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Children at the Border (2018)Children at the Border (2018)

It seems almost inconceivable. Some people have even drawn comparisons to what happened at Nazi concentration camps. This PBS Frontline documentary explores how in the summer of 2017 the US Department of Homeland Security under Trump enacted a "zero tolerance" policy that separated children from parents at the border. He later reversed course and said families would not be separated. The narrative compares and contrasts policies under Obama, who in 2014 faced a massive surge of unaccompanied children crossing borders (and was vilified as the "Deporter in Chief"). The film identifies a fundamental challenge: how do you maintain meaningful border enforcement (the concern of the right) and yet do it in a humanitarian way (the concern of the left). For further reflection on this complicated subject, see my two book reviews: Francisco Cantú's memoir called The Line Becomes a River; Dispatches From the Border (2018); and Lauren Markham, The Far Away Brothers; Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life (New York: Crown, 2017).

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