Splintering of migrant families is the story — and scandal — of the year

As news outlets reflect on the biggest stories and themes of 2018, Giles Li’s moving, historical perspective on the inhumane treatment of immigrant families calls attention to how shockingly tolerant we became of xenophobic malice inflicted by our own government (“Migrant families depend on the humanity of citizens,” Opinion, Dec. 28).

Many of us have become numb from Donald Trump’s head-spinning routine of haranguing tweets, impulsive policy changes, and frequent staff turnover. But when Trump and former attorney general Jeff Sessions implemented a separation policy for Central American families seeking asylum, they crossed the red line into the realm of intentional cruelty to children.

Border agencies were shown to have no credible plan for reuniting already vulnerable children with their parents, and hundreds are still being held in detention centers, often under unhealthy conditions. These kids will experience lasting psychological damage, and it was all unnecessary, since the use of ankle bracelets can ensure that migrants show up for their eventual asylum hearings.


The purposeful splintering of migrant families fleeing deadly violence in Central American countries, and our allowing it to persist, is the scandal of the year and the story of the year. The media need look no further.

Jeff Stone