The Skinny

The image that greets children in a detention center in Texas.
The image that greets children in a detention center in Texas.

Caging Children

This is what it's come to in Trump's America

You know how you can tell that the Trump administration's new policy of locking children in cages is utterly reprehensible? Because even Donald Trump—who wants his name on just about everything except an indictment from the Special Counsel's Office—doesn't want credit for it. He's out-and-out lying about how it's the Democrats' fault and they can fix it by doing what he wants them to do—mainly, agree to spend money on the wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for, along with various other demands designed to Make America White Again.

You know what you call it when you threaten to hurt small children if people don't do what you want? A hostage situation.

Trump's effort to shift blame for his own zero-tolerance policy isn't selling well, especially since other members of his administration—Attorney General Jeff Sessions, policy advisor Stephen Miller and Chief of Staff John Kelly—have proudly confessed they have long been considering yanking children from their mothers as a deterrent to stop future border crossers. Sure, some of them have tried to invent new spins for what they're doing, but it's a clearly a cruel policy that is horrifying to the majority of Americans.

We don't often agree with Sen. John McCain, but he got it right when he tweeted earlier this week: "The administration's current family separation policy is an affront to the decency of the American people, and contrary to principles and values upon which our nation was founded. The administration has the power to rescind this policy. It should do so now."

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, who has edged further and further to the right as she seeks a promotion to the U.S. Senate, stopped short of condemning Trump's policy, as she is doing all she can to suck up to him as she faces fellow Republicans Joe Arpaio and Kelli Ward. Instead, she used the opportunity to pimp her own hardline immigration bill that tracks what Trump wants: a border wall and new limits on legal immigration.

"We need to enforce our laws in a consistent and humane manner and DHS should not have to choose between enforcing the law and keeping children with their parents," McSally said in a prepared statement. "My immigration bill, which I've been working on since September, fixes this by allowing children to stay with their parents as they undergo due process."

Unfortunately for McSally, her bill is so draconian that she hasn't been able to round up enough GOP votes to get it through the House of Representatives. House leadership has been trying to get that bill to the floor this week alongside a less severe proposal that's been the subject of negotiations between moderate Republicans and the Freedom Caucus. But after the moderate Republicans gave up on a discharge petition that would have brought a bipartisan bill to the floor, we're guessing that neither bill will pass the House this week—and even if one of them did, the legislation wouldn't get through the Senate.

So Congress is going to do nothing to stop this. Welcome to Trump's America in 2018, where children are traumatized to score political points and fire up the GOP base.

The only way this ends is if voters choose a different party to run Congress in November. If not, expect it to get much, much worse.

To Bee or Not To Bee

Child candidate for Justice of the Peace has yet to surface

We're still on the hunt for Pima County's most elusive candidate, Keith Bee Jr. As TW reporter intern Kathleen Kunz reported last week, Bee Jr. is the son of current Justice of the Peace Keith Bee, who is retiring. It turns out Keith Bee Jr. wants his job of running a court and deciding legal cases, even though he's just 21 years old.

Hey, some 21-year-old kids are smarter than people twice their age. Bee Jr. may fall into the that category—but it appears, at this point, that he's just hoping nobody will notice he's not his dad, so he can get elected to a job that pays more than $100,000 annually.

That said, we're eager for Bee Jr. to prove us wrong, if indeed we are. So Junior: Please contact our reporter at

The televised edition of Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel airs 6:30 p.m. Fridays on the Creative Tucson network, Cox Channel 20 and Xfinity Channel 74. This week's guests are January Contreras, the Democratic candidate for Arizona Attorney General, and Catherine Ripley and Domingo DeGrazia, who are running for the Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 10. The TV show repeats Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. The radio edition of Zona Politics airs at 5 p.m. Sundays on community radio KXCI, 91.3 FM.