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USA Today: “Family separation combines cruelty, incompetence”

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USA Today is out with a scathing editorial condemning the Trump administration’s cruelty and incompetence with respect to the separation of families, stating that with respect to their speedy reunification, failure is not an option.

As the editorial notes:

It turns out that the number of separated children is closer to 3,000 than the 2,000 originally cited by administration officials. Among them are about 100 under the age of 5. In dozens of those cases, parents have been deported minus their children, or HHS has apparently lost track of them.

The results are abominations, like what happened Friday when a 1-year-old boy, sipping from a bottle of milk and playing with a blue ball, appeared as an immigration defendant before a judge in Phoenix. The child’s father had been shipped off to Honduras.

Small wonder that two out of three Americans abhor what Trump has done with these children. In their frontal assault on illegal immigration, which has actually become less of a problem than it was several years ago, Trump and his lieutenants argue that when parents illegally enter the U.S. with their children, the adults cannot be simply freed pending immigration court proceedings.

But that’s disingenuous. There are established means of ensuring that parents show up for court and not disappear. A family case management effort vetted by the Department of Homeland Security in 2015 and an ankle-bracelet monitoring program are two alternatives to incarceration, that have both shown 99 percent success rates in guaranteeing court appearances. These alternatives are cheaper, too.

Cost considerations aside, reunifying children with their parents needs to be a top priority from a humanitarian standpoint. Leading experts on child behavior say children could suffer serious psychological damage with each passing day, week or month apart from a parent.

Sabraw was right to order that the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing parents harmed by Trump’s separation tactic, be provided a list of the 100 youngest children. Maybe the ACLU can help locate their parents.

The reunification process should be transparent. The American public should know the numbers daily: how many children remain detained; how many parents have been deported without their children; and how many reunifications have occurred. Precise numbers, not vague or rounded ones, are needed to generate confidence that children aren’t slipping through the cracks.

Family reunification is a true test of competency for the Trump administration. Failure is not an option.

Read the entire editorial online here.