How do you justify evil?
According to the AP and the Boston Globe, the Trump administration is ending a program that allowed families to stay in the United States while their children receive medical treatment for illnesses like cancer. (Boston is a center for specialized hospitals for children and cancer treatment so it deals with a number of families like this.)
The families have received letters telling them they will face deportation if they do not leave the country within 33 days. Deportation will certainly lead to suffering and death for some of these children.
Democratic politicians including Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, and Ayanna Pressley have condemned the policy, which affects about 1000 people per year. A spokesperson for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which sent the letter, has confirmed that the policy is in place, although the Trump Administration has made no public statement. The spokesperson said the cases would now be handled by ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement), but ICE spokespeople had no comment, and the letters did not mention any appeal process.
What’s the best way to defend child cruelty?
As I read about this, I wondered how media sources defending Trump would report on this policy. Imagine for a moment that you work for Fox News or Breitbart and it is your job to write about this. Which strategy would you take?
- Fake news. There is no such policy. These are isolated incidents. The media is exaggerating as usual.
- It’s a dodge. Many of these families have easily treatable illnesses and are using this loophole to stay in the country and use our resources. Truly needful cases will certainly get to stay — but we need to purge those abusing this exception.
- It’s exaggerated. It’s an administrative change. The media and the Democrats have turned it into a circus. It’s just different paperwork, not wholesale rejection of sick children.
- They’re terrorists. We found a case where a family used this exception to get their uncle and his family in the country as well. The uncle has posted anti-American statements on social media and has friends who appear to be terrorists. We need a zero-tolerance policy for foreign invaders who would exploit their own families’ tragedies to hurt the US.
- What about the real problem: the foreign invasion. These families are from Honduras, Guatemala, and Iran. They’re overrunning the country — some are murdering US citizens. We need a policy that blocks such invaders, not one with easily exploited exceptions. For each child who might suffer a minor inconvenience, there are Americans who will suffer more.
- Say nothing. If we don’t report on this, no one will notice.
Before you read on, pick one of the above, or make up your own explanation. Once you’ve picked, I’ll explain what Trump-leaning news outlets actually did.
What Fox News and Breitbart actually said
Fox News hasn’t written about this story at all, as far as I can tell. (If you can find any Fox News content about this, please let me know.) So it has chosen “Say nothing.”
Breitbart addressed it obliquely in an article called “Joe Biden: ‘Cruel’ Republicans Will ‘Unplug these Kids.’“
It includes the following passages:
But many millions of foreigners see huge incentives to use small legal loopholes to live in the United States. For example, Congress unanimously passed a law in 2008 to help foreign girls who were trafficked for prostitution into the United States. Since 2011, at least 200,000 migrants children and youths from Central America — including many MS-13 gang members — have used that law to get into and stay in the United States. . . .
So-called “health tourism” is a growing problem in the United Kingdom where sick people can enroll themselves in British hospitals for taxpayer-funded care once they get past customs officials. . . . Health tourism is believed to cost British taxpayers between £200 million and £2 billion every year. . . .
In California, Democrats have pushed for rules allowing illegal migrants to receive free taxpayer healthcare. . . . The Democrat-dominated legislature of California has approved a plan to spend $213 billion in state and federal tax dollars on free healthcare for illegal immigrants.
So this appears to be a combination of “It’s a dodge” and “What about . . . ” (I fail to see how the situation in the UK and California apply, since no one is suggesting that public funds pay for these immigrants’ care.)
I’m frankly looking forward to the comments on today’s piece — in particular from one retired schoolteacher named Susan who always defends Trump’s policies. If you believe in Trump’s immigration policies, how do you feel about deporting the families of sick children? And how do you feel about what your news outlets are saying (or not saying) about it?