This pancocojams post presents information and commentary about the forced separation of children from their parents or caretakers who are fleeing violence in their home countries and seeking asylum in the United States.
The content of this post is presented for historical and political purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all those who are striving to change this inhumane policy. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post.
UPDATE: June 22, 2018 11:04 PM- I added the label "race and racism" to this and other pancocojams posts about Trump's policy of separating immigrant children from their parents/caretakers. I've done so to highlight that I and many others believe that these children's race/ethnicity is one of the significant factors of this policy.
ARTICLES AND SELECTED COMMENTS
#1. Full article with selected comments:
"The child started screaming and vomiting and crying hysterically'–the effects of Trump's new policy
Daily Kos Staff
Sunday June 17, 2018 · 2:09 PM EDT
"The Texas Monthly has an important interview with Anne Chandler, of the Children's Border Project, describing not only the legal manipulations the Trump administration used to launch their new policy of child separation at the border, but the immediate effects. And the effects of what is happening are horrific. Read it. https://www.texasmonthly.com/news/whats-really-happening-asylum-seeking-families-separated/
That’s one we see again and again. “Your child needs to come with me for a bath.” The child goes off, and in a half an hour, twenty minutes, the parent inquires, “Where is my five-year-old?” “Where’s my seven-year-old?” “This is a long bath.” And they say, “You won’t be seeing your child again.” Sometimes mothers—I was talking to one mother, and she said, “Don’t take my child away,” and the child started screaming and vomiting and crying hysterically, and she asked the officers, “Can I at least have five minutes to console her?” They said no.
The scarring from these separations is going to be lifelong, which makes it urgent that the policy be ended immediately. And despite White House spin–even this administration is fully aware of how monstrous the policy makes them look, and has been furiously trying to shift blame elsewhere–the policy was carefully crafted by Jeff Sessions and the White House to get around current laws and international treaties protecting the refugees.
Many of them then look for Border Patrol to turn themselves in, because they know they’re going to ask for asylum. And under this government theory—you know, in the past, we’ve had international treaties, right? Statutes which codified the right of asylum seekers to ask for asylum. Right? Article 31 of the Refugee Convention clearly says that it is improper for any state to use criminal laws that could deter asylum seekers as long as that asylum seeker is asking for asylum within a reasonable amount of time.
Under international law, asylum seekers may present themselves at the border and the nation is obliged to consider that request. But the administration is both slow-walking asylum requests at legal points of entry and prosecuting asylum-seekers who present themselves to Border Patrol agents anywhere else along the border–using the misdemeanor crime of undocumented entry to imprison those refugee parents, then declaring their children to be "unaccompanied" due to that imprisonment and placing them in detention camps. And there's no assurance that the children thus stripped from their parents will be returned, period. It is cheap regulatory flam-flam meant to provide cover for a willful–and White House admitted–policy of traumatizing children for the sake of "deterring" future refugees, and it is an international human rights crime.
It is unforgivable, and not a single official implementing these policies should be allowed to work in government ever again. From senator to ICE officer to mewing pundit defending child separation as mechanism for frightening future refugees into choosing some nation other than America or for extracting anti-immigrant "concessions" from administration opponents, we cannot claim to be a decent nation unless we purge every enabler of human rights abuses from our national ranks, and permanently. We are not a fascist country; we will not go down that odious path so willingly."
Selected comments from this Daily Kos article, with numbers added for referencing purposes only:
1. Lomakatsi June 17 · 04:33:41 PM
"Trump and his lackeys, elected and otherwise, are architects of this atrocity, no question. But all Americans will own it if we do not stand strongly enough against it to end it."
2. Carolla June 17 · 04:27:11 PM
..."Why would these immigrants think, even imagine, the United States of America, given the principles it has long upheld, would suddenly have turned its back on international law and protections for asylum seekers? What we are doing is beyond cruel."
3. formerlyMartha reply to Brubs June 17 · 06:11:32 PM
"I’m sorry. It’s NOT new to us. We did this to slaves; we did this to Native Americans. Less onerously, we did it to the Japanese."
4. nomandates June 17 · 03:57:18 PM
[quoting tweets in response to a commenter writing that he didn't believe the story about children being separated from their parents/caretakers by telling those parents/caretakers that the children were being taken to get baths.]
Replying to @kumailn
There are going to be people, many people, who will be able to justify separating children from their families. They’ll say the words they need to say to justify it. Forget those people. Those people are hopeless. We have to rally and motivate everyone else. Appeal to humanity.
The biggest defense they have is that what they are doing is so horrific that you look like a fool talking about it. It’s beyond the pale. It’s easy to dismiss because how could it really be this bad?
It is. It’s that bad. We cannot be the good Germans.
