This Photo Of Trump's Family Separation Meeting With Lawmakers Has One Glaring Problem
In the past week, several photos involving President Trump's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy have sparked widespread backlash. Now, add to that list a photo of Trump's meeting with lawmakers on family separation policy, in which a table of mostly white male lawmakers discussed the fate of migrant families ripped apart at the border.
In the photo of the Wednesday meeting, Trump is joined by a group of lawmakers to discuss the immigration issue, shortly before he signed the executive order ending the family separation policy he started. In CBS News' White House correspondent Mark Knoller's photo, a gesticulating Trump told the present members of the Congress, "We are keeping families together but we have to keep our borders strong. We will be overrun with crime and people that should not be in our country."
The photo comes amid reports of families torn apart under the administration's immigration policy. The policy has caused thousands of migrant children, mostly from Latin America, to be separated from their parents and held in detention centers.
One week before signing the executive order to halt family separation, Trump claimed that the decision could not be made through an executive order from the president. In response to Knoller's photo, Twitter users asked where the women and people of color were. In one case, a Twitter user simply said, "Old white guys in red ties, telling lies."
Representation in lawmaking decisions and discussions is critical, particularly when it comes to immigration issues. Observers argue that people with more proximity and personal experience with such a subject could be more suitable to think of and offer humane alternatives.
Such a possibility was made evident in a new Quinnipiac University poll that asked its participants the question: "As you may know, some families seeking asylum from their home country cross the U.S. border illegally and then request asylum. In an attempt to discourage this, the Trump administration has been prosecuting the parents immediately, which means separating parents from their children. Do you support or oppose this policy?"
According to the poll results, men were more likely to support the policy of separating families as opposed to women who pushed against it. Along racial lines, people of color showed resistance to the idea of breaking immigrant families while white participants were more likely to support the practice. As a majority, however, whites opposed it, according to the poll.
In Trump's photo, not a single woman or person of color could be seen. According to journalist Caitlin Huey-Burns, there was a lone woman lawmaker at the table, who wasn't pictured.
Trump's executive order on Wednesday could have been done away with if the president simply told Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop enforcing the family separation policy. But even with the order, it's hard to gauge whether Trump's order will improve matters at all.
For now, all that is obvious is that families will be detained together as a unit for an indefinite amount of time. Their rights as asylum seekers have not been discussed, and Trump did not clearly state where these families will go. It's unclear what will happen to the thousands of children already separated from their family.
The president did, however, double down on keeping his administration's "zero-tolerance" policy intact, meaning that individuals crossing the United States and Mexico border illegally will be prosecuted.
It's this kind of photo circulating during a particularly tense political climate that led viewers to blast it on Twitter. In one case, the head of nonprofit media organization Texas Tribune Evan Smith simply said, "I realize our government is not as diverse as our country, but work with me: Who invites only white men to a meeting in 2018?"