MEMBERS ONLY: Trump Declares Victory Over Trump’s Internment Camp Policy

You aren’t losing your mind. It’s important to remind ourselves occasionally that observable reality remains the truth, and that the centerpiece of Donald Trump’s political strategy is to make you believe it’s not him who’s lying and contradicting himself, it’s your lying eyes — it’s your fault.

Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order ending his administration’s policy, enacted in April, of separating the children of migrants and asylum seekers from their parents at the border, then shipping them off separately, possibly to never be reunited again. The order comes less than 24 hours after we learned that babies as young as a few months were also being removed from their parents’ guardianship and placed in brick-and-mortar euphemisms called “tender care” facilities. The order also comes 48 hours after we first heard the heartbreaking sounds of young children in one of the camps, crying and calling for “mommy” and “daddy.”

Internment camps for kids is what they are. No matter the outcome of this crisis, these camps will remain a harrowing dark chapter in our national history, residing in the same category as the Trail of Tears and the Japanese internment camps during World War II. On one hand, it’s important that the policy appears to have been rescinded by this order. On the other hand, Trump’s decision contradicts the public statements by Trump and other officials that a “Democrat law” is to blame for the separation policy and that a new law is the only way to end it. You aren’t going insane.

At the risk of repeating often-cited facts about the policy, we know for certain that this is entirely about a Trump administration “zero tolerance” policy involving the arrest of every adult who illegally crosses the southern border. We also know that there is no law requiring family separation, or what my friend Buzz Burbank calls “child snatching.” And we know that Trump, Secretary Nielsen and others have said over and over that it’s the law, not a policy, defying reality. For the record, here’s the Snopes verdict and the Politifact write-up on this nonexistent law.

Remarkably, Trump’s executive order today continues to demonize this invisible law.

It is also the policy of this Administration to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources. It is unfortunate that Congress’s failure to act and court orders have put the Administration in the position of separating alien families to effectively enforce the law.

Regarding the bold text above, they’re once again retreating to the position that this nonexistent law forced them to do something they didn’t want to do (snatching the kids) even though Sessions signed the policy and John Kelly went on television to ballyhoo it.

Put another way, Trump is taking credit for saving the babies he himself endangered. Here’s Ivanka Trump’s grateful thank-you note to her monstrous father:

Think about that. Trump and his henchmen enacted this horrifying policy, and now they’re positioning themselves as the heroes who ended it. This is not unlike a hostage-taker bragging about how he deserves a medal and a get-out-of-jail-free card for releasing his hostages — only Trump isn’t releasing anyone yet. Similarly, we all know that Trump’s original gambit was to use the family separation policy as leverage for ransom, with the ransom being money for his cockamamie wall. Naturally, Congress faced the choice of ending the policy while enabling Trump’s increasingly despotic crimes against humanity, or allowing it to continue. Thankfully, the congressional Democrats don’t negotiate with terrorists.

If you predicted that the executive order will still allow children to be separated from their parents, you win the internet today because, yes, the order doesn’t rescind the “zero tolerance” policy nor does it end child internment. The salient passage:

(b) The Secretary shall not, however, detain an alien family together when there is a concern that detention of an alien child with the child’s alien parent would pose a risk to the child’s welfare.

This appears to be treacherously discretionary. It’s possible that Secretary Nielsen will simply mandate that all children are in danger because their parents are considered criminals and potential killers for having crossed illegally. (“MS-13! Ieeeeee!” –Old White People) The order also potentially allows migrant families to be held indefinitely, awaiting Justice Department trials behind tens of thousands of other migrants. Making matters even worse, there aren’t any mechanisms for reuniting families that’ve already been separated.

As if all of this wasn’t soul-crushing enough, Trump has another one of his endless cocaine rants scheduled for Wednesday night. I wouldn’t be shocked if he loudly declares, “I SAVED THE CHILDREN!” And the bigoted Red Hat cultists who vocally supported the administration’s crimes against humanity will cheer wildly for their Shitty Emancipator.

You aren’t insane.

Bob Cesca is the host of the Bob Cesca Show podcast, a twice weekly political talk show. He’s also a contributor to Salon.com. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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