“I don’t know what part of your soul has to be missing to say, ‘We’ll take an infant from its mother with no provision about how they will ever get back together again.'” ~Cecilia Munoz
The horror of the Trump administration’s cruelty was on full display for the world to see this weekend – not once but twice.
The first instance occurred Sunday near a California, border checkpoint when border patrol agents fired tear gas at migrants attempting to cross the border into the United States from Tijuana, Mexico.
The second display occurred with the Sunday night airing of “The chaos behind Donald Trump’s policy of family separation at the border,” an investigation by CBS News‘ “60-Minutes.”
Tear gas lobbed over the Mexican border
The Washington Post reported that: “On Sunday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents fired [tear gas] at mostly Honduran migrants attempting to cross into the United States from Tijuana, Mexico — an unusual escalation of lobbing weapons over an international border at unarmed civilians seeking refuge.”
More insidious, The Washington Post detailed the fact that “tear gas, commonly known as CS gas — an aerosol compound considered a chemical weapon that has been outlawed on the battlefield by nearly every nation on Earth, including the United States,” However, “as a riot control agent, 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile is legal to use by both police and federal authorities in the United States and many other countries.”
Yes, this is what a little girl seeking asylum looks like after American border agents fired tear gas towards her.
This is not the America I want the world seeing. This is not my America. pic.twitter.com/qzJ3ExIVrM
— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) November 26, 2018
Chief Patrol Agent Rodney S. Scott, the senior Border Patrol agent for the San Diego area, defended the use of the chemical agent against civilians, telling CNN that border patrol agents and equipment were pelted by rocks thrown by migrants.
However, as The Washington Post explained, the use of tear gas can adversely impact “people who are not targets.”
Chemical weapons such as CS gas are indiscriminate and “uniquely terrorizing in their application,” which necessitated their ban in combat in 1993, said Kelsey Davenport, director of nonproliferation policy at the Washington-based Arms Control Association.
Once launched in a volley or thrown into an area, chemical weapons cannot be controlled and can drift toward people who are not targets, Davenport told The Washington Post on Monday.
Trump’s cruel policy of separating families at the border
As per CBS News, “A 60 Minutes investigation has found the separations that dominated headlines this summer began earlier and were greater in number than the Trump administration admits.”
The shocking report began with details surrounding an arrest warrant for a three-year-old named Immers and continued with reports of other traumatic separations followed by difficult reunions.
“60-Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley spoke with Immer’s father, asking him: “Tell me about the moment that Immers was taken away from you.”
His father, Ever, told us, “I never thought that they would separate him from me. But an immigration agent said, ‘you’re going to be separated, your son is going to be taken away and then a judge will decide what will be done with you.'”
Immers and his father crossed the border illegally but presented themselves to the Border Patrol and requested asylum. Ever, the father, says he was shot in the back in Honduras, a country at war with gangs and drug cartels. As asylum applicants, they’re permitted by law to stay until their hearing, usually in two or three months. Before, most asylum seekers were released at that point, but under the Trump administration they were arrested and charged with a crime. Because children can’t be incarcerated, Immers was sent to a foster family in Michigan.
Scott Shuchart , a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former Department of Homeland Security adviser, weighed in on the callously inept implementation of the Trump administration’s family separation policy, telling Scott Pelley: “If you’re going to separate families in the pursuit of an immigration policy, it was irresponsible to push that on top of a system that wasn’t prepared on the backend to allow the families to be reconciled later.”
“60-Minutes” also spoke with former Obama administration official Cecilia Munoz  who stated:
I don’t know what part of your soul has to be missing to say, “We’ll take an infant from its mother with no provision about how they will ever get back together again.” They might never see each other again.
Below is one telling exchange:
Scott Pelley: “When the Trump administration made the decision to separate children from families, what responsibilities did they take on, in your estimation?”
Cecilia Munoz: “They issued an order without consulting with the agencies who were responsible for carrying out that order. We take better care of people’s effects when we send them to jail than we took care of the children who we took from their parents. And that’s because these decisions were clearly made at the top and pushed down to the agencies without thinking through the ramifications and without thinking through the potential harm.”
Below is another chillling excerpt from the segment with internist Dr. Scott Allen.
Dr. Scott Allen: “There was an episode where children in a mass immunization program were immunized with the wrong dose, adult dose instead of child dose, because the providers at the facility weren’t used to working with children and didn’t recognize some very common color coding that would denote adult versus pediatric vaccines.”
60-Minutes: “They’d been writing reports of poor pediatric care in federal custody for four years when they heard that thousands more children were going to be cared for by the government, some of them in tent cities.”
Dr. Scott Allen: “This is what caused us great concern, with the disclosures that this policy was going to be ramped up and rapidly expanded. We understood that that action would create an imminent threat to the harm and safety of children.”
Footnote 1: As per the Center for American Progress‘ Scott Shuchart bio: “From 2010 to 2018, he was the senior adviser to the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he worked extensively on immigration enforcement, detention and custody, and border security, with an emphasis on data-driven analysis to identify civil rights and civil liberties violations. While at DHS, Shuchart led efforts to ensure that U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities initiative and other programs respected civil rights and avoided racial profiling.”
Footnote 2: As per the “60-Minutes” episode: “Cecilia Munoz handled immigration in the Obama administration as the director of the Domestic Policy Council. She says that even though apprehensions at the border have been trending down for a decade, many administrations struggle with the patchwork of U.S. laws that require border security and protection of asylum seekers.”