Thursday Reads: It’s Not Over.

Self-portrait, Michelle Ranta

Good Morning!!

Shortly after Trump signed his completely unnecessary “executive order” and took off for his Hitler-style rally in Duluth, Minnesota, it became clear that the administration’s supposed retreat from separating the children of refugees from from their parents was a scam. In fact the title of the order on the White House website is “Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation.” The zero tolerance policy will continue and the government has no plans for reuniting families who have already been torn apart.

So Trump is still putting the burden on Congress to solve the problem he caused. Because of the Flores decision, children cannot be kept in detention centers for more than 20 days. The executive order says that Jeff Sessions will go to court to seek relief, but experts say that won’t happen. So families are still going to be separated. From Vox:

The solution to the crisis of family separation at the US-Mexico border, the Trump administration has decided, is to get rid of a 1997 federal court decision that strictly limits the government’s ability to keep children in immigration detention.

The administration has fingered Flores v. Reno, or the “Flores settlement,” as the reason it is “forced” to separate parents from their children to prosecute them. It claims that because it cannot keep parents and children in immigration detention together, it has no choice but to detain parents in immigration detention (after they’ve been criminally prosecuted for illegal entry) and send the children to the Department of Health and Human Services as “unaccompanied alien children.”

The Flores settlement requires the federal government to do two things: to place children with a close relative or family friend “without unnecessary delay,” rather than keeping them in custody; and to keep immigrant children who are in custody in the “least restrictive conditions” possible.

Francoise Gilot (French b.1921), The Red Vest. 1955

Republicans in Congress have proposed legislation that would overrule Flores and allow children to be kept with their parents in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody while they are put through criminal prosecution and deportation proceedings — which many migrant families fight by claiming asylum in the US, a process that can stretch out for months or years.

Trump can’t overrule the Flores settlement with the stroke of a pen. But getting rid of the court agreement has been in his administration’s sights for months. While Republicans frame Flores as the obstacle to keeping families together, many of the people outraged over family separation might not be too happy with a world without Flores, either.

Read the rest at Vox.

As of last night, none of the government agencies or outside organizations involved in what is going on down at the southern border had received any instructions to stop separating families. The government is still refusing to let public officials or media into the facilities where children are being held. We still know almost nothing about what has happened to the girls, toddlers, and infants who have been basically kidnapped by the Trump administration.

Fortunately, MSNBC at least is still keeping reporters down in Texas, and this morning NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is down there. I saw on MSNBC early this morning that Rev. Al Sharpton is in Texas and was planning to meet with the director of a Catholic Charities shelter. But it’s going to be awhile before we understand the extent of the damage Trump and Sessions have done.

It’s very difficult at this point to figure out what is actually happening, so the best I can do is share what I’m finding in the media and hope you’ll do the same. It’s going to take some time for us to understand the depth of the humanitarian crisis we are in as a country, much less begin to deal with Trump’s mess.

Daniela Astone, born 1980 in Pisa, Italy

It’s now after noon, and I see on MSNBC that Melania Trump is planning to visit a center for migrant children this afternoon.

The good news is that all this scrutiny is also shining a light on the treatment of immigrant children who were already in federal custody and have been farmed out to private shelters. It’s not looking good.

Some links to check out

Think Progress: Immigrant children are being placed by feds into abusive homes, reports reveal.

The Texas Tribune: Separated migrant children are headed toward shelters that have a history of abuse and neglect.

The Cut: Immigrant Children Are Being Sent to Shelters With Histories of Abuse.

Time: Young Immigrants Held in a Virginia Detention Center Say They Were Abused By Guards.

Buzzfeed: “You’re Not Even Wanted In Mexico”: Teens Describe Life Inside A US Detention Center.

The Boston Globe: Separations end, but foster care, shelters remain overwhelmed.

Suggested Reads

The New Yorker has a report on the people who are trying to enter the US at approved locations to apply for asylum: “We Are at Capacity”: An Asylum Standoff on the Bridge Between Ciudad Juárez and El Paso.

Around 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, a forty-year-old Mexican woman named Angelica walked to the foot of the Paso del Norte—one of the bridges that connects Ciudad Juárez to El Paso, Texas—with her granddaughter, a toddler no older than three. Later in the day the temperature would hit a hundred and three, but for now the air was cool. Coffee and candy vendors stood with their carts at the intersection that leads to the bridge, and the morning crowd was out, many of them young women, looking like they were walking to work.

Angelica and her granddaughter were there to meet Ruben Garcia, the director of Annunciation House, a Catholic hospitality house in El Paso, who intended to walk them over the bridge so that they could request asylum in the United States. As part of the Trump Administration’s new zero-tolerance policy, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has warned that asylum seekers must cross at legal points of entry, such as the Paso del Norte, in order to avoid criminal prosecution. But, in the weeks since Sessions announced the new policy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been stationing agents in the middle of Paso del Norte and other legal border crossings, where they turn away many asylum seekers, preventing them from even stepping onto the U.S. side. “They’re saying, ‘We’re too full,’ ” Garcia told me. Angelica had been in Juárez for a month, and had already attempted to cross the bridge once, unsuccessfully.

