Minnesotans respond to family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border | Minnesota Public Radio News

Minnesotans respond to family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border

Administration opponents and allies this week reacted to pictures and sounds of young children traumatized by their separation from their parents at the hands of U.S. authorities. President Trump has since signed an executive order on Wednesday ending his administration's policy. Here's what some Minnesotans had to say.

    Administration opponents and allies this week reacted to pictures and sounds of young children traumatized by their separation from their parents at the hands of U.S. authorities. Here's what some Minnesotans had to say.
    • Trump's executive order on family separation: Here's what it does and doesn't do
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    “Sickens me to see our government pushing this travesty” — Susan Abrahamson
    “’Zero tolerance’ is not a policy, it's a slogan, with unclear meaning. Does it mean arresting everyone who comes across the border illegally? Any border? It doesn't speak to the nature, type, or length of their detention. And it certainly doesn't speak to the developmental needs of children who are affected by the policy.” — Robert Van Siclen
    “This policy is a clear indication of what extreme right policy positions will lead to when fully implemented. The lack of concern or compassion for young children will be extended to a whole host of people, including the poor, the homeless, sick and ill people, working people, retired people, etc. If they treat defenseless children this way, they will treat others just a badly.” — William Conger
    “It's disgusting and Trump needs to be stopped.” — Jamie Larson
    “Thank you for asking. My thoughts are the same as when Obama did the same thing in 2014. As you probably know most of the first photos that were published now showing kids in cages were from 2014. So my question to you is ‘did you ask listeners the same question then?’ There are millions of children in the USA who are not being taken care of, and starving. Many of the children at the border did not come with their parents, they are smuggled into our country by gangs. We need to seal the border so we can control who comes in. Obama was president for 8 years and did nothing for African-American children even in Minneapolis and St Paul are children are not being educated. Democrats want two things, turn illegals into voters and defeat Trump.” — Mel Soderholm
    “This Trump Administration policy is outrageous and morally objectionable. All Americans now are having their tax dollars spent on a crazy round up of young children that has drawn international condemnation and scorn.  Walls, fences, ICE and all the rest will not work now, never have in the past, and detract from real solutions.” — Tom Jorgens
    “I understand that we can't take in everyone who wants to come and live in the U.S. It seems to be a very complex and nuanced issue. I have to wonder if it wouldn't be cheaper to militarize the border, rather than building a wall for billions of dollars. It's unfortunate that the present administration isn't interested in working with other countries and the U.N. in working on solving the problems in the countries in Latin America. So all those folks won't feel that the only choice that they have is leaving their countries.” — Steve Valencic
    “What is happening with families being separated at the border is an outrage.  Trump blaming it on Democrats is absurd.  His administration created the policy, and he can reverse it with one phone call.  Yet he'd rather hold children hostage to get what he wants in legislation and build his wall.  We can figure out how to secure the border without ripping children away from parents.” — Randall Bachman
    “It has been needed for a very long time. Why have laws on the books concerning these issues, and then have mayors and governors say we don't like this, we will choose not to enforce the law. Not only that, but then go out and advertise the fact that people who break the law will be championed as oppressed victims! The problem with this country today is too many people think that compromise is a dirty word and refuse to accept the truth. If you don't like the laws on the books rally your legislators to change the laws! Do not just ignore them, pretend that they do not exist and scream at the top of your lungs that anyone with a different viewpoint is a hateful human being!” — Mike Vande Kamp
    “It is unbelievably cynical and immoral to torture thousands of children and hold their emotional well-being hostage to a political agenda.” — Jeffery Knudson
    “I believe that entering a country illegally, no matter where on the planet, is a criminal act of the highest degree. I believe all transgressors should be treated consistently in accordance with the laws of the country.  ‘Zero tolerance’ is another liberal word play designed to impugn the character of citizens who aren't in step with the PC agenda. It seeks to portray persons who value honesty and fairness as ‘intolerant.’  We have allowed the illegal immigration problem to increase in magnitude and we need to address it immediately, as is being done, for the welfare of all concerned parties.  An ‘open borders’ mentality is self-righteous and easy to espouse when the extent of your life experience is some hashtag activism and your total community financial responsibility is a few blood orange porters, a puppy rescue and a periodic pair of nerd glasses.” — John Bilski
