Savion Castro
Op Ed

Walker a Coward on Trump Border Policy

His silence on interning immigrant children echoes his inaction on Lincoln Hills youth.

By - Jun 23rd, 2018 01:37 pm
Gov. Scott Walker. Photo from the State of Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker. Photo from the State of Wisconsin.

Scott Walker offered something worse than deafening silence on Donald Trump’s unconscionable policy of tearing infants, toddlers, and children from their parents and placing them in 21st-century internment camps when he said he wouldn’t comment on a “federal” issue.

Forty-eight hours later, when Gov. Scott Walker travelled to Washington, D.C. to meet with Donald Trump, he still felt no obligation to speak out against the human rights violation occurring on our border against children. Instead, he has been fundraising off of Facebook ads on the need to build the border wall and sending Wisconsin National Guard troops to the border.

Make no mistake, Gov. Walker’s cruel, political calculus on “baby jails” is the culmination of a 25-year pattern of indifference and hostility to children of color he has displayed during his lifetime in elected office.

When comparing Scott Walker’s record with Scott Walker’s focus-grouped talked points, it is obvious he and Wisconsin First Lady Tonette Walker are paying lip service to real areas of need like trauma-informed care.

Before Walker stood with Donald Trump on indefinitely detaining immigrant children and their families fleeing violence, we must not forget that he codified the separation of young men and women from their families, and failed to speak against the cruel and immensely unjust of separation of children from their families amongst the nearly decade-long saga of cruelty at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake. In his tenure as Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker has unequivocally failed to be a steward to the children less privileged than his.

Six years ago, Scott Walker received a letter from a Racine County judge detailing the horrific conditions at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake. Governor Walker did not act. As details continued to pour out, and the traumatic experiences in the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake facilities continued to pile up, Governor Walker did nothing until the crisis came to a head during an election year.

When a news broke that a 16-year-old inmate had his arm broken by a guard, and was left naked in his cell for hours, and then waited a week for proper medical treatment, Scott Walker was silent. When three institutional psychologists left the institution for malpractice, Scott Walker was silent. And, when inmates at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake told former Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Wall that “They’re hurting us. They’re harming us,” Scott Walker was silent. Eventually, Walker’s hand was forced by a federal investigation from DOJ and a lawsuit from the ACLU.

The traumas children endured at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake in many instances were preceded and compounded by traumas they endured in communities that Governor Walker has overseen. A 2016 study demonstrated that children exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have an extremely high likelihood of ending up in the juvenile justice system. There is a reason why a 2014 study declared that Wisconsin is the worst state to raise a black child. From having one of the nation’s largest academic achievement gaps for children of color, to Dane County having the highest disparity in maternal mortality rate between black and white women, and one of the nation’s highest infant mortality rates for black infants; these are all indicators of a crisis in a community that Scott Walker has either shown contempt for or neglected.

Whether we are talking about the grotesque Trump-created crisis on the border, or about young people in Wisconsin being shipped and incarcerated hundreds of miles from their families and communities, the biological impact on children and young people from these traumatic experiences is undeniable. The toxic stress created by these environments and the severing of parental bonds at younger ages can exacerbate depression, anxiety, and other trauma-related symptoms.

Time after time, Scott Walker has failed to stand and act with moral clarity against the unjust treatment of children in crisis. His cowardice in these moments will be his legacy.

Savion Castro is a Research Associate at One Wisconsin Now and student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Sociology.

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

10 thoughts on “Op Ed: Walker a Coward on Trump Border Policy”

  1. Troll says:

    No mention in your article how the policy started under Obama. I guess it’s okay then because Obama cares more about child trafficking and he was standing up for kids.

  2. PMD says:

    Obama did not separate families. That has been stated thousands of times in the last week. Read more than breitbart.

    Walker is a coward. He was comically over the top in his quick condemnation of Evers after the candidate used a potty word but he says nothing about thousands of kids in cages separated from their parents. Some nice family values there. Conservative Christians are the worst.

  3. TransitRider says:

    Troll, this didn’t start under Obama. It started April 6, 2018, and was announced by Jeff Sessions.

  4. snowbeer says:

    He’s up for reelection. A republican isn’t going to win today without the support of the racist leaning 40% of the country that believes the lies Trump spews. Walker doesn’t care about principles, he cares about keeping his job. Remember, he has no skills or education to help him get a real job.

  5. A Prire says:

    Womp Womp!
    (Bemused yet Condescending)

  6. LenaTaylorNeedsToResign says:

    The real cowards here are the illegal immigrants and their helpless children, who refuse to do the work to institute political, cultural and economic reforms in their own countries. Instead they flee, and want to offload all the responsibility for their countries’ mess onto us. Fix your own damn problems first.

  7. PMD says:

    Is that a joke? It has to be. No one can be that stupid and ignorant about how we all got here. Why didn’t the Irish and Italians and so on fix their own damn problems. Priceless.

  8. Troll says:

    CNN this week asked Senator Tammy Baldwin about Obama’s separation family policy. She could not answer coherently.

  9. PMD says:

    My brother-in-law was asked about Reagan’s separation family policy at a birthday party yesterday and could not answer coherently.

  10. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    snowbeer hits it perfectly. Republicans cannot win without the racist vote, so Walker dog-whistles abd counts on the gutless Wisconsin media,not to call out hus game.

    This amoral grifter doesn’t care about anyone that cant donate to his campaigns or give him and his donors more power. Our most vulnerable do not qualify (including the residents of the Vets home at King), so they get abused with no more than a shrug from Walker.

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