Tuesday Reads: Trump’s Self-Created Humanitarian CrisisPosted: June 19, 2018
It’s been years since I have cried as hard as I did yesterday after listening to the recording (released by ProPublica) of 10 little children wailing and sobbing, calling for their moms and dads. Just writing about it I already have tears in my eyes. We cannot tolerate this outrage committed in our name.
I wish I could join marches against this horrendous Trump policy, but I can’t. I’m 70 years old, and I have trouble walking and standing because of arthritis and sciatica. I don’t have much money, but I’m going to donate today to organizations that are working to deal with this horror, and I’ll keep donating what I can. A few days ago, Dahlia Lithwick published a long list of organizations doing this work: Here’s How You Can Help Fight Family Separation at the Border.
Hillary Clinton is recommending donating through ActBlue where your contribution will be divided among several organizations.
Here is the statement that Hillary made on Trump’s cruel border policies.
Even the ultra-right wing Wall Street Journal editorial board is asking why Trump insists on causing a humanitarian crisis on our southern border: The GOP’s Immigration Meltdown. Restrictionists may cost Republicans their majorities in Congress.
Are Republicans trying to lose their majorities in Congress this November? We assume not, but you can’t tell from the party’s internal feuding over immigration that is fast becoming an election-year nightmare over separating immigrant children from their parents. This is what happens when restrictionists have a veto over GOP policy.
Democrats fanned out across the U.S. this weekend to highlight the turmoil caused by the Trump Administration’s new “zero-tolerance” policy of detaining all adult aliens crossing the border illegally. That means separating parents from children who arrive together because courts have said migrant children can’t be jailed.
Children are put into tent encampments or other sites while their parents are processed for deportation. That can take several days, which is bad enough, though much longer if the adults challenge their deportation. Trump officials are defending the policy as a deterrent to illegal entry, but surely they understand that separating parents from children is morally unacceptable and politically unsustainable.
The immediate solution should be for the Administration to end “zero-tolerance” until it can be implemented without dividing families. Congress can also act to allow migrants to be detained with children in facilities appropriate for families. Until that is possible, better to release those who have no criminal past rather than continue forced separation.
As of last night, Trump was doubling down on the policy he alone set out and he alone can stop. The Washington Post: Trump defiant as crisis grows over family separation at the border.
The Trump administration’s move to separate immigrant families at the border and detain children apart from their parents spiraled into a humanitarian and political crisis Monday as the White House struggled to contain the growing public outcry.
The situation has become a moral test for President Trump and his administration. The president on Monday voiced defiance and continued to falsely blame congressional Democrats for what he decried as a “horrible and tough” situation. But Trump is empowered to immediately order border agents to stop separating families as a result of his “zero tolerance” enforcement policy.
The president asserted that the parents illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border with their children “could be murderers and thieves and so much else,” echoing his incendiary remarks about immigrants at his campaign launch in 2015. And in a series of dark tweets, he warned that undocumented immigrants could increase gang crime and usher in cultural changes.
“The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility,” Trump said in a midday speech. “You look at what’s happening in Europe, you look at what’s happening in other places. We can’t allow that to happen to the United States. Not on my watch.”
Here’s what Trump tweeted this morning:
“Infested.” Get it? Like insects. That’s how this monster talks about human beings fleeing violence in their home countries.
Yesterday evening Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the Trump administration cruel policy. Politico: Nielsen becomes face of Trump’s border separations.
Nielsen made a rare and hastily arranged appearance in the White House briefing room on Monday afternoon, where she defended the separation of nearly 2,000 children from their parents. Sounding alternately animated and defensive, Nielsen said the administration would “enforce every law we have on the books,” even if it meant breaking up parents and their kids.
White House chief of staff John Kelly advised Nielsen against doing the news conference, but she charged ahead anyway, according to a senior administration official. She placed blame for some of the heart-rending scenes captured by the news media squarely on Congress and charged that kids are being warehoused because lawmakers have shirked their responsibility to close loopholes in current immigration law.
Inside the administration, Nielsen has argued that implementing a zero tolerance policy would prove tremendously difficult without this, but the administration has pressed ahead regardless. On Monday, she responded indignantly when asked whether she intended to create a situation in which thousands of children are caged in former big-box stores. “I find that offensive,” she said. “Why would I create a policy that purposely does that?”
