All four former living U.S. First Ladies have spoken out against President Trump's new harsher policy of separating and detaining children away from their parents at the U.S./Mexican border. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama have both characteristically spoken out against the policy along with Rosalynn Carter, the last FLOTUS to release a statement, calling the act "disgraceful."
But the most stunning development has been the unprecedented act of country before party with both Republican former FLOTUS Laura Bush and current First Lady Melania Trump (an immigrant herself) speaking out against the US government’s zero-tolerance immigration policy this week, thus uniting all 5 former and current U.S. First Ladies in the name of the children.
What remains to be seen is whether or not the administration will listen:
The new stricter policy (which was intended to be a deterrent) of separating children from their families when they cross the border illegally has prompted a national outcry after Pulitzer Prize-winning Getty Images Photographer John Moore's photo of a young immigrant girl being ripped from her mother at the border went viral. Human rights groups are now characterizing the practice as inhumane and igniting debate in Washington.
The Trump administration has tried to since deny it's using this policy as a way to deter families from crossing and has said it's simply enforcing the law to prosecute adults who come into the U.S. illegally and then tried to deflect the blame for the policy onto Democrats, with Trump saying to White House reporters on June 15th:
I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law.
A statement fact-checked by the Washington Post recently and found to be untrue:
These claims are false. Immigrant families are being separated primarily because the Trump administration in April began to prosecute as many border-crossing offenses as possible. This “zero-tolerance policy” applies to all adults, regardless of whether they cross alone or with their children.
Regardless, the BBC reports that President Trump is not stepping back from his crackdown policy, quoting him as saying:
The United States will not be a migrant camp. And it will not be a refugee-holding facility - it won't be.
In addition to the op-ed Laura Bush wrote for the Washington Post on Sunday and official statements released by Rosalynn Carter and current FLOTUS Melania Trump, the ladies all joined forces in an unusually united bipartisan political front, promoting and supporting one another's opinions on the matter on social media.
We should be a better country than one that tears families apart, turns a blind eye to women fleeing domestic violence, and treats frightened children as a means to a political end.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 18, 2018
What’s happening to families at the border right now is a humanitarian crisis. Every parent who has ever held a child in their arms, every human being with a sense of compassion and decency, should be outraged.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 18, 2018
The current first lady's spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham said in a statement on her behalf:
Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.
And people are taking note of this historic moment:
With the Rosalynn Carter statement, every living former First Lady has spoken up against child detentions on our nation's border. Correct me if I am wrong, but this feels like a first.— G O L D I E. (@goldietaylor) June 18, 2018
Motherhood makes the difference:
only mother know the pain of child or humans or world. only women can take the right decision for humans and world.because all humans are originated from woman ??— Mahesh Mehra (@mehra68) June 19, 2018
Because the men...the actual presidents...havent said a word! Shame.— Mags' Tweets (@magstweets8) June 19, 2018
Though many didn't think Melania's statement was strong enough or that she is wielding the full weight of whatever influence she may have on the issue with her husband:
Actually 4 of the 5 did. One did a soft dance on this issue— Renee Murphy (@29361RMSM) June 19, 2018
The only difference is that all 4 previous first ladies had the respect of their husbands and could have talked some sense into them to get them to do the right thing. @FLOTUS Melania has ZERO influence because her husband does not respect her or care what she thinks.— Nikki✊💛💚🖤✊ (@outofmanyoneppl) June 19, 2018
Melania could actually do something about it, but she won't.— Sonic Nation (@SonicNationSTL) June 19, 2018
In the end though, some believe this many be a sign of a losing battle for the Trump administration:
Trump and Republicans are losing on this issue. There’s video, audio, pictures. There are five First Ladies. You can’t fight that.— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) June 19, 2018
H/T: Twitter, BBC News, Washington Post, Time Magazine