Current immigration actions are hurting migrants, the reputation of the United States and the hearts of most Americans. Rather than addressing systemic problems, cruel and chaotic posturing motivated by President Donald Trump’s political ambitions have become America’s shame.

Children have been taken from grandparents, parents or other relatives, despite claims that the administration’s family separation policy had been stopped. Some too young to talk, they have been held in cold concrete buildings without adequate sanitation, food, blankets, clothing or even adult care, for weeks on end.

A wristband on one child read, “US parents.” Until the lawyers that discovered these practices last week called the phone number on the band, no one had bothered to call the frantic parents.

Worried that Trump might close the border, as he continues to threaten, the number of refugees hurrying toward the U.S. has only increased despite the inhumane treatment.

Trump has boasted of targeting thousands of undocumented residents for immediate deportation. Immigrant communities are so terrified that some families won’t leave their homes.

Trump’s kind of posturing not only doesn’t make policy, it leaves the agents of Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement unfairly caught in the middle.

Those hardworking men and woman take an oath to “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office.” They should never be asked to cause pain and suffering, especially not when a CBP spokesperson claims the agency has adequate supplies to care for detained children.

Nor should ICE agents be placed in harm’s way by a reckless president who first announced impending raids in a tweet then called them off the same way.

“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States” he tweeted on June 17. The tweet immediately created a safety issue for the agents. As one ICE agent observed, “No police agency goes out and says, ‘Tomorrow, between four and eight, we’re going to be in these neighborhoods.’”

In an interview broadcast Sunday, NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Trump why he hadn’t take immediate action to take care of the children at the border. His only answer was to blame former President Obama and the Democrats.

That answer made it clear that President Trump is less interested in making effective immigration policy than in campaigning for re-election. It is not what he was elected to do.

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