The latest episode of our podcast, “A is for America”, features an interview with Ur Jaddou, the director of DHS Watch, a project of America’s Voice that focuses on holding the Trump Administration accountable for its anti-immigrant practices. We spoke about Trump’s practice of separating children from their families, how this week’s executive action did nothing to change or remedy that, Stephen Miller’s role, and how House Republicans have taken no action. (Interview starts at 15:00.)
So, so much has happened in immigration news this week. Here’s a recap:
- Americans began seeing for the first time how children are being treated in detention centers. Here’s video and audio of children being held in cages, sleeping with nothing other than space blankets, and crying for their families.
- There are 2,300 children already separated from their parents who may never be reunited; Trump’s policies don’t seem to care at all about reunions and there is no mechanism for making sure they happen.
- Donald Trump signed an executive action this week, but it does nothing to stop the separation of children, and mostly would lead to more families being detained for longer. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans did nothing except attempt to pass an anti-immigrant bill from extremist Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
- Let’s be clear: all of this is the brainchild of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, a man with extensive ties to white nationalists. Also, stoking racial tensions has been proven time and time again to be the main feature of Trump’s presidency.
- A lawsuit alleges that children are being drugged against their will in detention; children are being told that they are going to be given vitamins but instead are left unable to walk and wanting to sleep for long periods of time.
- A 10-year-old with autism was separated from her mother and Corey Lewandowski thought it was a good idea to mock her; a grandmother spoke about how she hasn’t seen her grandson after being separated 10 months ago.
In positive news:
- Celebrities from Michelle Obama to Laura Bush to J.K. Rowling have spoken out; Rachel Maddow broke into tears on her show; the Pope said that “populism is not the answer”; the N. said that what the Trump Administration is doing “may amount to torture”.
- Everyday Americans are finding ways to mobilize against this massive injustice: a family in Iowa opened 11 lemonade stands so they could send money to separated families, while 600 members of Jeff Sessions’ church decided to bring charges against him.
- Police chiefs have denounced the separation of families, major airlines are refusing to fly separated children, employees are resigning rather than be a part of family separation, and the Governors of almost a dozen states are refusing to send National Guard troops to the border for Trump’s zero tolerance policy.
- Protests against ICE, CBP, and the separation of families have been happening all over the country, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Boston, Baltimore, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Louisville, El Paso, Phoenix, Richmond – and Berlin. Children in Washington, DC sat down on the floor of the U.S. Capitol wrapped in space blankets, while advocates have been protesting DHS chief Kirstjen Nielsen everywhere she goes. A crowd gathered at LaGuardia airport to welcome a flight of separated children, to let them know they were not alone, while mothers have been bringing their babies to protests at ICE offices.
- The Washington Post is beginning a crowdsourcing effort to try and find separated children who can’t be located.
- Polling from Gallup shows that a record-high 75% of Americans believe immigration is a good thing.
“A is for America” is a podcast which tells stories from the front lines of a changing America. Each week, we’ll be talking to advocates and experts working in immigration reform, immigrants’ rights, immigration politics, and the forefront of what it means to be a new American. Tune in next week for more.