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You've heard of the Wars on Drugs, Terror, Poverty, even Women. Well, welcome to the War on Children.

It's being waged by the Trump administration and other right-wing public officials, regardless of any claimed "family values."

For evidence, look no further than the report released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services' own inspector general. It details the trauma suffered by immigrant children separated from their parents under the Trump administration's evil "zero tolerance" policy.

Catherine Rampell mug

Catherine Rampell

Thousands of children were placed in overcrowded centers ill-equipped to provide care for them physically or psychologically. Visits to 45 centers around the country resulted in accounts of children who cried inconsolably; who were drugged; who were promised family reunifications that never came; whose severe emotional distress manifested in phantom chest pains, with complaints that "every heartbeat hurts;" who thought their parents had abandoned them or had been murdered.

Such state-sanctioned child abuse was designed to serve as a "deterrent" for asylum-seeking families, as then-Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and other administration officials made clear.

Of course, they failed to recognize just how horrific are the conditions these asylum-seeking children are fleeing -- conditions that further decreased HHS' ability to adequately care for them.

"Staff in multiple facilities reported cases of children who had been kidnapped or raped" back in their home countries, the IG report states. Other children witnessed family members raped or murdered.

But hey, Trump believes these kiddos must be punished further for the crime of seeking refuge -- aka, the "invasion" of America.

This is hardly the only way the administration has knowingly enacted policies that harm children.

In August, it finalized a rule that would make it more difficult for immigrants to receive green cards if they have used certain safety-net services they're legally entitled to -- or if government officials suspect they might ever use such services. Confusion and fear about the policy and whom it affects abound. This has already created a "chilling effect" for usage of social services, with immigrant parents disenrolling even their U.S.-citizen children just to be safe.

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Last fall, for instance, I interviewed a green-card-holding mother who decided not to enroll her underweight newborn in a program that would have provided free formula (even though the program in question was not mentioned in the rule, and the baby is a U.S. citizen). Huge recent declines in children's Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program enrollment are also believed to be at least partly a result of fears about this policy change.

And lest you think only immigrant or brown children are being targeted in this war: U.S. servicemembers' children, of all sorts of backgrounds, are being hurt, too.

The Trump administration is siphoning billions from various defense projects to fund border wall construction, despite promises that Mexico would pay for it. This might sound unlikely to affect kids, but somehow the Trump administration found a way. Among the projects losing funds are schools for the children of U.S. servicemembers based in Kentucky, Germany and Japan, and a child-care center at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Trump's proposed federal budgets have likewise axed funding for other programs that serve children, such as subsidized school meals and Medicaid. Indeed, both federal and state GOP officials more broadly are still working to kill the Medicaid expansion, as well as other Affordable Care Act provisions that benefit kids.

The GOP has likewise ignored the pleas of children who want their lives protected from gun violence, or who want their futures protected from a warming planet.

A year ago, I offered a suggestion: that Democrats make children the theme of their midterm campaign. They mostly ignored me and still did OK. Nonetheless, I'm re-upping it.

Because even without Trump's baby jails and proposed Medicaid cuts, our country's emphasis on children's well-being is seriously deficient.

Last year, for the first time on record, we spent a greater share of the federal budget servicing the national debt than we did on children, according to an analysis out next week from First Focus on Children. Spending on children as a share of the federal budget is also expected to shrink over the coming decade, crowded out by both debt service and spending on the elderly.

This is despite the fact that spending on children (especially low-income children) has among the highest returns on investment of any form of government spending.

Whatever the opposite of Trump's War on Children is, that's what Democrats should be running on.

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Catherine Rampell's email address is crampell@washpost.com. Follow her on Twitter, @crampell.

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(58) comments

Rick Czeczok

HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA all the socialist activist got all shook up over just a few words I said. I love it. These are all people who brag about how smart they are, there accomplishments in life, awards they have won, and how great they are. I never listen to people who have to pat themselves on the back because I have found in my life that most of them are not what they say they are. Maybe that is why they are all so afraid of anyone finding out their true identity. To a point of total fear, weird group. Now this should draw another 40+ comments HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!




oldhomey

Ricky, your conceit is breath-taking. The only thing that you do that bothers anybody else is to parade your complete, unmitigated, trashy incivility. You have never -- not once in my memory -- made an interesting statement about anything, so your sense that you have riled up people by the power of your words is as stupid as your published HAHAHA hilarity.