    “The "zero tolerance" policy is a fascist, racist obscenity, and a black mark on the United States that will never be washed away - just like Japanese internment camps during WWII.” — Wolfe Moilter
    “There is so much hyperbole thrown around that people have become inured to alarmist-sounding language, but our government is committing an actual atrocity. Our so-called president is holding infants and toddlers as political hostages. This is a literal horror show, and I am horrified.” — Lisa Leonard
    “This policy is unconscionable in the face of what we now know about the neurological development in children. These traumatic separations may be causing permanent damage to these children’s development and social adjustment. It is a political stunt to raise the bar on asylum seekers so they will stop trying to escape their terrible home situations.  Blaming the Democrats ‘for zero tolerance laws’ is ridiculous.  This is a crisis, like DACA, which was entirely created by the ignorant, knee jerk action by Trump and his conspiracy addled mind.” — Stephen Troutman
    I listened to a very detailed explanation of the law regarding those from non-contiguous countries and the how it applies differently to those who enter illegally.  The law was crafted to help determine who is telling the truth and who is not. The explanation that I listened to read the law verbatim and did not play whining kids in the background. It was an adult discussion described accurately. My thoughts were completely in the understanding mode after this.  Also, the separations have been taking place long before President Trump took office.” — Lee von Lehe
    “In the 1930s, no one wanted to believe Hitler and his emerging policies especially against Jews. What we are watching right now is Hitler's rise to power replayed with social media. I cannot describe the revulsion I feel at every lie, every fraudulent justification, every dog-whistle comment that comes out of the While House. Each time Sessions or Huckabee uses the Bible as a supporting document I want to vomit. I hope the children's crisis is the tipping point. we cannot afford to be silent or we are complicit in the inhumane treatment of strangers in our own land.  Six times we are reminded: ‘You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt’(Ex.22:20).” — Susan Siegfried
    “As a parent of a two-year-old and eleven-year-old, my heart is breaking as I see the pictures and listen to the children crying and being traumatized who are being separated from their family. I am disgusted that anyone would use this to place blame or skirt responsibility rather than correcting a bad policy. I do believe that the Trump administration can fix it today. I have called upon my elected officials to urge Trump to end these concentration camps for children and unnecessarily traumatized kids.” — Theresa Flinck
    “Immoral, illegal, reprehensible, outraged. I am an Advocacy Director for a national women’s organization and have compiled information for members to take actions — public protests/join Poor People’s Campaign planned for this weekend; writing to U.S. representatives and senators (Sen Tina Smith has already sponsored HELP Separated Children Act S.2937), contribute to ACLU as they are bringing suit against this policy, etc. We have to do more than wring our hands in despair — that’s what our frail democracy requires.” — Kathleen Laurila
    “It’s an unattainable policy. Foolish. Deters from finding a good /moral /fair solution.” — Tim Williams
    “Why should this surprise any of us as American citizens? Consider the legacy of slavery and the marginalization of the entire African-American population. Consider the systematic eradication of Native Americans and the history of their marginalization. Consider the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and its long term effects on Chinese wanting to immigrate to this country.  Consider the rounding up of Japanese American citizens during World War II. Consider the long-term use of peoples ‘south of the border’ to work the food industry from farms and vineyards to slaughter houses and to keep this workforce as ‘non citizens.’  This country has a long history of putting economic and civil obstacles in the road of anyone that was not white northern European and protestant.” — Patrick Basile
    “Prosecution of asylum seekers violates international refugee law, U.S. treaty obligations, and is contrary to federal statutory asylum procedures. As a result of this policy children are being harmed. Deterring asylum seekers is illegal and immoral. Caging children is disgusting. It's part of a sustained attempt by the administration to undermine U.S. commitment to refugee protection.” — Michele Garnett McKenzie
    “It is immoral and illegal. Separating children from their parents as leverage to get them to admit to crime is unconscionable. It is illegal to arrest people without a warrant out reasonable cause.” — Lucas Brun