1:12 PM - Jun 17, 2018
1,002 people are talking about this
I don’t know what to do. Evil is being done right now and we are afraid to get too loud. This moment in time will define us for generations.
And people will say I am being dramatic. And I say: you are part of the problem.
12:48 PM - Jun 17, 2018
7,390 people are talking about this
5. Amaze June 17 · 05:31:54 PM
"I remember traveling through JFK airport right after the 1st World Trade Centre attack with my then 3 yr old daughter. Going through customs and immigration at the airport was terrifying. My daughter was so frightened she screamed and had a complete hysterical breakdown at the whole intimidating atmosphere created by all the grim armed guards and the rottweilers and german shepherds who were loose and roaming amongst all the passengers in the customs hall — and we are dog lovers… And I was holding her all of the time — unlike these poor children not even allowed to be touched and comforted in their abject terror .
I’m still traumatized by this experience, so I can’t even begin to imagine the abject terror of these families and their children ripped from them in such calculated, cold, cruel and un-necessary actions.
I can’t begin to imagine what these families are escaping from to come to the USA nor what their terrifying journeys have been like before they are then separated at the boarder and incarcerated…..
This is EVIL.
This MUST be stooped — NOW."
6. Carolla Amaze June 17 · 05:44:58 PM
"I agree. I am a former psychotherapist and specialized in working with adults traumatized as children. I am a survivor myself, both of childhood and adult trauma. My heart wrenches and stomach wretches at the thought of the utter terror these children are experiencing and the impact it will have on them for the rest of their lives. It is so, so horrific. I think of the words on the Statue of Liberty, words which brought tears to my eyes when I first heard them, young and idealistic, because I believed they represented the beating heart of America, like a calling to be there for others. America, the land of immigrants, of hope. This separation policy is so shocking, so shameful. It sickens me."
#2. Article Excerpt
From https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2018/6/feinstein-colleagues-introduce-legislation-to-halt-separation-of-immigrant-families Feinstein, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Halt Separation of Immigrant Families
Jun 08 2018
"Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and 31 of her colleagues have introduced legislation to keep immigrant families together by preventing the Department of Homeland Security from taking children from their parents at the border.
The Keep Families Together Act was developed in consultation with child welfare experts to ensure the federal government is acting in the best interest of children. The bill is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Children’s Law Center, Young Center for Immigrant Rights and the Women's Refugee Commission.
[Update June 18, 2018 7:32 PM- This bill is co-sponsored by all United States Democratic Senators, but to date, there's not a single Republican Senator co-sponsor.]
“The United States must not be a country that traumatizes young children by separating them from their parents. Young children have been taken from their parents’ arms and federal law enforcement hasn’t given parents even the most basic information about their children’s whereabouts,” Feinstein said. “Congress has a moral obligation to take a stand and say that families should not be forcibly separated. Many of these families are fleeing terrible violence, traveling thousands of miles on foot for the chance to file an asylum claim and save their lives. To traumatize them further is unconscionable, and I hope that our Republican colleagues will work with us to put an end to this immoral policy.”
“Let me be clear: there is no law requiring this Administration to separate children from their parents—Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Nielsen are choosing to tear families apart to intimidate those who are lawfully seeking asylum in our country. It’s extreme, heartbreaking, un-American, and has to stop,” said Durbin.
“Separating children from their parents is both cruel and immoral,” said Bennet. “These families are fleeing violence and instability and leaving their homes in search of safety and security. The administration’s inhumane separation policy exacerbates the trauma these children and their parents face. It also does nothing to make us safer and violates what we stand for as a country. Congress must take a stand and end this policy immediately.”
“These children are being ripped from the arms of their parents for one reason: to terrorize them,” said Blumenthal. “This policy is deeply cruel and fundamentally antithetical to our values, as Americans and as decent human beings. Congress cannot stand idly by – we must stand up against this senseless, punishing policy.”
“Matthew 25 calls to care for the least among us, including welcoming strangers in our land. This administration, however, is callously choosing to enforce a policy that not only targets vulnerable migrants who are fleeing unspeakable violence in their home countries, but also inflicts further trauma by separating children from their parents,” said Carper. “This is a completely unacceptable policy in any nation, let alone one that has, for centuries, led the world by example. It is unprecedented, it is cruel, it is entirely unnecessary and it must stop. The legislation I have introduced with my House and Senate colleagues would keep families from being needlessly ripped apart, which is, without a question, the right and humane thing to do.”
“This administration’s policy of separating children and parents at the border speaks of their inhumanity and does not reflect our values as a nation,” said Cortez Masto. “Most of these families are fleeing extreme violence and come here because their lives are threatened. I urge my colleagues to act now and support this legislation. Congress cannot stand idly by while an overwhelming number of children stay in crowded detention facilities and their parents are left in the dark as to their whereabouts and wellbeing.”
