America has a long history of separating children from their families.
Last month, new elements of President Donald Trump's immigration policy dominated national headlines. Critics who have feared the worst now know that the administration has seemingly displaced nearly 1,500 children detained near the southern border and released to sponsors.
A Health and Human Services (HHS) official revealed this during a shocking Senate testimony last month. Steve Wagner, acting assistant secretary with the Administration for Children and Families of HHS, claimed that once the children were handed over to a sponsor, the agency wasn't legally responsible.
Wagner testified in October and December that an estimated 7,635 children were placed under HHS care, according to Refinery 29. The majority of the children -- 6,075 children -- received sponsors while the other 1,475 children were unable to be found.
Trump's administration has come under fire for its administrative incompetence. The Huffington Post reports families caught crossing the borders illegally would be held in jails run by U.S. Marshals. Children, accompanying their families, would be taken and placed by HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement.
However, the president places the brunt of the blame on Democrats and calls to “end the horrible law that separates children from there [sic] parents” in a recent tweet.
Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there parents once they cross the Border into the U.S. Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it and we MUST continue building the WALL! DEMOCRATS ARE PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018
But it wasn't Democrats who instituted the new policy. In early May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in a speech that children would be separated from their families because prior to this there was no law that required this action.
"If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It's that simple," Sessions said.
By all accounts, this has happened as early as October 2017. About 700 children were separated from their guardians and at least 100 were under 4 years old, according to The New York Times.
Many have drawn parallels between the Trump administration's policy to the Holocaust and slavery.
Black children were often taken from their families and sold off to slave owners. Activist and educator Keeanga-Yamahtta T. reminded folks, who claimed that Trump's policy was un-American, to take a look at America's horrific history.
When people say that the Trump policy of separating children from their parents at the border is "un-American", they forget or do not know that the practice is deeply American and has a history. https://t.co/QXNCxQ0BQU— Keeanga-Yamahtta T. (@KeeangaYamahtta) May 26, 2018
Actress Reagan Gomez echoed those sentiments by urging people to not compare our present to "The Handmaid's Tale" but instead examine the past and think about what happened to Native American children and enslaved black children. Native children were taken from families and placed in schools where they were forced to assimilate.
Kinda weird that folks keep bringing up the Handmaidens Tale and not like...the real history of this country forcibly separating children (/Native/First Nations/African) from their parents for centuries.— Reagan Gomez (@ReaganGomez) May 26, 2018
So...this tweet really blew up. There is nothing new about the United States Gov forcibly separating children from their parents when this country began with genocide and kidnapping millions of people. Quick story...— Reagan Gomez (@ReaganGomez) May 27, 2018
Trump is proving every day that "Make America Great Again" is calling for a return to the worst days of this country.