As we’ve already heard, this is a common experience now for asylum seekers. Read more at the link above.

By now you’ve probably seen the new Time Magazine cover. From the cover story: A Reckoning After Trump’s Border Separation Policy: What Kind of Country Are We?

Presidents have many jobs, and one is telling us who we are.

For the first 240 years of U.S. history, at least, our most revered chief executives reliably articulated a set of high-minded, humanist values that bound together a diverse nation by naming what we aspired to: democracy, humanity, equality. The Enlightenment ideals Thomas Jefferson etched onto the Declaration of Independence were given voice by Presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama.

Donald Trump doesn’t talk like that. In the 18 months since his Inauguration, Trump has mentioned “democracy” fewer than 100 times, “equality” only 12 times and “human rights” just 10 times. The tallies, drawn from, a searchable online agglomeration of 5 million of Trump’s words, contrast with his predecessors’: at the same point in his first term, Ronald Reagan had mentioned equality three times as often in recorded remarks, which included 48 references to human rights, according to the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Trump embraces a different set of values. He speaks often of patriotism, albeit in the narrow sense of military duty, or as the kind of loyalty test he’s made to NFL players. He also esteems religious liberty and economic vitality. But American’s 45th President is “not doing what rhetoricians call that ‘transcendent move,’” says Mary E. Stuckey, a communications professor at Penn State University and author of Defining Americans: The Presidency and National Identity. Instead, with each passing month he is testing anew just how far from our founding humanism his “America first” policies can take us. And over the past two months on our southern border, we have seen the result.

Click on the link to read the rest.

PAUL GUSTAV FISCHER Leyendo en la terraza

NBC News: Tech companies quietly work with ICE as border crisis continues.

Several high-profile data and tech companies have made millions of dollars from contracts with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency over the past several months — even as some of them publicly disavow the Trump administration’s recent orders to separate immigrant children from their parents.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Thomson Reuters, Microsoft, Motorola Solutions and Palantir all have active contracts with the agency, known as ICE, according to a public records search conducted by NBC News.

The contracts highlight how technology companies, many of which have developed advanced data analysis and tracking capabilities, are putting their innovations to work with the U.S. government in ways that are often not visible to the public.

Read the details at NBC News.

More stories to check out

The Washington Post: Families will no longer be separated at the border. But where are my clients’ kids?

NBC News: Pentagon sending military lawyers to border to help prosecute immigration cases.

Charles Blow: The King and Queen of Cruelty.

Gallup: Record-High 75% of Americans Say Immigration Is Good Thing.

CNN: Trump’s immigration reversal creates its own chaos.


I know I haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s happening today, so please share your own links in the comment thread.

70 Comments on “Thursday Reads: It’s Not Over.”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Trump is on TV right now destroying any goodwill he might have gotten with his fake executive order–blaming Democrats and sliming the immigrant children.

    • dakinikat says:

      what do you make of this? has she gone rogue or is this a distraction?

      • bostonboomer says:

        Yes, I noted that in my post. I imagine someone thought she could help change the narrative. I hope she went rogue, but I’ll wait and see.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I’m getting the feeling that this is something she wanted to do. Unfortunately, while she was showing compassion, her husband was ranting incoherently about how Democrats are responsible for all this mess.

      • Jslat says:

        I was pleased that she chose reuniting families as a focus in her comments. even if the Rump uses her visit to wrap himself in compassion, I think she as an immigrant and devoted mother does care about getting those kids back with their parents. Any pressure and publicity she can bring to this tragedy is welcomed by me.

      • palhart says:

        I wish I believed she was sincere in wanting to help reunite children with their parents, but Melania has been put out there for the optic. The message on the back of the jacket SHOULD be comment on in the media. She has flubbed nearly every thing she has undertaken, from the plagiarized phrases from Michelle Obama’s speech, to giving gifts of pre-school, picture books (Dr. Seuss books) to elementary schools, to “Be Best”, to now wearing this jacket and not making much of an impact on this serious, long-term situation. I don’t give her a pass.

  2. Boo Radly says:

    ‘Melanie’ on tv visiting shelter inMcAllen for mlgrant children to see what’s going on. This shelter is contracted by and paid by DHS. It is not involved with the last months group of kid napped immigrant children. ??? Sham ???? I have go outside and scream and vomit. Am I miss reading this visit?

    • dakinikat says:

      Melania Trump Plays the Role of Medieval Queen
      The first lady’s intervention to reverse the administration’s family-separation policy fits a long historical pattern.


      A near-constant in late medieval kingship was the use of the queen as intercessor. Women were conventionally ascribed softer hearts, and subjects were encouraged to appeal to the queen for mercy. The template for this role was the Virgin Mary—the paragon of intercession among medieval Christians—who was believed to sit, enthroned in heaven, at the side of her son Christ, able and willing to make appeals to him on behalf of suffering or desperate devotees. Medieval art and medieval texts customarily liken queens to the Virgin Mary, especially in the role of intercessor.

