CALIFORNIA SENATORS FIGHT TO STOP CHILDREN FROM BEING TAKEN FROM PARENTS AT BORDER

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By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Twitter

June 4, 2018 (San Diego) – Outrage is growing over revelations that the Trump administration has dramatically expanded the number of children being forcibly separated from their parents at the international border. On Friday, dozens o f protests were held in cities across the nation, NPR reports. The hashtag #familiesbelongtogether is trending on Twitter, showing thousands gathered at protests from Trump Towers to the nation’s capital.

Until now, only unaccompanied minors who came to the border without parents were put into foster homes pending hearings.  But now, the Trump administration has taken the historically unprecedented move of prosecuting every undocumented immigrant and taking children away from their parents – even nursing infants ripped from their mothers’ arms.

The Washington Post reports that the U.S. government has 10,773 migrant children currently in custody and that this number has surged 21 percent in just the past month due to the Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy.  Last year, the Trump administration took custody of 40,000 migrant children, a staggering number compared to in the past.

From October to April, the New York Times reports  that 700 children including 100 under age four have been taken from parents at the border.  Shelters are filling up and some may soon be housed at military bases pending placement with foster parents—and with prosecutions of even parents fleeing violence in their homeland, separations could last for years, causing severe psychological trauma to children, experts warn.

The increase in child separations comes even in the wake of revelations that Homeland Security cannot find 1,475 immigrant children previously taken into custody.  While some propaganda sites and fake news posts on social media have sought to downplay the seriousness of the situation, here are the facts. 

The number is based on the Office of Refugee Resettlement calling sponsor homes where children had been placed, in most cases with relatives.  Of 7,635 calls placed, 86% confirmed children were still with sponsors.  Another 28 said children had run away, five had been removed from the U.S. and 52 had relocated to live with a non-sponsor. But ORR could not learn the whereabouts of 1,475 children. It is unknown if they may be in hiding, if families simply didn’t answer the phones, or if some children may have wound up in the hands of human traffickers. But bottom line, with no apparent concern or follow-up after that report, the government still doesn’t know if those 1,475 children are safe, or where they are—facts that should alarm any parent or person concerned about the wellbeing of children.

Also troubling, a new report by the ACLU has found that even during the Obama administration, unaccompanied minors were reportedly abused in U.S. custody. Complaints included kicking children in the ribs and head, forcing a teen girl to spread her legs for an invasive body search, threatening minors with sexual abuse, and denying medical care to a pregnant teen who had a stillborn baby, Newsweek reports.  Homeland Security spokesperson Katie Waldmen has claimed the report, based on 30,000 pages of documents obtained through public records requests, are “absurd” and “without merit.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has announced she will introduce legislation to prevent the intentional separation of immigrant children from parents at the border.

“It is hard to conceive of a policy more horrific than intentionally separating children from their parents as a form of punishment…This is not what the United States of America should be,” she said in a press statement.  “Congress has a moral obligation to take a stand here.”

She referenced a Trump statement making clear that separation of the children is intended as a deterrent to dissuade families from coming to the U.S.  The administration has shown a callous disregard for the traumatic impacts of family separation on the children, punishing both children and parents in essence.

Trump has called immigrants “animals” and while he later tried to claim he was referring only to violent gang members, his initial statement made no such distinction.  Trump stated during a Sanctuary Cities conference at the White House, “We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in—and we’re stopping a lot of them—but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals.”

Coming from a president who previously called Mexicans “rapists and murderers” and who has drawn criticism for allowing thousands of Puerto Ricans to perish as supplies languished after a hurricane that a year later has left much of the U.S. territory still without power have led critics to call the policies racist. 

Senator Kamala Harris, California’s other Democratic Senator, has also denounced the policies. She participated in a protest with women legislators and mothers’ groups in Washington D.C. The groups held a press conference and walked to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration, where a hearing on children at the border was underway.

When they rose to leave, the women left teddy bears on their empty seats, symbolizing the needs of children. The groups asked the administration to stop tearing children away from their parents.