“Ripping children from the arms of their parents is not border security,” said Harris. “Our government should keep families together not tear them apart. This policy can result in lasting trauma for those children and their parents. We can keep America safe without being callous.”
“My mom brought my brother and me to this country when I was only seven years old. All of our possessions were packed into a single suitcase and we shared a single room. But at least we had each other,” Hirono said. “The Trump administration’s new policy of separating immigrant children from their families is reprehensible and unconscionable. This bill stops ICE from taking this unnecessary and cruel action.”
“The Trump Administration’s policies trample on American values by tearing families apart and demonizing people seeking refuge,” Kaine said. “This bill is an effort to protect kids from unnecessary harm by keeping families together and putting in place safeguards for children who have been separated from their parents.”
“America cannot just live by its national values when convenient – it has to be a full-time commitment,” said King. “The DHS policy that purposely separates children from their parents falls far short of our principles, and it should be stopped immediately.”
“There is simply no way sanitize the cruelty of the Trump Administration’s policy of forcibly separating families at the border,” said Leahy. “The anguish we are inflicting is evident in the story of each parent who is losing a child — parents who often are fleeing indescribable violence in their home counties. Americans must stand together in condemning family separation, and I am proud to support this legislation to put a stop to it.”
“We are not going to stand by as the Trump Administration continues to find ways to forcibly separate immigrant families from seeking refuge in our country – pulling a child from a mother seeking asylum in our country is wrong,” said Menendez. “We have a responsibility to ensure children and families are able to apply for asylum, trafficking protection and other specialized forms of relief without the paralyzing fear of being separated and shipped off to different facilities across the country. Only in the Trump era would forcibly tearing children away from their parents be considered an acceptable policy to uphold our values as a nation of immigrants. This is shameful, un-American and must stop.”
“This administration is choosing to use the suffering of children and families as political leverage. Let’s not go any further,” said Schatz. “Every single member of Congress should be on this bill, because every single member should be against separating children from their parents. It is inhumane, immoral, and un-American.”
“Separating children from their parents at the border, many of them coming here desperate to escape the terrible violence in their countries, is a policy that is directly at odds with the fundamental values of this nation,” said Warner. “This unprecedented and inhumane practice has been condemned by the U.N., is not rooted in any law, and could end today should President Trump choose to do so. Instead, the president has used this new policy to terrorize innocent families as a means of deterring those who are legally seeking asylum in our country. In the absence of moral leadership from the White House, Congress should make it clear that the United States of America will continue to stand proud as a country welcoming of those seeking refuge from violence, poverty, and prejudice.
“Because of President Trump’s cruel immigration agenda, children are being torn out of the arms of their mothers,” said Warren. “Many of these families are fleeing persecution and violence, and seeking refuge in our borders. Ripping families apart is immoral and un-American. I’m glad to work with Senator Feinstein to put a stop to this dangerous Administration policy.”
“The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges an immediate end to the policy that separates children from their parents at the border. Separating children from their parents contradicts everything we stand for as pediatricians – protecting and promoting children’s health. We know that highly-stressful experiences, like family separation, can cause irreparable harm to children’s health, disrupting their brain architecture and affecting short- and long-term health. The Keep Families Together Act takes important steps forward to protect families, and the AAP thanks Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for her leadership on this issue,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Colleen Kraft MD, MBA, FAAP.
On May 7, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that all adults who arrive at the border would be prosecuted for illegal entry, even if they attempt to seek asylum. This policy, which has never before been pursued, has resulted in parents being separated from their children.
Prosecuting individuals who are seeking asylum may also violate the United States’ obligations under international law, including the U.N. convention on refugees and its Protocol.
At a May 24, 2018, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Customs and Border Protection informed Senator Feinstein that 658 children were taken from 638 parents during a 14-day period in May, an average of 47 children being taken from their parents each day.
To ensure the bill protects the welfare of children, it allows children to be separated from their parents only in the event they are being trafficked or abused by their parents. To provide an additional layer of protection, the bill provides for an immediate review by a superior upon the recommendation to separate, and only after consultation with a child welfare expert."....
#3- Article Excerpt [Added June 18, 2018]
From http://www.palmerreport.com/analysis/laura-bush-demolishes-trump/10885/ Former First Lady Laura Bush demolishes Donald Trump
Bill Palmer | 11:01 pm EDT June 17, 2018
..."Laura Bush is calling out Donald Trump for forcibly separating immigrant kids from their parents and placing them in shoddy housing ranging from a former Walmart to tent cities, calling it “cruel” and “immoral.” She’s comparing Donald Trump’s treatment of immigrant children to the Japanese internment camps of World War II, which she refers to as “one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.”