Nielsen’s sudden ownership of the administration’s most controversial domestic policy to date came after senior administration officials pushed her to get on message over the weekend. Last month, she said in her Senate testimony that she shares lawmakers’ concerns about the monitoring of unaccompanied children placed with other family members or guardians.
“We were all wondering where she was and how long it would be until she got that talk,” said one Trump ally. “Everyone knew that talk was coming.”
So she really didn’t want to do this, but she knuckled under to Trump instead of resigning. And check out this bit on John Kelly:
According to four people close to Kelly, the former Marine general has largely yielded his role as the enforcer in the West Wing as his relationship with Trump has soured. While Kelly himself once believed he stood between Trump and chaos, he has told at least one person close to him that he may as well let the president do what he wants, even if it leads to impeachment — at least this chapter of American history would come to a close.
Yet neither Kelly nor his protege Nielson has had the courage to resign in protest.
The horror of tearing children from their parents is bad enough, but Trump doesn’t even have a plan for reuniting them. Buzzfeed:
McALLEN, Texas — Two months after the Trump administration began separating children from their parents along the US–Mexico border, immigration authorities said they have no plans to reunite children with their parents after the parents’ illegal-entry cases have been resolved but their immigration case is still pending.
Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their parents in the first six weeks of the policy, ending May 31, according to statistics released by the Department of Homeland Security. But how many of those children’s parents — DHS said the 1,995 children who’d been separated had been accompanied by 1,940 adults — have already had their illegal-entry cases resolved is unclear.
Most such cases are resolved within days or weeks.
Danielle Bennett, a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency with responsibility for enforcing immigration law, said authorities have no intention of reuniting the parents until they’re about to be deported.
“Reunification typically does not occur until the removal stage of the process, but depending on the circumstances of the case, reunification could occur sooner,” Bennett told BuzzFeed News. “The logistics of the reunification are made on a case-by-case basis.”
But she said she could not give statistics for the number of families that have been reunified since the “zero tolerance” policy was announced. Nor could she give examples of a successful reunification.
“We don’t have any metrics to provide at this point and we wouldn’t proactively give examples of this,” Bennett said.
Read the rest at Buzzfeed.
The government still won’t tell us where the girls, toddlers, and infants are being warehoused. Some people suggests that’s because they think seeing boys will make people think about gangs. I don’t know, but we have to find out where the rest of the children are.
Many and individuals are speaking out about the growing nightmare of family separations. Examples:
Talking Points Memo: 600 Methodists File Complaint Against Sessions For ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy.
The American people aren’t happy about the policy either, according to polls. Here’s one:
Despite the backlash, Trump adviser Stephen Miller is determined to keep upping the ante on immigration “crackdowns.” Politico: Trump aides plan fresh immigration crackdowns before midterms.
Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and a team of officials from the departments of Justice, Labor, Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget have been quietly meeting for months to find ways to use executive authority and under-the-radar rule changes to strengthen hard-line U.S. immigration policies, according to interviews with half a dozen current and former administration officials and Republicans close to the White House.
The goal for Miller and his team is to arm Trump with enough data and statistics by early September to show voters that he fulfilled his immigration promises — even without a border wall or any other congressional measure, said one Republican close to the White House.
Among the fresh ideas being circulated: tightening rules on student visas and exchange programs; limiting visas for temporary agricultural workers; making it harder for legal immigrants who have applied for welfare programs to obtain residency; and collecting biometric data from visitors from certain countries….
In one of the most closely watched plans under discussion, DHS has proposed a new rule that former Obama administration officials and immigration advocates worry could be used as an end run around a 1997 court settlement that limits the time migrant children can be kept in government custody. Putting a formal government rule in place, lawyers and advocates say, could in effect supersede the settlement, allowing the administration to get rid of it altogether by dropping the rule a year or two later.
“Once you rescind that regulation, then you go back to being able to do whatever you want and the detention becomes the complete discretion of ICE,” said Leon Fresco, former deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Immigration Litigation at the Department of Justice. “That is where people think this is headed.”
That’s all I’ve got for today. What stories are you following?