This Is Why Migrant Parents Travel With Children

There has been a strange response by many white conservatives to the separation of migrant children from their parents. Whether we are discussing undocumented migrants or those requesting asylum, there has been rightwing pushback to the larger chorus of condemnation of the Trump administration for its zero tolerance. These right-wingers claim that it is the parents who are to blame for the separation crisis.

Let’s stop and think about this for a moment. If the parents of these children are attempting to escape criminal violence or destitution, why would leave their children behind and who would they leave them with? Perhaps that would be the case if one were discussing migrants from economically, politically and socially stable countries who would first send one relative ahead and then bring the family. But what if a woman is trying to escape domestic violence? What if a family is attempting to escape intimidation carried out by criminal gangs? What if one is seeking freedom from political persecution and/or repression? Under those conditions how likely would you be to leave your children behind?

I have been thinking about this a great deal in the context of the current, Trump-instigated immigration crisis. But it came to a head for me in reading of Trump’s remarks in Europe regarding immigration. He warned Europe that they were being overwhelmed and ruined by immigrants. My guess is that Trump was not talking about Polish immigrants moving to Britain. Rather, as has become clear for Trump, “immigration” means immigration from the global South to Europe and the United States. I cannot imagine Trump ordering the separation of undocumented Russian or Irish immigrants from their children but if one looks at immigrants from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, as originating from so-called “shithole” countries— as Trump apparently does— none of this should come as a surprise.

To blame migrant parents for the current Trump-instigated crisis and to suggest that the parents are wrong for bringing their children along is another display of the ignorance and a racial blind spot for much of white America; that ideology can only originate in the minds of people who know next to nothing about the conditions that migrants are fleeing and their near total amnesia concerning the experiences of other groups of migrants who arrived on these shores over the decades.

What I find particularly unsettling is the way that a sizeable minority of the United States has become quite comfortable with the idea that migrants from the global South are somehow unworthy of the human rights guarantees that the United States is supposed to uphold.

I wonder how many of these same people would have questioned the rights of European immigrants in the aftermath of World War II who were crossing borders en masse to escape the results of that war.

Oh, but I forgot. That was a deserving population.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a talk show host, writer and activist. Follow him on Twitter @BillFletcherJr, Facebook and at

Relocating U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem a Bad Move

— I wasn’t really surprised by Trump’s willingness to threaten the world for daring to stand up to his aggressive move of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; hearing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley suggest that the U.S. was taking names, made this entire scenario something close to comical. If Palestinian lives were not at stake it would, indeed, be the making of a comedy.

What is noteworthy is that the Trump Administration is not even going through the pretense of attempting to lead the world. Instead, their approach has been one of crass bullying. Do what the U.S. wants, or else. While most of the world has been used to one or another version of this, e.g., gunboat diplomacy in the global South, what is different here is that this foreign policy-by-intimidation is targeted at the traditionally close allies of the United States.

Most of the world immediately recognized that Trump’s commitment to shift the embassy to Jerusalem was a cynical move to appease his base. What seemed to have astounded international observers is that Trump and his advisors seemed to have little to no sense of the global ramifications of this move. Interestingly, Trump and his team sincerely seemed to be believe that their theoretical peace proposal for the Israelis and Palestinians could still go forward. Fat chance.

Instead of attempting to build global coalitions among partners, Trump is following the tried and true antics of the schoolyard bully: Make life difficult for those around them and intimidate those who you wish to be on your side. This does not amount to the makings of a stable and healthy alliance. At best, it is a situation of the sheep and the shepherd.

Many in the foreign policy realm of the U.S. establishment are feeling the emergence of a leadership void among the so-called developed countries. Trump may

believe that he is leading, but bullying others and attempting to reverse every Obama initiative does not make for leadership. Instead it looks, to much of the planet, like acting out. Other global powers including Germany, Russia, France and China are stepping forward, competing to build their respective alliances, sometimes overlapping one another. And while this happens Trump, seems more comfortable sitting back and relaxing, or perhaps savoring in a moment in which he seems to be more concerned with enriching the super-rich rather than even going through the motions of advancing a productive foreign policy agenda.

This upcoming year will certainly be a year of struggle, both domestically and internationally, against this insanity.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a talk show host, writer and activist. Follow him on Twitter @BillFletcherJr, Facebook and at