Cassandra2

How sad that the self-proclaimed "conservatives" on these boards revel in treating children this way and engage in whataboutism and blame to support their immorality.

DMoney

How sad the parents of said children would subject their children to such an environment. If what they are escaping is THAT terrible, where they would knowingly break the law and subject their family to (temporary) separation, maybe they are grateful to be here under current conditions?

martian2

right D, using cruelty to children as a deterrent to families to migrate here is so humane. Perfect example of the lack of empathy on your part. Purposely being cruel to children is never ok under any circumstances, that is just common sense. But again with extremists GOP there is no common sense. Your temporary separation scenario actually goes on for many months, and traumatizes the children. I doubt any migrant family planned for that to happen. Evil wears many faces and rationalizes evil acts. You just participated in it.

Cassandra2

The D-Bag is a perfect example of the immorality of the wingnut crowd. He blames parents for trying to remove their children from danger. And he accuses them of breaking laws, which aren't really being broken since refugees are protected by international treaty.

PhysicsIsFun

It is quite a revelation reading the excuses and explanations for the horrible treatment of children at the border. People can rationalize all sorts of bad behavior. The right wingers on here have had lots of practice.

Rick Czeczok

Socialist BS... How far will they stoop to win 2020. So sad.


oldhomey

"Socialist BS" is not an answer, but we expect that from you, Ricky. If you think this is BS, you had better roll out your evidence showing that it is. Ms. Rampell rolled out plenty of evidence that it is, sadly, a dark, inexcusable reality, not BS at all.

Rick Czeczok

You are a self named socialist on this board. Who do you think you're kidding. Now tell everyone about how you made money in Vietnam when others your age were dying to give a guy like you all your rights that we have. You are the worst type of person I can think of. That's how socialist get ahead, walk over anyone, to get what they want. Now change your diaper, take your meds, ( that we pay for ) and go to bed you old pathetic man.

oldhomey

My, I seem to have struck a chord with Ricky. I am grateful for that.

johnnybragatti

Zerokok (a name he has for a reason), needs to put down his crack-pipe and the fifth of Everclear and get with the program. Can ya'll imagine if the loser had kids??? omg. zerokok ,an old demented Geezer,without a cause.

Cassandra2

Comrade Zerocock, please explain how treating children like humans is "socialist."

Cassandra2

Still waiting for the Comrade to explain how treating children like humans is "socialist."

PhysicsIsFun

Ricky "The Mouth Breather" Czeczok weighs in with one more of his clever burns. Let us know when you have turned down your Social Security Benefits and Medicare. I know a true believer like you will always be pure and never a hypocrite.

Climatehoax

You’d think by now the word would be out, the cages and detention centers Obama built are still in use, easy fix, STOP COMING HERE, if it’s so awful. TDS in full bloom

oldhomey

That is your message, Climate, but we know from your screen name that you are only about negative messages. It is not the message that most Americans believe is the face of America.

Rick Czeczok

Why is it that you always answer with a question? Because you can't think for yourself. That's why you believe and need the government to hold your hand through life. Such a sad, lonely old man.......

oldhomey

Ricky, perhaps if you moved your lips while you read, you could comprehend a little bit more of what it is that you are reading. What was the question that I asked in my 4:43pm post? I do SO want to maintain our dear, dear friendship, one of the last that this lonely, bitter old man has on this Earth.

Cassandra2

"Why is it that you always answer with a question?"

PhysicsIsFun

Ricky The Mouth Breather don't you know what a question is? That was a question. I know your grasp on English is weak but come on. Quit being so stupid!

Cassandra2

Tell us, Hoaxer, do you self-identify as a "christian"?

Cassandra2

Crickets.

johnnybragatti

Actually the cages were cultivated by the Orange Carcass, promoted by the Orange Carcass, utilized by the Orange Carcass and put in to operation, by the Orange Carcass.