The Libertarian Party, a right-leaning party on many issues, has also denounced the policies, posting on Twitter, “The Donald Trump administration has decided to unmercifully enforce the letter of immigration law, no matter the consequences to individual lives and families. Children are being forcibly separated from their parents at the border.”

“The worst terror a child can experience is being taken from their parents. Would blonde, blue-eyed children ever be treated so brutally at our border? Would 4,600 Puerto Ricans have been left to die if they were white?  No. Trumpism is racism. What in God’s name have we become?” actor Jim Carrey posted on Twitter.

Lee Gelent, immigration attorney with the ACLU, which is suing the administration in a class action lawsuit seeking to end the family separations, blasted Trump for illogically trying to blame Democrats for the separations. Trump has faulted Democrats for not approved funding for his border wall (even many Republicans balked at the high price tag). But the fact is, only the Trump administration has opted to prosecute 100% of parents and only the Trump administration has opted to separate children from parents at the border---before Trump, children put into custody were only those who arrive here without a parent. Moreover, Trump is also punishing families who come here seeking asylum, even if they did not actually cross the border, but rather went through proper legal channels approved under international law.

In other countries, families are not separated; Canada for example releases asylum seekers pending hearings after only a brief detention for a background check; if anyone is deemed a flight risk they are released wearing an ankle bracelet, but children remain with parents even during brief detentions in family camp-style centers, not prisons.

“Little kids are begging and screaming not to be taken away from parents, and they’re hauled off,” the ACLU immigration attorney, Gelent, says. “It’s as bad as anything I’ve see in 25-plus years of doing this work.”

The administration’s actions violate both domestic and international law, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which emphasizes that children must have special protections regardless of race, national or ethnic origins.  Separation of children at the border and in the U.S. is not based on justifiable child protection grounds, therefore contravening international and domestic laws on child welfare, human rights and refugees.

“What the president is doing is engaging in classic propaganda techniques, that have preceded genocides in the past. This is no joke and Americans should be alarmed,” writes Nadin Brzezinski, a former Red Cross emergency responder in Mexico and writer at Medium.com. She notes that in the Holocaust, “children were deported from the ghettos in 1942” and “those children were sent straight to the gas chambers.” 

While no one has suggested that the Trump administration is engaged in a Holocaust, Brzezinski argues, “These policies seek to destroy cultures,” likening the practice to the taking of children from Native American families that was a widespread U.S. government practice in the early 1900s.

In the case of immigrants, the policies are meant to deter families from seeking asylum, which is also a violation of international law, Brezezinski concludes, adding, “Mostly, they seek to demean and dehumanize their victims.”

Sources:

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/01/616257822/immigration-rights-activists-protest-trump-administration-child-separation-polic

http://www.newsweek.com/customs-and-border-control-beat-kicked-and-threatened-migrant-children-under-941385

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/20/us/immigrant-children-separation-ice.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trumps-zero-tolerance-at-the-border-is-causing-child-shelters-to-fill-up-fast/2018/05/29/7aab0ae4-636b-11e8-a69c-b944de66d9e7_story.html?utm_term=.5984bf2d66ec

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trumps-zero-tolerance-at-the-border-is-causing-child-shelters-to-fill-up-fast/2018/05/29/7aab0ae4-636b-11e8-a69c-b944de66d9e7_story.html?utm_term=.5984bf2d66ec

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/1475-immigrant-children-missing/

https://medium.com/@nadinbrzezinski/courtesy-wikipedia-operation-wetback-37ff89f4d0c

https://thinkprogress.org/as-ice-separates-children-from-parents-at-the-border-public-outrage-grows-c624e69cd43f/

https://americasvoice.org/blog/walkout-against-family-separation/

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/390052-feinstein-plans-bill-to-halt-separation-of-families-at-the-border

Comments

Banning posters

Thank you. Hopefully they won't return using an alias. If so, your tech person can find their ISP address and kill the link. Found this website about TROLL behavior, which is very enlightening: https://darkpsychology.co/troll

