With very few exceptions, it's wrong to take small children from their mothers. That I even have to write that in the context of our immigration policy is beyond my own capacity to understand. And if your good/evil discernment is so out of whack that you think it's a good idea to rip kids from the only person in the world who cares for them, in order to "send a message" to others, then you need to rethink your morality, and probably a whole bunch of other things.
Chris Hayes is a liberal journalist, and he's subject to all the bubble-thinking of liberal journalists, especially the variety who work at MSNBC and The Nation. But he's also a dad, with three children under the age of eight. As a dad, Hayes' reaction to reading mothers' first-hand accounts of having their children taken is quite normal.
He tweeted "I'm thinking about someone doing that to me and my kids and I feel a rage so powerful I think I'm gonna pass out." By "that," he means some government authority taking his kids, with no word of where they were going or how to contact them. I'm sorry if this offends some of your political positions, but if we're doing this, even once, to illegal immigrants, then we're doing something evil.
To me, this is honestly worse than waterboarding, which at least has a point--getting critical information to save lives from killers--and is done only to the worst people in the world: terrorists. A mother who has violated our immigration laws does not deserve to lose her kids. Hayes made hay on MSNBC with his breathless reporting, laying this entire evil at President Trump's feet. It's not all on Trump, since similar abominations occurred during the Obama administration, though liberal media like The Intercept tried to blame government contractors for the problem.
In fact, Obama's extralegal and Constitution-warping DACA program caused this problem. Bringing hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant children into the country created a humanitarian and legal crisis that was totally unnecessary and avoidable. Simply put, Obama wanted these immigrants to be here, to become American citizens, and to vote for Democrats. Cynical? Absolutely, but that's the truth.
But fighting cynical political moves that create crises by doing evil things is still evil. The same contractors, organizations, and government agencies that dealt with Obama's DACA kids and families now deal with Trump's. The New York Times conveniently and casually tiptoed around that uncomfortable fact.
Children removed from their families are taken to shelters run by nongovernmental organizations. There, workers seek to identify a relative or guardian in the United States who can take over the child’s care. But if no such adult is available, the children can languish in custody indefinitely. Operators of these facilities say they are often unable to locate the parents of separated children because the children arrive without proper records.
We should not be doing this.
I am all for securing the border. Build the wall, by all means. Walls are effective (ask any former East German, or any Israeli). They largely keep out those who shouldn't come in (or keep in those you don't want to leave, but that's not our purpose). A wall would likely end our DACA crisis, much better than any legal end to the program.
The United States is the most powerful nation on earth--in human history. Our government's resources are nearly unlimited, especially when it comes to dealing with a few million people, mothers and children. The federal government owns millions of acres of land, over 50% of the land west of Texas. We can easily--without blinking--build entire cities where immigrant families can live while we figure out what to do with them. We can easily hire police to keep these areas safe. Illegal immigrants don't get Second Amendment rights, so we can keep guns out (because of gangs).
I'd rather have the equivalent of refugee cities, true "sanctuary cities" set aside for illegal immigrants, even if it costs billions of dollars, with healthcare, grocery stores and services, than to take children from their mothers, possibly never to see those kids again. Because one option is expensive, inconvenient to our government, and possibly sends the "wrong message" to others trying to get into America is not a reason to be evil.
Perhaps if Congress would deal with this problem in human terms, instead of using illegal immigrants the way Palestinian leaders use Palestinians in refugee camps, as useful pawns in a political battle, we might make some progress.
Even if Congress doesn't move, there's no justification for President Trump or Attorney General Jeff Sessions to allow this to continue. The punishment must fit the crime, and separating mothers from their children, in all but cases of child abuse, will never rise to that bar.