A boy from the Anapra area observes a binational prayer performed by a group of religious presbyters by migrants on the border wall HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Trump’s Child Hostages

US President Donald Trump thinks that anti-immigrant rhetoric, with which he began his presidential campaign in June 2015, is what brought him victory, and that it will work again in November's midterm congressional elections and when runs again in 2020. He might be right.

WASHINGTON, DC – Suddenly, without much thought or planning, which is essentially how he operates, US President Donald Trump lit a match to his administration by approving a policy of separating migrant children from their parents as they arrived – many fleeing violence in Central America – at the southern border with Mexico. And then, by doing what he is intent on never doing – backing down – Trump created more problems for himself.

Whether the US actually has an immigration “crisis” is hotly debated. But Trump has one of his own: for all but his most devoted followers, he finally went too far. Stories of babies ripped from the arms of their mothers, a recording of small children sobbing, and government-released images showed older boys being kept in wire cages (observers have not yet been permitted to see the youngest children or older girls in captivity): all of this proved too much for the public.

Usually supine congressional Republicans panicked and told Trump and his team that his policy of tearing families apart could ruin their chances in November’s midterm elections. In fact, the policy of separating families was threatening to drive a wedge between Trump and even his evangelical followers. And they had been willing to overlook growing evidence of Trump’s sexual hijinks during his marriage to the first lady, Melania (including apparent payoffs to a porn star and others for silence), in exchange for policy influence and appointments of social conservatives to the Supreme Court and throughout the federal judiciary. Unusually for her, former first lady Laura Bush spoke out against the policy of taking children from their mothers.