Donald Trump and the GOP have spent the past several months desperately trying to exacerbate a crisis at the border – the fevered notion that any day now, a caravan of marauders is coming for us. Their campaign commercial from last year, which even Fox wouldn’t air, shows that they aren’t even trying to hide the bigotry anymore, but will freely embrace it if it will win them votes.
In many ways, this administration’s border policy embodies its worst tendencies – a disregard for human life and for national security, shameless use of the military for political purposes, a reckless waste of the budget, and staggering incompetence – as the administration has done little to actually prevent migrant crossing in the first place.
The family separation policy is finally being scrutinized by Congress in televised hearings. It’s easy to focus on the poor excuses DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is giving for ruining the lives of thousands of children and their families, but the horrors don’t stop there. Internal government documents reveal that Customs and Border Protection agents have been keeping a list of journalists who traveled to cover news stories about the traveling caravan – and not just a one-off incident, either. The DHS inspector general found it serious enough to open an inquiry on the matter.
As we wait for a full report, bear in mind that ICE and CBP have a consistent record of extralegal abuses, some of which predate this administration. Trump’s dislike of journalists who cast him in an unfavorable light is well known, and may have been the green light these organizations have been waiting for to further wield their power and keep us in the dark on a national travesty. This is a story that should be spanning the Sunday political talk show circuit and beyond, and then open a dialogue about further protecting the lives and rights of journalists if we are to remain a nation with a free press.