Senator Rafael Edward Cruz head faked the media earlier today by claiming he will file a bill against family separation a week after defending the policy. The bill he proposes replaces child detention with family internment. Sounds familiar, ca 1945. He generously offers to expedite review of asylum under the new Sessions policy of denying virtually all private claims (intimate partner violence, gang violence). And while he increases the number of immigration judges, he does not also increase the number of attorneys, effectively denying due process to families entering under asylum. Set against a backdrop of manufactured crisis, he feeds the Prison Industrial Complex and the deportation machine.
The most obvious sign that Cruz’s sudden about face lacks authenticity is his history of complicity with Stephen Miller, senior advisor to the president, over the last 19 months. Under his tutelage, 45 has infamously demonized and brutalized nearly every large community of color.
And of course, the White House has now jumped into hyperpolitical campaign mode with a truly strategic blitzkrieg in which most asylum claims will now be denied and DHS instantiates a morally bankrupt zero-tolerance policy of family separation that renders any alternative to the whole manufactured crisis ostensibly ‘reasonable.’ While family separation has been an issue in the past under previous administrations, this is a haunting new chapter (Shadowproof did a good job breaking down the history of deportation from Obama through the beginning of the Trump Administration).
This time around, Americans are (rightfully) horrified with what is happening. Pictures of crying toddlers being separated from their parents, audio of crying kindergarten age kids getting bullied by border guards, photos of kids caged in near the border, and the expansion of new detention facilities for children have led to outrage across the United States. Americans have been shown to overwhelmingly oppose the policy, with only a slight majority of Republicans alone approving of it. The numbers are consistent across multiple polls.
All the while, Senator Cruz has either supported or said nothing about the behavior of the President. He has walked in lockstep with everything the Administration has said and done. After playing mildly coy at the Republican National Convention by telling people to “vote their conscience”, he came around to fully endorsing President Miller and his policies on immigration. After having explored bipartisan DREAM Act solutions early in his career – albeit limited in scope- Cruz became the most rigid he has ever been on immigration during the presidential primaries. And just two months back, Cruz was the lone Senator to vote against even debating immigration on the Senate floor.
As of June 11th 2018, Cruz continued to defend the policy of child separation. Now, suddenly, he claims that Americans are “rightfully horrified” by the practice, conveniently back-peddling amid plummeting public opinion about 45 and his vulnerability in an impending mid-term election.
Here’s why Cruz’s bill is a cruel charade.
As covered by the Texas Tribune, the bill supposedly calls for four main policy changes:
1) Doubling the number of federal immigration judges, from roughly 375 to 750. [[What about the attorneys to file the asylum claims? Can we say due process?]]
2) Authorizing new temporary shelters with accommodations to keep families together. [[Can we say Japanese internment?]]
3) Mandating that immigrant families be kept together, absent aggravated criminal conduct or threat of harm to children. [[Can we say it again?]]
4) Providing for expedited processing and review of asylum cases so that — within 14 days — those who meet the legal standards will be granted asylum and those who do not will be immediately returned to their home countries. [[There is virtually no claim to asylum in this country anymore. Sessions handsomely dismantled it two weeks ago.]]
The policy of family separation could be reversed with a short phone call. The reason Cruz is pushing a bill through Congress to make that change is to deflect his complicity in all of this and to gesture that he has a heart. He could not take on Sessions, Stephen Miller, and the rest of the Administration. That would take courage.
Cruz’s favorite rhetorical strategy is to blame the opposition and to offer himself as the mantle of unity. He is a political opportunist and jeopardizes the lives of children for his own gain. Dianne Feinstein knows where the Administration stands on the policy. She sees the lies coming out of DHS and other White House flak worms. And she knows it’s an uphill fight to end family separations, even if her bill is imperfect. It certainly falls short of taking the fangs out of ICE or CBP for their consistent abuse and perpetuation of the prison-industrial-complex, but it does definitively end family separation.
Cruz should sign on to the Keep Families Together Act, which directly takes on trafficking and family separation. Instead he is introducing his own bill for a chance to criticize his opposition and make doing nothing like doing something.
His bill is all politics.
Call Ted Cruz and tell him you support him signing on to the Keep Families Together Act and that you oppose his proposal.
All office numbers can be seen here: https://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=general&id=23
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