Do ya"ll know who the Orange Carcass is ??? Tune in to Fox Fake and they might tell you., as alternative facts will keep you informed.

thomaslind949

Johnny, you are either uninformed, misinformed or just lying. Probably a combination of all three The kids in cages program was introduced by the Obama administration. Why don't you actually look into it??

oldhomey

Tommy boy, we are SO grateful that such a well-informed person like you is here to clarify the facts for the rest of us (of course I cannot speak for crank, who does not want me to speak for him, ever). None of us has ever looked into this woeful situation and discovered that in 2014 the Obama administration in fact did put up chain link fencing in two facilities to house unaccompanied migrant children who had show up at the border. The fencing was used to separate the children by gender and age for their safety, and they were kept at most for a few days before being placed in more humane facilities with the Department of Health and Human Services. From this the Trump administration and Trump himself have used the excuse that they are only doing what Barrack Obama did. Far from it.



"In early July 2019, as questions about the health of children in border facilities intensified the Trump administration was criticized for locking up young children in 'inhumane' conditions for weeks, and for its overall treatment of immigrants in overcrowded detention facilities. Democratic lawmakers who visited the facilities reported unsanitary, dehumanizing conditions. Meantime, at least seven children had died in custody in the span of a year — an unprecedented number in recent history."



Keep "informing" us, Tommy, and I will try to do the same for you. I am sure others on here will do the same for you.

Rick Czeczok

Now that just proves everything, backing a druggie like Jonny B Nothing. Great job all you socialist have to stick like glue. Five more years of Trump should just about make it through your lifespan. Venezuela has openings for socialist like you. I'll buy the one way ticket for you. But that can't happen as they would let you starve to death without blinking an eye. Yup socialism is your answer pal...




oldhomey

Happiness is setting Ricky off into a rage.

thomaslind949

I sure will Homey. The cages started with the Obama administration,OK!

Both you and the Martian think that the more words you use, the righter you are. You ramble on and on, while saying absolutely nothing. Just like most liberals. BLAH BLAH BLAH.

martian2

I'll try to make this short Thomas, hate to strain your attention span. The cages may have started with Obama for a short term but they were quickly abandoned. That doesn't give Trump the ok to double down on a bad idea and traumatize little kids to the point of being abusive. got that thomas, or was that way too many words for you.

martian2

love the blah blah by thomas. Talk about abusing the English language and using too many words. That argument hasn't been used since ricky boy used it long ago. You are in good company thomas, fitting for a person of your stature.

PhysicsIsFun

Ricky The Mouth Breather they have room for you at Mendota State Hospital. I am sure that you can find other deluded people to converse with. It is a public institution so you will have to break your pledge never to accept public help or funds, but consistency is not your strong point.

oldhomey

Don't you just hate it, Tommy, when somebody sees that you are lying and goes to the trouble of laying out careful facts that dispute and prove what you are saying is wrong? Apparently so. Sorry to be wordy, but when exposing stupidity, I want to be careful in showing the truth.

PhysicsIsFun

TommyBoy The Fox is strong in you.

thomaslind949

Yes Phizz, it is! THANK YOU!

Climatehoax

Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.







If this Trib rule were enforced johnnydruggie you wouldn’t be allowed to post on here


new2Lax

Makes a body wonder why the left denied funding for these folks and why the parents subjected their children to be exposed to such perils. The so called cages were built by a Democrat Administration .

martian2

you can bet the right wingers will counter with these children are not really human, they're illegals so they don't count. Any treatment of the children is fair game because we all know illegals will grow up to murderers and rapist, everyone of them. Its ok to hate the children because they are nothing more than vermin and it is our duty to rid this country of them. It is because of illegal children that we have so many problems in our society and we should use any means possible to get rid of them. They deserve everything they get, and more. Meanwhile abortion should be illegal cause every fetus deserves to be born, except illegal ones. Those can be tossed out with the garbage. All the others are on their own. Let them all suffer, it builds character. Keep the hate going, Trump needs to be reelected.

DMoney

You really have us figured out. We're pure evil, full of hate, and we want destruction and death. Why? Because we're conservatives and that's what conservatives do.

oldhomey

Well, D, I can't speak for martian, despite what you might here from crank on that score, but I think by defending the irrational, totally self-serving policies and actions of Trump and his administration, Trump supporters are a party to some things that actually are evil, hateful, destructive and, in many cases,fatal. Why? That is something that conservative supporters of Trump like yourself have to rationalize.

martian2

no d its not because you are conservatives, its because you are fanatical conservatives without an ounce of empathy for others. You fanatical right wingers have made a pact with evil, and you are sticking to it no matter what. And that is evil too.