Stirring up trouble :-(

I'm quite baffled as to why certain people continue to express their opinions on this website in such vile ways, while continuing their unwarranted attacks on anyone who doesn't share their opinions. A respectful sparring match is one thing, yet a few are just ugly as they spew attempted, yet ineffective rhetoric thoughts. If you don't like what Miriam is writing - or other peoples comments and can't be civil, then by all means do the rest of us a favor and either keep your mouth shut and grow up, or stop visiting this place. Try Craigslist 'rants & raves' section if you get your jollies irritating others. That's where your B.S. is more acceptable and usually welcome. Maybe you'll meet your match there... enough said. Have a fantastic day :-/

Banning poster

The individual who repeatdly violated our site rules against civility, with repeated insults and slurs against other posters here and our editor, has been banned.

People are welcome to voice opinions in a courteous manner, including pointing out ways we might include coverage, but not to continually lob unsubstantiated accusations against people trying hard to be civil to rude jerks.  Out of patience with having our staff time wasted; in future be courteous all or go elsewhere.

 

Meanwhile, in REAL news yesterday....

You missed a reporting opportunity regarding a wonderful victory for Christians when the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that a small bakery owner can't be forced, or bullied, into doing something that is against his personal beliefs. HOORAY for common sense! Maybe we need signs at the border that say "NOTICE: We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason".

Now, now....

...no national stories. You're just a little ole community newspaper.

Echoing what Miriam said

I've been told by parents at Monte Vista HS that my sports coverage is all they have access to.  Which gives leverage to Miriam's point but also comforts me because I know that people don't just come here for politics, they come here for my sports coverage as well and other stories.

Actually we have the second highest online news readership after

the Union-Tribune in San Diego County.  I'm sure you wouldn't tell the Union-Tribune, LA Times, etc. not to publish national news.  If you don't want to read it, don't read it. That's not little.

Surveys also show that local newspapers with national stories, too, have higher readership. 

Many readers in towns without newspapers have told us they like getting a few of the top national stories, though local is and always will be our priority for coverage. Remember, some in East County don't have access to any print newspaper and often their TV /radio reception is poor, so we provide a few of the most important stories as a community service.

Nobody reads every story in any newspaper or magazine. If there is a topic you're not interested in, skip it and go enjoy something else like sports, festivals, restaurant coverage or whatever is of interest.

 

Much ado about nothing

Don't want to get separated then don't come across the border. Children are separated from parents for many reasons, go to jail the kids don't go with you. This is NOT a new program and of course the mental illness that is Trump derangement will never admit that their hate for Trump is blinding them to rational thought
the obama guy did the same thing, but the boy gets a pass from the left
Illegal aliens do not deserve special treatment
The politicians will gladly see citizens die and the state and country suffer to maintain political power.
The average special needs yard prisoner has more value to society than ALL of the mention politicians and organizations combined.

No Obama didn't do the same thing.

Only children who came to the U.S. alone--unaccompanied minors--were put into foster homes pending hearings under the Obama administration. They did NOT take children away from their parents.

Our story stated that, if you would take time to actually read the facts before posting inaccurate information, it would be appreciated.

 

 

Border History

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico-United_States_border

That's a chilling video, Gene,

of racist neo-Nazis chanting "white nation, now we start the deportations."  For those who may not realize, Gene's remark above is sarcasm. These parents are overwhelmingly not  drug dealers or rapists, and for most their only crime if any was crossing the border (and some came seeking asylum without even crossing the border).  It is also true that white people seeking entry from troubled parts of the world are generally not treated this way. Given Trump's history of racist remarks (and remember he was raised by a racist father active with the KKK and sued for violating fair housing laws due to prejudice against blacks) it is appropriate to look carefully at his true motives, which can be seen as racism masquerading as concern for border security.  Yes we need to keep a secure border -- but not at the expense of making children suffer. We can have both a secure border and humane policies for treatment of immigrants, refugees, and children.

Laugh Out Loud!

You two must sit next to one another while posting this garbage, its hilarious. Its also a well known leftist tactic too, and it doesn't go unnoticed. If you can't win your debate or make you point either through logic or intellect, make it about racism! Good grief, you've lost all credibility.