    “When people cross the border they are breaking the law. When a U.S. citizen breaks the law and goes to jail they are separated from their family. Ten thousand of the children being held were sent here alone without their family, brought by strangers and/or smugglers. The remainder were separated when their parents were jailed for breaking the law. Children do or go to jail when their parents break the law.” — Bernie Bauhof
    “The news media should be ashamed of itself. For years the children at the border and across America have been abused and abandoned. Newsweek specifically praised the idea the Obama administration had twenty thousand immigrant children under the care of HHS. That's 8,000 more than now. Of the 12,000 ‘children’ 10,000 came to our country unaccompanied. This whole issue is a crass political stunt aimed at getting re-elected rather than addressing the problem. If they cared about our children they would get serious about fixing the schools. In that case what they really care about is the teachers’ union money and votes. The news media should be ashamed because they are wedded to a political ideology that thinks nothing of abuse of children as long as it gets them re-elected.” — Gene Duenow
    “Incredible sadness. I don't understand how #45 could have even imagined this policy. It's no surprise that #45 withdrew from the UN’s Council of Human Rights.  Unfortunately, the people who will get most affected by this are the indigenous populations, both in trying to enter the border from Central America and in the reservations with fracking and extractions of minerals etc.” — Grecia Glass
    “Children and parents are routinely separated any time a parent is jailed or imprisoned. I mean all over the world, not just at our southern border. The murder rate in some of our cities is higher than every Central American county except for El Salvador so we could have some of our own citizens claiming to need asylum from violence.  Too much trouble accompanies the current situation; drugs, violence, human trafficking, we must get better control of the border.” — John Andrews
    “Zero Tolerance on weapons is sanity; on people fleeing gang and government violence, insanity.  Each circumstance is unique and must be assessed as such. If we don't want to spend money processing illegal immigrants, let's spend the money aiding families in safety, health and food back in their countries like Guatemala, Ecuador, so they want to stay in their countries. This doesn't mean supply a police force to these countries; instead, supply safety and even a means of work so they want to stay.” — Colleen Hollinger Petters
    “I am devastated by the actions our country is taking to prevent people legally seeking asylum. We have lost our moral grounding. I am worried for us as a nation. We are taking children and treating them like objects to be bartered over. Why I there not an uprising! What can we do to not be powerless observers in this tragedy?” — Linda Kantner
    “In truth, aside from deep sadness, I’m not affected. That is the privilege I have as someone who was born in this country and because when my great grandfather and grandmother immigrated from Mexico, around 90 years ago, my grandmother (2 at the time) was not ripped from their arms. They were welcomed in and led productive lives. It lets me sit with my two small children, have dinner, and listen to my three-year-old proclaim which ice cream flavor he wants after dinner. I feel a deep shame to know my government has ripped apart families and children are being irreparably harmed by all of this while our blissful lives continue on.” — Nichole Morris
    “The separation of children from their parents is the lowest form of government policy and biblical interpretation since Nazi Germany.” — Steven James Beto
    “I think the progressives and media are overreacting as they do on many issues.  It is unfortunate that some children are separated from their parents while their parents cases are being handled, however, I don't think what is happening is completely immoral as so many do. We have had very lax enforcement of immigration laws for many years and it has resulted in many people coming here illegally.  I think we should do a better job of patrolling the border and building fences to prevent people from entering illegally.” — James Brandt
    “’Zero tolerance’ can be the aspiration of any criminal law, but it is unrealistic to say we are aiming to achieve it without saying where it falls in our list of priorities and how much we have budgeted for the issue.” — Roger Day
    “Obama had the same policies. Why weren't you asking these questions then? I know that no evil is justified to do good. That is something liberals never comprehend. They believe the end justifies the means.” — Jon Visser
    “Fortunately, this policy has not affected me or my family. However, I am embarrassed by the actions of my government.  As a parent, I am so angry I have been in tears. This isn’t a political issue; this isn’t an immigration issue; this isn’t a legal issue; this isn’t a deterrence issue; this isn’t a negotiations ploy; this is a human decency issue.  I’ve called and written my representatives. I feel impotent. Tell me, what can I do to get this stopped?” — Rochelle Eastman
