Politics

Trump’s Appalling New Border Policy Basically Came From Australia, And We Should Be Ashamed

The policy has been described as "nothing short of torture". Sound familiar?

US Customs and Border

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Americans are calling on the Trump administration to reverse a draconian immigration policy that involves separating thousands of children from their parents at the southern border. The policy has been described as “immoral” and “unconscionable” and “nothing short of torture” — words that, as an Australian, sound awfully familiar.

More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents in the roughly six weeks since US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new “zero tolerance” approach to border protection. Americans have been outraged by images of children being kept in metal cages, while even Melania Trump has expressed her concern.

The Late Show host Stephen Colbert slammed the administration during his show on Thursday, joking that if the policy sounded evil then “good news: your ears are working”.

The comedian went on to say that the government was “using cruelty as a deterrent”, citing a news report in which officials said that the idea was to discourage mothers from trying to enter the country with their kids.

Of course, here in Australia, we’ve been using cruelty as a deterrent for years, something that a number of local commentators have been quick to point out.

To make matters worse, it seems like Donald Trump might actually have gotten the idea for this policy from us. During a phone call with Trump shortly after his inauguration, Malcolm Turnbull explained Australia’s policy of locking up asylum seekers, to which Trump responded: “that is a good idea. We should do that too.”

The fact that so many Americans are up in arms about this policy should probably serve as a reminder to Australians that we, too, should be appalled about what is being done in our names. As it stands, 12 asylum seekers have died in Australia’s offshore detention camps. Seems like calling it “a good idea” is a bit of a stretch.

Feature image via U.S. Customs and Border Protection.