Military and Police

Fake Outrage Creates Real Outrage: U.K.’s PM Theresa May says U.S. Border Agents are Holding Kids in Cages

You know what fake outrage can do? It can create real outrage. This morning, I heard a world leader say something that made me furious. I’m not sure if she realized it, but she not only insulted the United States, generally, but also specifically by targeting the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and its agents. Oh, incidentally, does the last word in the agency’s name mean anything these days? How about we change it to something more nebulous like, U.S. Customs and Border Project? Then the agency can represent whatever someone wants it to be on a given day.

On May 20, British Prime Minister Theresa May waded—no, wait…jumped with both feet into the U.S. immigration fray with, among others, this comment: “The pictures of children being held in what appear to be cages are deeply disturbing. This is wrong. This is not something that we agree with. This is not the United Kingdom’s approach.” And she’s what passes for a conservative in the U.K. these days.

Well, goodie for you, Madame Prime Minister. Aren’t you special…and oh so virtuous? Obviously, she’s a much better human being than the American president, and the Brits are much better people than us lowly Yanks. Please!

For anyone paying attention and not falling for the left’s faux indignation at something that’s been going on since the Obama administration, the prime minister’s comments mean little. However, to those walking around in an information fog, barely getting damp from what passes for news delivered by the mainstream media in biased soundbites and one-sided images, a snippet of a world leader’s comments can have an impact. It can help to validate what is invalid. Listen to May’s comments and you will see that fake news has influenced a world leader’s public statement and view on an American immigration issue. Congrats ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC. Impressive. Meanwhile, Britain is waging a war on kitchen knives, stemming from their superior immigration laws and policies.

To say children were being held in “cages,” to use that specific word, is to accuse CBP personnel of inhumanely treating the most vulnerable victims of the politically-prolonged immigration fiasco. Let’s not forget it is irresponsible parents and other more nefarious adults who’ve dragged these children into danger and lawbreaking.

(Credit: Facebook/IBC World News)

May’s comments are insulting and ridiculous. The only people who believe American lawenforcers are putting children in “cages” are people who want to believe it. Words matter. When a parent puts a kid in a playpen, could it be considered putting the child in a cage? When kids play in a fenced-in school playground with locked gates, are they in a cage? I guess it depends on your political goals. Pictures also exist of what the actual facilities look like. More like a summer camp than an internment camp.

Just like in these instances above, the CBP is responsible for the safety and well-being of these kids. Remember, the children are in protective custody. Do you think some kids wouldn’t wander off if they were in an unlocked facility? Anyone think it might be dangerous for a child to wander the streets of an unknown city, not speaking the language?

Think about the CBP agents. They have a job to do. They swore an oath to uphold the laws of the United States as they exist, not as some people wish they exist. The opposition can drop their “resist” buttons and cooperate with their political rivals to change what they don’t like about a law or to change the law itself. We’re seeing that many Republicans are, how shall I put it…flexible on this issue. This brings up the question: do the Democrats want to solve this situation? I guess we’ll soon see. Last time they had the chance to begin fixing immigration laws, they distorted the issue to the point of, somehow, accusing the Republicans of racism. Nice trick!

I see Theresa May’s perspective on the immigration issue as an extension of the Black Lives Matter view of local law enforcement. Cops are inhumane brutes who want to hurt and kill people—even children. By accusing CBP agents of putting children in “cages,” isn’t she saying as much? I know several good friends who are CBP agents. They are loving husbands and fathers, and the last thing they want to do is separate parents from their children. They certainly would never hurt a child. But, since the law requires their parent’s arrest, the agents have no choice. Of course, the agents treat the kids humanely—in fact, a lot better than the sterile word humane conveys.

I remember when I was still an active cop, our agency created a teddy bear program. The department collected stuffed animals to give to children who had been involved in a car wreck, a house fire, or caught up in their parents’ criminal behavior. In fact, I sponsored a local high school senior who’d chosen this program for her senior project. This included going on a ride-along with me to see the program in action. As cops, we all knew it wasn’t the kids’ faults they were involved in what they’d been dragged into, and it was nice to be able to dull the edges of a traumatic experience for them.

April 27, 2018: “A big thank you to Shopko for donating several stuffed animals to our ‘Bears on Patrol’ program. The stuffed animals will be partnered with patrol officers to be distributed to children dealing with traumatic situations.” (Credit: Facebook/Abilene Police Dept.)

CBP agents show similar kindnesses when placing children into protective custody after arresting their parents for breaking U.S. law. To comment on this issue without paying it the respect of the critical thinking it deserves just plays into the divisiveness created by exploiting this issue and those kids. Once again—and this is a point that drives us cops crazy—we have been placing kids into protective custody after arresting parents for their unlawful actions forever! There are officers in America that are doing it as you read this, and no one will say a word about it.

How many politicians have we seen, on what few honest news shows that remain, contradicting the immigration views they held when there was a Democrat in the White House? Senator Chuck Schumer comes to mind. In 2014, the New York senator said, “I want to let you in on a little secret. We are going to pass that [immigration] bill and sign it into law this year.” Um, okay.

I’ll give him credit though: He seems equally disturbed by both sides of the immigration issue, depending on what day it is. With one of the straightest faces in politics, he will say anything if it helps his side and, sadly, even if it hurts the country. He probably loved May’s anti-American comments.

How can it be that the head of government of one of the most important countries on earth and one of America’s strongest allies could be so seemingly gullible, or is she simply being politically wily? To fall for photos taken during the Obama administration and falsely attributed to President Trump seems odd. Again, it seems to be the tack adopted by someone who wants to believe the worst about America under President Trump and about those who work for him in a federal law enforcement agency.

Would the British Prime Minister make these same comments while sitting down to tea with CBP agents? While talking with them, looking into their eyes? She seems too nice for that, so I’m guessing this is political expediency. Regardless of her motivations, Theresa May owes the men and women of the U. S. Customs and Border Protection an apology.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at

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