President Barack Obama finally spoke out today about the plight of refugees on the Southern border of the U.S. and President Trump’s family separation policy.
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Obama had previously joined his wife in endorsing an op-ed by Laura Bush, wife of former president George W. Bush, who called what Trump has been doing “cruel” and “immoral.” He retweeted a link to his wife’s tweet responding to Mrs. Bush’s comments.
Sometimes truth transcends party. https://t.co/TeFM7NmNzU
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) June 18, 2018
Otherwise, Obama has not been an active voice as anger and frustration have arisen among many Americans, and even some Republican politicians, over what the U.N. is calling Trump’s crimes against humanity.
The 44th president chose World Refugee Day to pen an impassioned post for his Facebook page.
“Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms, or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together?” asks Obama. “Do we look away, or do we choose to see something of ourselves and our children?”
Obama remade the case for why as a nation of mostly refugees and children of refugees we have to protect our values to ensure our legacy remains intact.
“To be an American is to have a shared commitment to an ideal – that all of us are created equal, and all of us deserve the chance to become something better,” wrote Obama.
“That’s the legacy our parents and grandparents and generations before created for us,” added Obama, “and it’s something we have to protect for the generations to come. But we have to do more than say ‘this isn’t who we are.’ We have to prove it – through our policies, our laws, our actions, and our votes.”
Obama’s lack of protest in recent weeks has been viewed by some as a sign of tacit acceptance of what Trump has done because it was under his administration that the first few detention centers were created in a deal with a private prison company.
Under Obama, parents were not separated from their small children, but the then-president did talk about using detention as a deterrent to slow the flood of immigrants from Central America crashing the U.S. border.
In his post today, Obama expressed his sympathy for those same refugees.
“Imagine if you’d been born in a country where you grew up fearing for your life, writes Obama, “and eventually the lives of your children.”
“A place where you finally found yourself so desperate to flee persecution, violence, and suffering that you’d be willing to travel thousands of miles under cover of darkness,” he adds, “enduring dangerous conditions, propelled forward by that very human impulse to create for our kids a better life.”
Oddly, Obama’s post comes on the same day that Trump – under tremendous pressure from his own party and family – finally signed an Executive Order that appears to end the family separation policy, without ending his “zero tolerance” policy or restoring the right of immigrants to seek asylum in America from violence, domestic terror, and gangs at home.
“It continues to be a zero tolerance. We have zero tolerance for people that enter our countries illegally,” Trump said, according to Buzzfeed. “I think the word ‘compassion’ comes into it. But it’s still equally as tough, if not tougher.”
During his eight years, President Obama did stand for what was best in America and while all of his choices were not consistently moral and right, he deserves to be remembered for what he did to make all Americans, no matter their race, religion or national origin, part of the extended family.
Today’s post continues the best of his legacy, even if it was slow coming.