"Given Trump's history of

"Given Trump's history of racist remarks (and remember he was raised by a racist father active with the KKK "
another example of Trump derangement

I see more hate and racism in this publication than most. Prove the father was a member of the kkk,
it was a Democrat organization and robert byrd and bill clintons mentor in Arkansas were long time active members. Were is the proof Trumps father was a member?
\
PROVE IT

The NY Times reported in 1927 that Trump's father

was arrested for marching in a parade with the KKK and did not disband when ordered:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/28/in-1927-donald...

Robert Byrd in his younger years was also in the KKK.

I would denounce anyone in any party who holds such beliefs or would knowingly participate in the activities of the KKK, an organization known for lynching blacks and fostering hatred and discrimination. 

 

There is NO proof the

There is NO proof the Presidents father was a member
a wash post slime story about being somewhere in 1927 does not confer membership, no sane person would assume it does
more proof of anti Trump derangement.

miriamg I Agree It's so hard

Our Boarder Patrol Units see the up front tragedies, Deaths of adults and children in the brush from smugglers families paid to try and get them across and never find out the fate of love ones. This is why we need a strong boarder to stop this madness. If the parents knew they were sending kids to death they would stop. They would not pay a years salary to smuggle the children they love . We don't break the law here as we know the consequence. To Get a Vote is the lowest form of politics ever imaginable. I truly fell people are staring to see that and the Emigrant Vote is be coming clear, Kill for a Vote is not working.

Funny

You want the Boarders fully open we see that... Anyone can walk across Cool! your talking millions and millions you know that right? Okay good for you. Maybe a run for government should be a goal for you? You would Never win.... You do know extended families not just mom and dad share the kids to make uncle one and uncle two look like they are the true parents and cheat the system now. Do we really need cheaters getting passes? Again You wish for full and Open boarders to all... Be wary of what you ask for.... It's not all sunshine and roses your going to let in.

That's not what I said.

I did not advocate for open borders. Everyone who wants to come here should have a background check to assure they don't have a criminal or terrorist background, and if they are asking for asylum, to see if their stories check out.  There can be quotas for accepting our fair share of refugees as other countries should also do.

It is true that in some cases, people claim to be parents who aren't and of course the investigation should include determining of a person is really a child's parent or at least a close relative who has the child with permission of a parent. But none of that excuses tearing away children from their real parents. You keep deflecting from the basic inhumanity of the issue, looking for the exceptions, instead of the majority of these cases now where very young children are being taken from parents.

And where are they going? A U.S. Senator or representative reported this week visiting a Texas detention center where he was horrified to see migrant children sleeping in what he described as "cages" with only aluminum foil wraps as blankets and no other comforts, on concrete floors. Do you support that?

Sad indeed

Sad that so many find this so difficult to understand. If I go out tomorrow and commit a crime, I too would be separated from my children. Its one of the many reasons I don't commit crimes. How can this logic be so hard to comprehend? Are there not signs along the border stating that "If you try and enter illegally, you may risk being separated from your family during custody"? Maybe there should be....

What part of "this violates international law and treaties"

do you not understand?  You can't kill or torture people for crossing a border. You can't take away innocent children and harm them irrevocably either.  And remember, not all of these people even crossed a border illegallly. Some broke NO laws. They came and presented themselves at the border asking for asylum (a totally different legal situation than an illegal crosser). Asylees are fleeing violence and have international protections.  They have not been found guilty of ANYTHING and at worse, could have aslyum denied and be denied entry but would NEVER be jailed simply for asking for asylum.  In other countries asylum seekers are FREE whle waiting their asylum hearings. What part of THAT IS NOT ILLEGAL to ask for asylum do some people not understand?  It baffles me.

And even for those who did resort in desparation to crossing illegally to try and protect their families, why not show the children compassion instead of hate?  No president in the history of the U.S. dating back nearly 250 years has ever done something so horrendous.

I guess some people are just without any shred of compassion or human decency, if you would torment and harm children for something that is not their fault. This is why there are international treaties that the U.S. signed. Or do you think any country should be free to just ignore human rights treaties?

 

 

:-(

"What have we become" indeed...