We Have Run Out of Good Choices

There is only deciding which choice is worse. From Takoma, in D.C. (boldface mine):

A proposed 200-bed shelter in D.C. to house detained immigrant children is likely to face a number of legal and regulatory obstacles from city officials and residents, including a possible public zoning hearing and legislative attempts to prohibit such a large facility from getting a license to operate to begin with…

The shelter would be one part of the controversial federal effort to handle the influx of immigrants along the nation’s southern border, an effort that has drawn opposition in other jurisdictions — including Northern Virginia.

…while the public could broadly weigh in against President Trump’s immigration policies at a hearing, the board can only consider matters specific to zoning when reaching a decision. For a facility the size of the proposed shelter, that would be traffic, noise, and whether there are other facilities in the city that could better serve the purpose of housing a large number of minors.

Still, BZA hearings — especially hotly contested ones — can result in delays up to 18 months on any proposed project, and even longer if a final decision is appealed.

“It can be a long, drawn-out process,” says Daniel Warwick, an ANC commissioner in Ward 2 who has worked on zoning matters. “And with something as terrible as what’s being proposed, I expect it will be a long, drawn-out process.”

…Nadeau says she’s considering emergency legislation once the Council returns from its summer recess in mid-September, but [Mayor] Bowser — who has also spoken out against proposed shelter — could also issue regulations.

“Our message is clear: reunite the children with their families,” said John Falcicchio, Bowser’s chief of staff. “No more warehouses!”

Takoma residents have largely been speaking against the proposed shelter on their neighborhood listserv, though some have said having one in the city could be better than putting it somewhere else.

This may be naïveté on my part, but if these children are being detained somewhere, I would rather have them next door and try to show them some kindness,” wrote the poster. “Our neighborhood would likely treat them with a lot more warmth and compassion than many other possible locations in our country right now.”

“No, we won’t be able to have a say about how children are treated, nor do we know that we would have any access to communicate with them at all. There’s no such thing as humane child detention,” responded another.

We have reached the point where there are no good choices. What remains is deciding what is the least awful choice: to mitigate the damage Il Trumpe and Republicans would do, or to oppose it completely.

Of course, some of us–those of us who lack statehood in the mainland colony–have no choice at all:

But she also concedes that unlike other parts of the country, D.C. may not have the final say.

“We could do all these things to prevent them from coming, but Congress could still tell us we have to do it,” she says.

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