On Tuesday evening’s broadcast of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” the MSNBC program’s eponymous host broke down and cried live on the air as she tried to deliver a breaking news report about the separation of illegal immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Despite multiple attempts to read the story out loud, she was ultimately unable to do so before turning over the reins to Lawrence O’Donnell.
The full clip of Maddow’s breakdown can be viewed via Twitter below:
Rachel Maddow chokes up and cries on air as she struggles to deliver news that migrant babies and toddlers have been sent to "tender age" shelters pic.twitter.com/O6crm8cvyR— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) June 20, 2018
As can be gleaned from what she did say, Maddow was trying to read an AP report about the Trump administration’s efforts to put young children who have been brought to the U.S. by illegal immigrants into specialized shelters designed to host children of their age range (specifically, those less than 13 years old):
Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other young children forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border to at least three “tender age” shelters in South Texas, The Associated Press has learned.
Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the Rio Grande Valley shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis. The government also plans to open a fourth shelter to house hundreds of young migrant children in Houston, where city leaders denounced the move Tuesday.
Since the White House announced its zero tolerance policy in early May, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, resulting in a new influx of young children requiring government care. The government has faced withering critiques over images of some of the children in cages inside U.S. Border Patrol processing stations.
Even with the AP’s slanted language describing the separation of families as “forcible” (what exactly do they think police are doing when they arrest criminals, asking them nicely to go to jail?), the report still makes it pretty clear that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is taking these steps not to torture or penalize the younger kids, but to give them better access to health and child care services. As HHS official Steven Wagner told the AP:
“We have specialized facilities that are devoted to providing care to children with special needs and tender age children as we define as under 13 would fall into that category,” he said. “They’re not government facilities per se, and they have very well-trained clinicians, and those facilities meet state licensing standards for child welfare agencies, and they’re staffed by people who know how to deal with the needs — particularly of the younger children.”
What exactly is the problem with this? Would Maddow and her cohorts prefer that toddlers and babies be dumped to live homeless on the streets as their parents stay in jail to await their criminal hearings? Do progressive activists want the kids to be put in jail cells alongside their parents without even bothering to verify whether the adults are human smugglers or just opportunists trying to get into the United States by any means necessary?
Or perhaps, Maddow and company simply don’t want to prosecute people who enter the country illegally. This seems to be the most plausible sentiment lying unspoken beneath liberal pundits’ and politicians’ public displays of outrage and sadness over the family separation issue. And yet, because MSNBC pundits and Democratic senators alike prefer to call Trump and his supporters Nazis without explanation and cry on TV instead of talking about facts or making reasoned arguments, liberals have quite a lot of leeway to shift their emotionally-established goalposts and badger people into submission without even staking out a clear, principled position.
If the American Left truly believes that our country is not an independent and sovereign nation with a right to defend its borders, conservatives should force them to make that (pretty unpopular) case in public and never let them get away with crass emotional blackmail.
UPDATE: On Wednesday afternoon, Trump signed an executive order to stop illegal immigrant family separations at the border.
Thus, it appears that the Trump administration will now keep families together in jail or detention centers as the government prosecutes them for illegally entering the United States. Conversely, the Trump administration could go back towards implementing some type of Obama-style catch and release policy for illegal alien families. If the former is the case, this means that pro-open borders commentators could potentially shift their criticism to attacking Trump for putting children in jails or “concentration camps.”