Elon Musk responded Tuesday to the ongoing scandal of the United States’ migrant detention centers, where children are being forcibly separated from their parents under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy. Authorities have separated at least 2,000 children at the border, and harrowing recordings of scenes at detention centers have resulted in sharp denouncements of the administration’s policy.
Musk shared a link to a song by the band “The XX” called “Shelter,” following up with a simple: “I hope the kids are ok.” A Twitter user called “Alex B” responded by asking Musk to make a more powerful statement that could make a real difference. Musk responded that he “couldn’t even keep the US in the Paris Accord, but if there is some way for me to help these kids I will do so.” Musk went on to note that he is one of the top donors to the American Civil Liberties Union, before asking for more details about an upcoming protest and inquiring about plans to aid children by visiting the shelters.
Musk has had a complex relationship with the current administration. Four months after Trump’s campaign started, Musk carefully chose his words as he expressed his hope that the candidate did not receive the party’s nomination. Although his subsequent interviews suggested he would have preferred a Clinton administration, he avoided making strong remarks about either candidate. Musk accepted a position on two of Trump’s advisory councils after the election in a bid to accelerate his wider goals like sustainable energy, a decision criticized by many. He eventually took a stand in May 2017 against Trump’s plan to pull the US from the Paris climate agreement, ultimately withdrawing from the two councils on which he sat in protest.
The administration’s current policy, which criminally prosecutes people that cross the border illegally, was implemented last month. Parents are held in federal prisons and separated from the children that cannot accompany them. Families were being separated at the border prior to this administration, but the new policy has led to 2,000 separations since May, compared to the 700 in the six months prior to April. The head of the American Academy of Pediatrics has decried the policy as “nothing less than government-sanctioned child abuse.”
It’s unclear whether the policy will continue. A Quinnipac University poll found this week that 66 percent of voters opposed the policy. However, while 91 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents opposed the policy, just 35 percent of Republicans reported the same. A poll from Ipsos found a similar rate of Republican disapproval.
Trump has dug his heels in on the issue, declaring that the US would “not be a migrant camp” and shifting blame to the Democrats.