One of the most gut-wrenching anecdotes from 2018 has been the sight of migrant children from Latin American countries being subjected to horrific and cruel treatment at migrant shelters. But one rabidly pro-Trump Christian radio host thinks that the staffers who engaged in this outrageous behavior shouldn’t bear responsibility. He pointed the finger at–wait for it–the parents.
On Friday, The Arizona Republic got its hands on ghastly video footage depicting kids being dragged, pushed, and slapped by staffers at the Hacienda del Sol shelter in Youngtown, west of Phoenix. The incident happened just before the federal government suspended the shelter’s operations in October, though it’s not clear whether those incidents prompted federal intervention.
Soon after the feds shut down Hacienda del Sol, its operator, Southwest Key, reached a deal with Arizona officials in which it surrendered the shelter’s license and that of one other Phoenix-area shelter. Southwest Key had been under fire for inadequately vetting employees at its 13 shelters across the state.
While Maricopa County sheriff’s investigators ultimately determined that the abuse depicted in the video didn’t rise to the level of criminal conduct, the fact that people were allowed to work with children without being properly vetted was too outrageous to ignore. This anecdote is especially ghastly in light of reports that the Trump administration waived background checks for thousands of staffers working at a shelter/detention camp in Texas.
And yet, in the face of all of this, American Family Radio afternoon host Bryan Fischer somehow would have you believe that the parents of those kids bear responsibility for any abuse they suffer at these shelters.
And just in case he hadn’t made himself clear, Fischer doubled down.
Fischer has been wrong on a lot of things over the years. But this may have been one of his most outrageous moments yet, if not his most outrageous moment.
So let’s get this straight, Bryan. The staffers at these shelters had no qualms about slapping and dragging kids–but the parents are responsible for sending their kids across the border in the first place. The staffers at these shelters were allowed within an area code of children without being properly vetted–but the parents are responsible for sending their kids across the border.
Granted, we’re talking about a guy who believed John McCain stopped being a hero when he was released from the Hanoi Hilton. But even by those standards, this is absolutely ghastly. There is only one appropriate response to this pigweed.
What’s really scary is that Fischer and American Family Radio command outsized influence among fundies. Remember, much of that world lives in a bubble where American Family Radio is considered a primary news source. Even allowing for how warped things have become in the Trump era, the thought that anyone can command this much influence with such a fundamentally warped moral compass is nothing short of a disgrace.
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