At first, Democrats like Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) insisted that there was no crisis at the southern border and refused to vote for more funding for border security. Now they’re proclaiming the southern border as a humanitarian disaster, and … they’re still opposing more funding for it. Tlaib told ABC’s Martha Raddatz that the conditions in border facilities are comparable to concentration camps, at which point the host of This Week pointed out the obvious:
Martha Raddatz destroyed Rashida Tlaib's argument: "You voted against the $4.6 billion emergency border bill to deal with the surge of migrants that included almost $3 billion to provide shelter & care for unaccompanied children… Isn't opposing aid contributing to this crisis?" pic.twitter.com/uOYyJJ8R5U
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) July 7, 2019
RADDATZ: You were – you were – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, your colleague who was at the border with you compared the facilities to a concentration camp. Do you agree with that comparison?
TLAIB: Absolutely, I mean there’s a number of experts that say this is – because it’s traumatic. I mean I don’t know how to explain to people what we saw when we’re explaining to people and they’re kind of looking back and saying well that can’t be true. I said but we were all there, I mean you have Congressman Castro, Melanie, Norma, all of us were there. We saw what we saw and we heard from the folks that were in the facilities, and some of them had not seen their children since being there. What you need to also know is do you know the mere touch, the mere even me holding the hand broke them down in tears? That tells you they’re under a lot of trauma that they are in a facility that is dehumanizing. And you know, this is a choice by the current administration, they are choosing to not allow asylum seekers to go through the legal process. They’re choosing to separate –
RADDATZ: Congresswoman, I want to stop you here for just a second. McAleenan has been sounding the alarm for months for resources to help the migrants, you voted against the $4.6 billion emergency border bill to deal with the surge of migrants, that included almost $3 billion to provide shelter and care for unaccompanied children. Acting Secretary McAleenan says those funds are critical to get children out of CBP custody and transfer, even if the bill didn’t have what you wanted.
TLAIB: Well I’m proud – I – exactly but listen to this, do you know what the CBP agents said on the ground, though Martha?
RADDATZ: Isn’t opposing aid contributing to this crisis?
TLAIB: Martha? Martha, do you know what they said –
RADDATZ: Just answer this.
Needless to say, Tlaib never did answer this question. According to Tlaib, CBP agents on the ground told her that they didn’t want the money:
Three agents took me aside, away from my colleagues and said more money is not going to fix this, that they were not trained to separate children, that they don’t want to separate two year olds away from their mothers. That’s not what they were trained for, that’s not what they signed up for in their service to our country. They signed up to protect the border, not to separate children, not to put people in cages.
Ahem. CBP has been separating children from adults since at least 2014, and the cages date back at least that far too. It seems odd to hear that CBP officials are not trained in their use or in the separation of children from adults, in part because it’s not clear whether the adults are family members. The need to separate children comes from the potential for human trafficking of minors, a risk that US asylum policies incentivizes.
Apart from that, it seems suspicious that three CBP agents would feel the need to pull Tlaib “away from my colleagues” to tell her this. Why not tell that to other members of Congress? More to the point, why not tell this to members of Congress with more seniority than Tlaib?
Raddatz also quoted Nancy Pelosi’s exasperation with the endless posturing coming from the four frosh thorns in her side in this session:
RADDATZ: I want to bring up that aid package again. In a column in the New York Times this morning the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that you and the three other progressives made yourself irrelevant to the process by voting against the bill. “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” she said. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
TLAIB: You know people like us, people like me and Ayanna, Ilhan and Alexandria, we’re reflective of our nation in many ways. But many of us didn’t run to be first of anything, but more people like us have been missing in the halls of Congress. More people like us, people of color have been missing in the chamber because most of us – and Ayanna Pressley says it more beautifully, people that are closest to the pain needs to be at the table making these decisions. Guess what, we know what it feels like to be dehumanized. We know what it feels like to be brown and black in this country. And I’ll tell you right now, we’re not going to stand by and sit idly by and allow brown and dark-skinned children to be ripped away from their parents to be dehumanized.
RADDATZ: What would you say to Nancy Pelosi? What would you say directly to Nancy Pelosi?
TLAIB: Honor the fact we are there, that 650,000 people are represented by each and every single one of us, that there is some sort of, I think in many ways, something special about having a refugee, having a woman that, you know, has experienced alone what incarceration has done to her family, right. All of us have these experiences that I think have been missing in the halls of Congress. Honor that, respect that, put us at the table. Let’s come up with a solution together.
Ahem ahem. Yes, it’s true that these four women represent collectively 2.6 million people. The rest of the caucus represents roughly 150,800,000 people. Who needs more of a sense of humility in dictating terms — Tlaib and her three pals, or the woman elected to lead the other 232? Based on her performance with Raddatz, Tlaib might consider that question, and furthermore learning a few things first. History would be at the top of that list, followed closely by logic.