Laura Bush Says Trump Putting Immigrant Children in 'Cages' Is Like World War II Internment Camps

Former first lady Laura Bush is not happy about the Trump administration's efforts to detain migrant children and separate them from their families. In a searing op-ed published by The Washington Post Sunday, Bush said the policy was "cruel" and "immoral" and compared it to Japanese-American internment camps in the U.S. during World War II.

“I live in a border state,” Bush, a Texas resident, wrote. “I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

Reporters who visited the detention centers described young children being held in "cages." Bush said the Trump administration policy led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions punished children for their parents' decision to cross into the U.S.

"Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso," she wrote. "These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese-American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. We also know that this treatment inflicts trauma; interned Japanese have been two times as likely to suffer cardiovascular disease or die prematurely than those who were not interned.

“In 2018, can we not as a nation find a kinder, more compassionate and more moral answer to this current crisis?” she continued. “I, for one, believe we can.”

Trump administration officials have also been critical of the policy, blaming Democrats for not doing more to strengthen border security. Trump also pointed to a 2008 anti-trafficking law passed by President George W. Bush, although there is no federal law requiring family separation. Under Trump, Republicans control the White House, Senate and U.S. House. 

"Noncitizens who cross our borders unlawfully, between our ports of entry, with children are not an exception," the attorney general said in defense of his policy last week. "They are the ones who broke the law; they are the ones who endangered their own children on their trek."

First lady Melania Trump said Sunday, in a rare remark on her husband's policy, that both parties needed to come together to help migrant children. “Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform," said a statement from her spokeswoman. "She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”

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