Opinion writer

We shouldn’t be surprised, but we should be irate that, after blocking again and again bipartisan measures to address immigration and specifically the beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, President Trump and his congressional toadies blamed Democrats for failing to help “dreamers.” Likewise, no one who followed the campaign or has listened to Trump’s rhetoric in office can be stunned that he would declare at an immigration meeting, “We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in, we’re stopping a lot of them, but we’re taking people out of the country, you wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a rate that’s never happened before.”

Even if he was referring to the tiny percentage of immigrants who commit crimes, his efforts to conflate criminals with all illegal immigrants is repulsive, as is calling any human being an “animal.” Moreover, it is false that we have never deported so many people; President Barack Obama deported far more. Trump’s continued misrepresentation of the numbers seeks to instill fear and prompt egregious action.

Speaking of egregious action, the policy of separating children from their illegal-immigrant parents and then warehousing them on military bases sounds like something out of a dystopian movie. Trump had the nerve to blame Democrats for this new policy. “The Democrats gave us that law,” he lied. “It’s a horrible thing we have to break up families.” His cowardice is quite striking: He hasn’t the guts to accept responsibility for his own handiwork.

Trump’s utterance came the day after Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of homeland security, was defending this stunningly inhumane policy. CNN reported:

The Trump administration last month testified it lost track of 20% — or nearly 1,500 children — of the undocumented minors that had been in its custody over a three-month “We are begging you, if in fact this is going to be the outcome, where we’re separating children, in some cases infants, from their parents, we need to know where these kids are,” said North Dakota [Democratic Sen.] Heidi Heitkamp.

As if that were not enough of the “man’s inhumanity to man” report, House Republican leadership demonstrated their determination to stick by the most anti-immigrant segment of the GOP. Alas, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) is facing a revolt among his ranks from congressmen either horrified by the party’s stance or horrified they may lose their seats. “Two more Republicans signed on to a measure that would force an immigration vote in the House just hours after [Ryan] urged his colleagues not to in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday,” CNN reported on Wednesday. “The signatures of New York Rep. John Katko and Michigan Rep. David Trott brings the total to 20 Republicans supporting the move, five short of the number needed to force a vote if all Democrats sign on as well.”

Even if Trump and the GOP had done nothing else objectionable during their 16 months in control together, their vilification and treatment of immigrants should earn them the condemnation of Americans and the forfeiture of their moral authority to govern. America is sullied by their behavior.