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Editorial: Pa. needs answers on immigrant children
One of the problems with a president as detail-averse as Donald Trump is that, too often, he mistakenly believes a photo-op resolves an issue.
It does no such thing, of course. But the president refuses to listen to reason, experts or, evidently, anyone not in the employ of Fox News.
So Trump is caught short when his original, Muslim-targeting travel ban causes havoc at international airports and is rejected by the courts. Only last month did the Supreme Court, in a — what else? — 5-4 decision finally allowed a modified version to stand. (Thanks, retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy; don’t let the door hit you on the way out!)
Or Trump crows that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat following his meeting last month with the leader of that nation, Kim Jung-un. That may someday be a legitimate statement — and credit Trump and his administration if that day comes — but the work is far from finished, despite the president’s evident impression that all that’s left on this count is for him to collect his Nobel Peace Prize.
Finally, notice how Trump appears to have lost interest in the issue of his administration’s forcible separation of families at the southern U.S. border after signing an order rescinding that practice. Problem solved, right?
As was made clear by demands this week from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Sen. Bob Casey and other Democratic lawmakers, the issue is far from settled. And the lack of information from the Trump administration about how, exactly, it is moving to resolve the crisis is anything but reassuring.
State lawmakers are seeking details on how many immigrant children, having been separated from their parents, are now being housed in Pennsylvania.
While controversial child-holding centers in tent cities and converted big-box stores near the border drew national attention — and well-deserved opprobrium — youngsters were also spirited to destinations throughout the country.
Wolf and Casey join lawmakers elsewhere — such as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in neighboring New York — in seeking information on the number of unaccompanied immigrant children being held in their states, their conditions, and their whereabouts.
The answers are not simply academic.
“We are very concerned about vulnerable children, for whom the trauma of being separated from their families will have a short- and long-term adverse impact on their mental health and well-being,” Wolf said in a statement released by his office.
Understandably so. Federal immigration officials have been tight-lipped about the conditions of families and children separated at the border. And though the administration has been ordered by a judge to reunite the families, more than 2,000 children remain without their parents, and plans for reunification have not been forthcoming.
So state officials — Republican Sen. Pat Toomey has likewise weighed in — are correct to express concern and, in the case of Wolf and Casey, demand answers.
Where are they children? How are they being cared for? Where are their parents? How will the families be reunited?
These are important and life-altering questions — not only in Pennsylvania but throughout the country. Not only for the two dozen or so immigrant children who were believed to have been relocated to Pennsylvania as of June 26, but for the thousands nationwide who remain separated, scared and scarred.
President Trump appears to believe these questions were put to bed when he reversed course and signed an order ending the inhumane family-separation policy.
In the real world, questions, concerns and broken families remain.