Moms

Be quiet, Ivanka. If you really cared about family separation, you would’ve done something about it.

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The damage control has begun.

ivanka-trump

Ivanka Trump finally spoke up about the family separations at the border, telling an audience in Washington that the crisis was a “low point” of her time working in the White House. “I felt very strongly about that, and I am very vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents and children.” She added that “immigration is incredibly complex as a topic. Illegal immigration is incredibly complicated.”

Thank you, First Daughter, for stating the obvious. Although she was likely attempting image rehabilitation in the wake of her father’s “zero tolerance policy,”Ivanka Trump’s inaction and empty words tell us everything we need to know about her own moral compass.

In May, the Trump administration announced that it would be criminally prosecuting all unauthorized migrants, including legal asylum seekers, at our southern border. This resulted in the separation of thousands of children from their parents and an international outcry, until the president reversed course and signed an executive order to keep families together. Even now, about one in three kids remain separated from their parents with no clear plan for when they will be reunited with them. Some parents who have already been deported may never see their children again.

Tone deaf and uninformed

To hear Ivanka Trump tell it, this situation was hard on her. “This (the family separations) was a low point for me as well,” she said at the Axios Newsmakers discussion. Really? Vulnerable children have been irreparably traumatized, wrenched away from their moms and dads, placed in cages under nightmarish conditions … and it was hard for Ivanka?

This astonishing statement is contradicted by her tone deaf social media post of May 27. As Americans were reacting with shock and horror to news of the family separations, Trump posted a blissful photo of herself snuggling with her young son, with the caption “My (heart emoji)!”

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Like her father, Ivanka is skilled at clouding the immigration issue with menacing imagery. After declaring that she was a daughter of an immigrant herself, she went on to say, “We have to be very careful about incentivizing behavior that puts children at risk of being trafficked, at risk of entering this country with coyotes, or making an incredibly dangerous journey alone.”

This comment veers awfully close to blaming migrant parents for family separations.

To be clear: The zero-tolerance policy wreaked havoc on children who arrived here with their parents. The majority of them were not being trafficked or entering with coyotes. They were with their moms and dads, until the Trump administration broke their families apart with little thought for how they might ever be reunited.

The boogeyman here is not villainous traffickers. It is a president who has no compassion for Central Americans fleeing for their lives.  

Actions speak louder than words

“These are not easy issues,” Ivanka Trump said. “These are incredibly difficult issues and like the rest of the country, I experienced them in a very emotional way.” It may be true that she felt emotional about the family separations. Yet unlike the rest of the country, not to mention many of the president’s own advisers, Ivanka sits in a unique position of influence. She has her father’s trust and his ear, and still she chose to stay largely silent as this tragedy unfolded. As Americans took to the streets to keep families together, Ivanka Trump did nothing. In fact, were it not for the tenacious legal work by the American Civil Liberties Union and a ruling by a judge in California, the family separations would likely still be occurring.

True, the role of “first daughter” is not usually political. However, Ivanka Trump has elected to present herself as a child advocate and champion of working women. It has been her decision to involve herself in national policies as a senior adviser to the president.

It is telling that her only major announcement regarding family separations came in a tweet on June 20, thanking her father for signing the executive order that ended the practice. Never mind that he created this ongoing humanitarian disaster, or that 66 percent of American voters oppose the family separation policy.

At this point, the smartest thing that Ivanka Trump could say about immigration policy is nothing. Her comments only illustrate the hollowness of her presence in the White House — just as the family separations crisis reveals her as a profile in cowardice.

 

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