June 20, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
I’ve done this once, but indirectly. It’s time to do it directly.
“It” in the first instance was aimed at the New York Times. The Times, like so many other news and opinion outlets has been bewailing the Trump Administration’s decision to jail adults who cross our borders in the company of a child. That decision necessitates removing the child and placing it in either foster care, other temporary care or sometimes in detention. This has thrown many serial opiners into quite a tizzy. Imagine how the children suffer!
And of course they do. The Times piece was actually quite moving as it described the anguish one little Honduran boy experienced over being separated from his father who’d tried to cross the border illegally and landed in jail.
My point then as now was that the Times routinely expresses the most virulent anti-father sentiments. It does so in a variety of ways, including articles, op-eds, opinions by featured columnists, forums and the like. Put simply, prior to the article about the little Honduran boy, I can’t recall a single Times piece that had anything positive to say about fathers. So I found it odd that, after all these years, the editors had finally located a father about whom they could say a good word.
More importantly, where is the Times when the issue of shared parenting comes up, as it does more and more these days? Answer: AWOL. It mostly has nothing to say on the subject, and, given its routine denigration of fathers and men, that adds up to apparent opposition to shared parenting.
Well, guess what happens when family courts rule in child custody and parenting time cases. Yes, they routinely remove fathers from children’s lives. They’ve been doing so for decades with nary a peep from the Times. In other words, it’s hard not to take the paper’s current excitement about Latino fathers and children at all seriously. Their “concern” is nothing but a stalking horse for the usual anti-Trump bent.
That of course raises the question of why the Trump Administration is conducting this policy as it is. Well, it seems to be trying to correct the previous policy of the Obama Administration. Apparently that included simply citing undocumented adults with children and hoping they turned up in court for their immigration hearing. Unsurprisingly, some 80% of them didn’t.
I strongly suspect too that, with that policy in place, the word went out that crossing the border with a child – whether yours or not – was an undocumented person’s “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Several sites have reported that often the children with adults crossing the border weren’t the children of those adults.
So apparently the Trump Administration is trying to clamp down on that practice. Of necessity, if an undocumented adult is arrested, U.S. authorities are faced with few alternatives regarding any child travelling with that adult. They can’t jail the child too because doing so would violate federal law. They can place the child in some sort of detention or they can place the child in some form of state care. That seems to be what’s going on. If someone has a better idea, I’d like to hear it.
But of course the practicalities of (a) enforcing U.S. law and (b) dealing with the children of undocumented adults crossing the border illegally, are as nothing to those whose sole function in life seems to be attacking the Trump Administration. They’ve got their story and they’re stickin’ to it.
The problem for them as for the Times is that we all know they don’t mean a word of it. That’s because the various news media that are riding this particular horse – MSNBC, CNN, WaPo, the Times, etc. – never give a tinker’s “damn!” about the children of divorce. Many of them too lose their fathers for no better reason than that the judge hasn’t been educated about the parenting arrangement that truly functions in the child’s best interests.
Where are their anguished cries in support of those kids? Silent. Where’s their support for shared parenting? Nowhere to be found.
To them I say, do the hard work of making real change in state family courts that seeks to reconnect children to their fathers. Do that day after day, month after month for many years. Then we’ll believe that you care about immigrant children. Until then, we won’t.
NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission. All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.