      • bostonboomer says:

        That’s a very interesting article, very enlightening. I admit, I was somewhat taken in by Melania’s visit until I found out she cancelled her visit to the real child internment camp. The jacket thing is obscene.

        • Jslat says:

          According to reporters the visit was cancelled because of the flooding caused by the torrential rains in Southern Texas. How does one fact check all this stuff?

    • NW Luna says:

      I am suspicious that nothing real will come of this — it’s probably a callously planned ploy to distract attention or to toss a few crumbs of appeasement.

  3. dakinikat says:

    Cruelty and ignorance on display in Minnesota Yesterday:

    ‘Was that a man or a woman?’ Trump mocks protester at Minnesota rally

    • NW Luna says:

      Trump and his slavering followers are scared if someone doesn’t fit their rigid definitions of male or female appearance. As if it matters.

      Trump making fun of someone else’s hair? Hahahaha — he just gave the cartoonists new ammunition.

      • bostonboomer says:

        His hair looked really bad yesterday too. It looked like he just combed it all toward the front and sprayed it. I guess he didn’t have enough executive time to do all the usual weaving process.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Isn’t Washington Examiner a very conservative newspaper? The “Moonie” paper? Interesting this is rather negative.

      What a horrible horrible human being and his marks just ponied up to pay to be there probably. He uses his “campaign donations” to pay his legal bills. Morans.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Trump is bragging about North Korea now, but there’s no evidence that anything is actually happening in terms of denuclearization.

    • NW Luna says:

      Of course not. He’s incapable of paying attention to details. He’s got nothing tangible from N Korea, but he dissed S Korea, gave Kim a nice photo propaganda opp, and gave up the US and S Korea’s joint military preparedness exercises. He’s got N Korea, China, and Russia laughing at how gullible he is.

    • Jane says:

      everything is just a photo op to him. There is no there there in anything he does. That is why he makes a rally every time he seems to be doing something. It increases his donations. As long as his base THINKS something is going to happen, then it is all good to him.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Julia Ioffe at GQ: The Real Story of Donald Trump Jr.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Historic Wage Law Could Be Signed Today In MA

    BOSTON, MA — A negotiated compromise raising the minimum wage from $11 to $15 an hour, boosting wages for tipped workers, creating a paid medical and family leave program and scaling back premium pay to those who work Sundays and holidays needs just Gov. Charlie Baker’s signature.

    After members briefly reviewed legislation Wednesday morning, the House early Wednesday afternoon voted 106-37 to move the bill along, a vote split roughly along party lines. Four Democrats — Somerville Reps. Denise Provost and Mike Connolly, Haverhill Rep. Diana DiZoglio and Springfield Rep. Carlos Gonzalez — voted against giving the deal initial approval.

    The Senate passed the bill, 30-8.

  8. NW Luna says:

    This surprises me, but I’m glad.

    The Senate on Wednesday rejected billions in spending cuts proposed by the Trump administration as two Republicans joined all Democrats in voting no.

    Nevertheless, Wednesday’s outcome was startling because one of the opposing votes came from Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who does not normally buck the White House or GOP leadership. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a moderate and one of the Republicans who most frequently side with Democrats, cast the other GOP vote against the cuts.

    Burr’s office said the senator was concerned about $16 million in cuts targeting Land and Water Conservation Fund projects under the U.S. Forest Service. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is set to expire in September, and earlier Wednesday Burr led a news conference to call for its extension. The fund uses royalties paid by energy companies that drill on the Outer Continental Shelf to protect natural resources.

  9. NW Luna says:

  10. dakinikat says:

  11. dakinikat says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      Good. Actually, neither of the bills will make it through the Senate, so it’s all a big waste of time.

  12. Pat Johnson says:

    This nation cannot survive unless every useless person bearing the name “Trump” is driven from DC. And this includes Melania.

    Whatever her intentions of mincing down to Texas I am not buying it. She still represents that asshole she married which in itself is suspect.

    They all need to go.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Matthew Miller agrees with you. The comments are interesting too.

  13. NW Luna says:

  14. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Conniving hypocrites.

    • RonStill4HIlls says:

      I don’t think it is even up for debate anymore. “Eva Bronze” is a wicked and souless and the rest of them.

      They are active and enthusiastic fascists and white supremacists.

      And there followers are being seduced by the idea that “this time Der Fuhrer will do it right.”

      They are not being fooled guys, they are on board.

      I keep saying this is nothing as benign as a narcissist unwilling to admit he can’t see the “smart people only splendid new suit”, this is a case of a septagenarian flasher with the power to prosecute anyone who calls out his pitiful little nakedness.

      • RonStill4Hills says:

        It is a metaphorical sexual assault in progress.

        “Forcing” this against our will is the pay off for them. They want us to kick and scream while hey continue doing it anyway. I know how extreme that sounds but I believe that is part of the underlying psychology.

  15. bostonboomer says:

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      Can someone at check and see what kind of genetic experiments the Nazis were getting up to? Not sure if Goebels and Himler were actually fracking but they damned sure had a baby!

  16. bostonboomer says:

    • bostonboomer says:

  17. dakinikat says:

  18. Sweet Sue says:

    Sobs, just sobs.