’t even locking children in cages – it’s having the balls to try and trick us into thinking he’s actually going to stop doing it. And the treachery goes well beyond tasteless Zara jackets.

The truth is simple: Wednesday’s order will have virtually no impact on Trump’s inhumane immigration policy. The sole difference is that instead of locking innocent kids up alone, we’re now going to lock them in cages with their families.

As per presidential decree, kids will now be jailed alongside their parents while mum and dad undergo criminal and immigration proceedings. This winding process can last for months or even years – meaning under Trump’s fantastic new policy, America will be imprisoning children for longer than ever.

Before you ask: yes, that’s 100 per cent illegal. The US court case Flores v Reno banned this practice more than 20 years ago – the argument being that if an infant has done nothing wrong, then surely you can only keep them in jail for so long, right?

That’s what a normal human being might think, anyway. But our president isn’t a normal human being, now is he? He’s already instructed the Department of Justice to try and amend that ruling ASAP so US border officials are permitted to detain children indefinitely. Like, nonstop. Permanently. Now and forever more.

Oh, and those 2,300 kids who’ve already been taken away from their mums and dads? This executive order won’t affect them. For whatever reason, the Trump administration decided there was no point “grandfathering” outstanding cases – meaning all the children we’ve already rounded up will just stay in baby jail until the government says so.

Is this even real life?

We let this happen. Everyone who kidded themselves into thinking Trump and his uninformed gaggle of bigoted yes-men could actually piece together comprehensive policies that reflected the America we all thought we lived in. This can't go on, and if Americans give even an eighth of a damn about the lives of others, we can’t be fooled into thinking this problem can be swept under a rug and solved with one flamboyant signature.

The Trump administration has totally soiled America’s integrity, and Wednesday’s executive order is nothing but a rancid fart in the wind. We need to demand more from our lawmakers, and we need to do it now – because no matter where we all like to hang our hat on the political spectrum, we are all better than this.

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