Stephen Miller was of course a trusted aide of then-Senator Sessions before he moved to Trump’s team in early 2016. And hardline views on illegals were something he, Senator Sessions, and Candidate Trump agreed on wholeheartedly. So, it’s hardly a surprise that Miller seems to be taking credit for the zero-tolerance enforcement policy that went into effect this April and which apparently has resulted in heart-breaking scenes of young children taken from their parents.

If you listen to AG Sessions, this zero-tolerance application of the law is a good in and of itself and is so because of moral reasons. Quoting Romans 13 – the 13th chapter of Paul the Apostle’s letter to the Romans – Sessions stated:

I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.

In other words, it is righteous to obey the law because laws ultimately flow from God’s authority. This has, of course, unleashed a flood of criticism from both sides of the aisle and from Presidents past and even their wives. And even some cautious criticism from within the White House, on the part of people like Kellyanne Conway. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has voiced concerns of children “exposed to irreparable harm and trauma” and the Southern Baptists Convention has called for family unity to be a priority of urgently needed immigration reform.

At National Review, Dan McLaughlin, a Catholic, delves into Paul’s epistle to the Romans, and links chapter 12’s ending to the beginning of chapter 13 to underscore the limits of Christian submission to earthly authority.

The problem is, to President Trump the separation of children from their parents when they cross the border between the official border crossings (at the actual border crossings you reportedly can ask for asylum and you will not have your children separated from you as your request is processed) is not a moral problem, but rather a tactical weapon to force Democrats to bargain with the White House and pay up for a border wall and further measures to tighten enforcement.

This is classic Trump double-down and hit back harder tactics. Will it work this time?

It may resonate with some of his base, but it seems he has picked the wrong target – young, helpless children – to try and gain leverage for his goal of greater border enforcement. While crimes committed by illegals that have been released back into the community, or that have been deported and have returned multiple times, are stories that tend to gain support with many conservatives, populists, and some independents, screaming and terrified children do not fit that bill.

This is a godsend to Democrats, and a bit of a nightmare for Republicans. One assumes that this story will dominate – which Trump doesn’t seem to mind at all – and one assumes that polling will not be favorable to the President. But there’s another factor at play, just as in the case of the DACA deadline back in March that suddenly became irrelevant, and that’s because of the courts.

Will a lawsuit produce an injunction ordering the White House to undo its executive order (whether there was an actual order or not) that started requiring zero-tolerance application of the laws? Or is Nancy Pelosi busy on the phone begging her pals on the Ninth Circuit, and is Senator Schumer pleading to any other Circuit that will listen to him, to please NOT rule on this for at least a few months until mid-terms are almost upon us?

Of course, Congress could rewrite immigration laws and the Senate could gather across the aisle to pull together enough votes to make their immigration reform law veto-proof. Which is kind of what the Constitution suggests should happen. Unfortunately, with politicians focused on getting re-elected, it seems much more likely this will end up very quickly in the courts. The question is, what will this issue do the GOP? Good luck with the vote on the two immigration bills. Speaker Ryan’s work has been blown up real good by the President.

But that, in the end, is the point. Immigration is a very divisive issue for America, and only the GOP is really showing both sides of that debate. The Democratic party, on the other hand, has long settled on one side of the immigration debate. Will this still be an issue by Labor Day? It very well could be, despite the unending roller-coaster ride through one issue after another with this administration.

Or will Trump somehow turn pictures of wailing and helpless kids, separated from their parents by uniformed officials, to his advantage? A ridiculous possibility. But not impossible.

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