DMoney

I have no empathy for people who break the law. Children don't willingly do this--it is a tragedy that they would be isolated and separated--blame their irresponsible and wreckless parents.

martian2

you just proved my point D, thank you. Blame the cruel treatment of the children on the parents, giving Trump a pass. Yes someone once said 80 years ago the Jews have only to blame themselves for their treatment, the Fuhrer is totally innocent. Fascism is alive and well today. Is that in one of those 5000 books you read?

Cassandra2

The D-Bag speaks the truth at last!

thomaslind949

"Those can be tossed out with the garbage", is what should be said about almost every one of your mindless, thoughtless uninformed rants. The only truth in your post was "Trump needs to be reelected". I hope you threaten to go back to Mars, if he is. That's where you belong. PLEASE, take Homey with you.

oldhomey

You are SO clever, Tommy boy! I feel humbled by your caustic, cutting but incisive rebuke.

thomaslind949

Don't miss your flight to Mars, Homey.

martian2

another childish and immature poster in thomas. They sure are coming out of the wood work. They must feel empowered now that their cherished orange head is in office. There was a day when such comments would of been an embarrassment, but in today's fanatic right wing it has become the norm. Sad what it has come to.

thomaslind949

That's Would have, NOT would of, Martian. Learn to speak English, or go back to Mars. And, once again, take Homey with. PLEASE!

martian2

"would of" fits just right thomas. You want to argue semantics, is that the best you got? And not a very good argument at that. "Would of been an embarrassment", but people like you are too fanatical to see how foolish you look. Buy 'n large, people like you with little to no factual arguments, just fox news talking points, are a waste of time.

martian2

hello thomas, where did you go? are you hiding? Nothing but crickets, thomas must be hiding behind the outhouse. Another idiot with nothing intelligent to add.

thomaslind949

If you're going to debate people Martian, you need to understand English!! Where did I go? Am I hiding? NO! The thing is, when I'm arguing with idiots like yourself, I eventually come to an obvious conclusion. That I might as well be trying to teach English to a door knob. You are probably very fluent in Martian. Go back where people, rather Martians, can understand you. Don't just take Homey with, bring Physics with you as well.

martian2

what? that's the best you got thomas? You are ridiculing my use of the english language, yet your posts provide a plethora of examples of how ignorant people use language. Tell me thomas how does blah blah blah prove any obvious conclusion you eventually come to? I think even door knobs are smarter than that. And how is telling someone to fly away to another planet an example of superior intellect and reasoning skills? I know you will never answer these questions with any type of adult like reasoning, just more name calling and childishness. At least you have lots of company in your fanatical right wing corner. Now go hide again before you come to another "obvious conclusion". There was a day when your type of thinking would of been an embarrassment to an adult.

thomaslind949

Martian, Martian, Martian. I use language like blah blah blah, so the mindless ( like yourself ) can understand. I'm speaking your language. You should be grateful. You can counter with, Oh ya? Well, blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah, take that, tommy!!!! And feel like you've out smarted me.

thomaslind949

Once again, all we get out of the man from Mars, is more BLAH BLAH BLAH. "Sad what it has come to"!

martian2

thank you thomas for proving my point. You explained and showed for every one to see your ignorance and short comings much better than I could. I owe you a debt of gratitude.

thomaslind949

I don't owe you a debt of gratitude,Marty. You owe me an apology. You mindless buffoon!! Sad, what you have come to.

martian2

pray tell thomas, what do I owe an apology to you for? Did I bring out the truth in you with your belligerent attitude and lies. Does that make you feel badly? Try to comprehend, said I owe you a debt of gratitude for you displayed for all to see, your short comings and severely restricted intellect. Thank you again. by the way I don't understand the use of the word blah. You said that is the language I understand, but truth is I don't. Could please explain what that word means and why you use it so often. Am I using too many words thomas? Ok I'll quit now but please expand on your mastery of the english language using the word blah. This ought to be a good one.

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