    “Hurting small children is torture of the most cruel kind. Trump himself is married to a former undocumented person.  With this policy, she would never have qualified for living here. They bring up the Biblical passage justifying slavery to justify this — not the words of Jesus, but Paul, a confessed murderer and who believe women subordinate to men. What we need is a zero tolerance of lying, cheating, womanizing, vendetta driven ego-maniacal bully of a billionaire fraud named Trump. He embarrassed the U.S. in every way. Even the Nazis didn’t routinely separate women from their children.” — Joel Stegner
    “My ancestors immigrated to what is now the state of New Mexico, USA in 1597 with the Onate expedition. This was hundreds of years before our current president's father immigrated to this country. So I have zero tolerance for this administration and the way they are enforcing their immigration policy.  I was unable to understand how can a president show deference and respect to a despot and now I know — he is alone is presiding over these horrific, inhumane actions imposed on helpless children?  Then he tries to lay blame on democrats for what he alone is fostering.  Then we have the vice president trying to invoke the bible as justification — seriously, you can't make up this type of callous hypocrisy!  Are his followers so brainwashed that they believe every lie he says? I think we have a broken immigration system, but this is not the way to fix it.  There is a very old adage — two wrongs do not make a right.  I am not party affiliated and consider myself conservative, but Republicans alone own this humanitarian crisis. The longer this man stays in office the more ashamed I become of America.” — Ralph Gutierrez
    “It goes against everything this country has stood for. Our immigration policies have always been based on humanitarian principles. It appears that those principles have given way to policies that prioritize financial gains over the beauty of ‘People taking care of People.’  Is this really the kind of nation that we want to live in? In terms of the ‘holding’ facilities housing children of immigrant people — Didn't we learn this lesson during WWII?” — Tim Fielding
    “We should focus on whether the people are if fact refugees and on why conditions in their country are encouraging them to risk coming here. Treating them as evil criminals is wrong.” — Fred Green
    “The effect is horrendous, and apparently based on a lie that the people coming to our borders are dangerous ‘animals.’ I think it is inhumane and inefficient. Right now, as a psychologist, I am most concerned about the future damage being done to the children — more specifically the potential for adjustment disorder with its consequent poor conscience development among many other things. As a person, I wake up close to tears at night. Has the border patrol no empathy? I'm also concerned that there seems to be little or no effort to keep records on the children with the thought of eventually reuniting the families. And as a citizen, I'm scared to death that we are gradually accepting anti-democratic policies and procedures as the new norm, like the poor frog in slowly boiling water. I could go on, but I'm sure it's all been said by many others.” — Mona Gustafson Affinito
    “I am directly affected because my grandfather came here about 100 years ago from Mexico with his siblings and parents. They were escaping the violence and poverty in Mexico and crossed the Rio Grande River in a buckboard wagon (provided to me as oral history from family members). He never became a citizen of the USA, although he did become a legal resident. My grandmother was born here as was my mother and her 12 younger siblings. If this policy had been in place my grandfather would not have been able to enter the country or if he came beforehand he might have been deported. People would have called my mom and her siblings 'anchor babies.’ And then to have the current occupant of the White House refer to people trying to escape violence and poverty ‘ … illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our country...’ All of this leaves me feeling incredibly angry.  I am angry at this administration.  I am angry at White rural America for supporting this administration.  And I am afraid because I wonder when it will end.” — David Tannen
    “It is inhuman and monstrous. That is my personal opinion. I am currently at a Department of Energy Review of my experiment. At reviews like this, our colleagues present talks and answer questions about the experiment in order to fulfill reporting requirements and to request continuing operations support.  One very important member of our team is a French citizen, now emigrated to Canada.  He did not come to the review despite having a ticket and a prepared talk. This is because he simply could not stomach the way that the U.S. is treating people fleeing hardship and asking for asylum. Thus, in the last minute, he simply turned away from the U.S. border and went home.  He could not bring himself to cross that border and enter a country so far removed from humanitarian policy.” — Priscilla Cushman
    “I support it absolutely within the context of my own ancestors who legally immigrated to the United States from Norway during the 1850s and 1880s to Minnesota and Iowa.” — Stephen Mohn
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