Mrs. Bush said this of the inhumane conditions: “while there were beds, toys, crayons, a playground and diaper changes, the people working at the shelter had been instructed not to pick up or touch the children to comfort them. Imagine not being able to pick up a child who is not yet out of diapers.” She also added that “If we are truly that country, then it is our obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents — and to stop separating parents and children in the first place.”
Donald Trump has admitted that he’s been rounding up the immigrant kids so he can use them as a bargaining chip to try to force Congress to cave to the rest of his failed legislative agenda. It’s becoming more clear by the day that he severely miscalculated. Instead of working as leverage in his favor, the immigrant child concentration camps have become a nationwide rallying cry against him."...
#4- Article Excerpt [Added June 18, 2018]
From https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/6/17/1772618/-Child-Internment-may-soon-become-the-worst-American-atrocity-in-a-Century Child Internment may soon become the worst American atrocity in a Century
Frank Vyan Walton
Sunday June 17, 2018 · 11:04 AM EDT
"We thought America had grown into a country that was no longer capable of inhumane atrocities. We thought that events such as the Trail of Tears where U.S. States and Presidents implemented a forced migration of nearly 120,000 native Americans whose lands were then given to white farmers which subjected thousands to diseases such as whooping cough, typhus, dysentery, cholera and, starvation which killed between 5,000-8,500 along the journey. We never thought we’d ever see anything like the Tuskegee Experiment where 600 African-American men were given placebos instead of penicillin for their diagnosis of syphilis in order to track the progress of the disease from blindness to insanity and ultimately their death. We never thought we’d ever commit another atrocity like the forced internment of Japanese Americans during WWII which took 117,000 people, most of whom were American citizens, out of their homes, confiscated their property and held them in captivity for years.
Now, today, in 21st Century America our government is constructing tent cities on U.S. Military property in order to house the children of immigrants who have been forcibly separated from their parents as they crossed the border, regardless of whether they did so legally or not.
If that seems hyperbolic, I frankly believe it’s probably an understatement of how devastating and deadly this situation could possibly become.
We know that as opposed to the unaccompanied minors who tend to spend an average of 41 days in these facilities the newly separating children are traumatized and unruly and the length of their potential stays are indeterminate while their parents work their way through the justice system and may ultimately be deported without them.
There is no way that these Tent Cities, which are being erected in the middles of the Texas summer, are going to be better handled and safer environments for these children than the HHS centers.
On top of being emotionally scarred, these kids are going to quickly be a severe risk for health conditions. Some of them, I would suspect far more than 14% among the 12,000 that are currently in custody are likely to be seriously harmed or die— which is about 1,640 just slightly higher than the 1,500 of kids they’ve already “lost” — under these overcrowded and harsh conditions.
Again, I don’t think that’s hyperbolic. I think it’s quite deliberate. The Trumpsters are trying to create “maximum pain” and discomfort and then dump the blame for all of this magically into the laps of Democrats either to force them to commit to funding Trump’s wall and/or to hammer over their heads leading into the 2018 mid-terms.
It’s a cold, calculated political act using the lives and health of children as bargaining chips in a larger game of “chicken.”
The fact that we haven’t already seen massive, deafening demonstrations in protest of this callous cruelty against children is a national disgrace.
We thought we were better than this but obviously, we are not. We thought America was better than this but obviously, it is not.
Not until we stand up and make it better. Not until we stand up and refuse to let America fall yet again down this dark rabbit hole. We have to speak up, we have to defend the defenseless, and push back hard on the lies and deception of the Trumpsters.
This was their choice, we have to rise up and take that choice away from them because they clearly can't be trusted."
#5- Article Excerpt [Added June 18, 2018]
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/democrats-border-immigrant-families_us_5b272986e4b0f9178a9e5945 06/18/2018 T
Dems Beg GOP For Help Stopping Immigrant Family Separations
Lawmakers traveled to the Rio Grande Valley on Father’s Day to call for a policy change.
By Elise Foley
"BROWNSVILLE, Texas ― Eight Democratic lawmakers visited the Rio Grande Valley on Sunday to try one of their only options for fighting President Donald Trump’s policy of separating families at the border: Speak out and hope their Republican colleagues pay attention.
Trump could single-handedly end the practice of splitting up families at the border, but Democrats have little hope he will halt a policy that he thinks will deter unauthorized immigration and win him leverage for a border wall and a broader immigration crackdown. And Republicans in Congress have done little to pressure the president to change his mind.
That means that until Democrats control the House or Senate, all they can do is raise hell.
“If we can build the public pressure, then maybe [House Speaker] Paul Ryan will rediscover his spine,” Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) said after touring a facility holding children apprehended at the border, some of whom were separated from their parents. “That’s something that we’re going to work on. But for the time being, we’re going to have to endure this terrible policy and make sure that the kids aren’t terribly scarred [by] it.” "...
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