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We Must Not Forget The Children

 

As Congress Takes Recess and Children Head Back to School- We Must Not Forget About the Orphaned Immigrant Children

Ahead of tomorrow’s status conference with Judge Sabraw, a reminder of where we stand: fourteen days after the family separation deadline and 572 children are still separated from their parents and experiencing ongoing trauma. We can’t let the Trump administration off the hook.

According to Pili Tobar, Managing Director of America’s Voice, “It’s been two weeks since the court mandated deadline and the administration continues to brazenly twiddle their thumbs and make excuses rather than get to work and reunite the remaining children with their parents. Over five hundred kids are still separated from their parents and suffering severe and ongoing trauma — many still in jail like conditions that are completely inappropriate for children. Yet the government still refuses to even give the ACLU the information they have, including phone numbers for many deported parents, in order to reunite these families.  We cannot let the government get away with these inhumane, atrocious acts of injustice without any accountability. The government must reunite all children with their parents. They must bring back the parents they deported and reunite them with their children in freedom so they can seek their asylum claim and get their day in court.”

Below are excerpts of the continuing public outcry and continuing trauma:

The Washington Post’s Michael E. Miller, “‘I want to die’: Was a 5-year-old drugged after being separated from his dad at the border?”

He knew there were allegations that Adonias had been injected with something that made him sleepy when he misbehaved — accusations state and federal authorities are investigating but could be difficult to definitively resolve.

…In recent weeks, there have been charges of sexual abuse of a 6-year-old and a 14-year-old at two Arizona shelters, and a federal judge ordered a Texas shelter for troubled kids to stop giving them psychotropic medication without a court order or parental consent.

Had Adonias been drugged, wondered his father, a 30-year-old bricklayer who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal should he or his son be deported.

But the 43-pound boy with the biblical name and shelter-issued buzz cut didn’t want to talk about his time at Casa Guadalupe.

As he stared outside, tears welled in his long, dark eyelashes.

… “I’m still too sad,” the boy said between sobs. “I want to be alone.”

Esther J. Cepeda writes for the Houston Chronicle, “Calling Trump’s treatment of immigrants ‘cruel’ is not hyperbole”:

Evil and cruel is putting it lightly, especially when you consider that more than 700 families were still separated when the July 26 deadline arrived for reuniting approximately 3,000 children with their families.

News reports alleged that some parents had been deported and subsequently lost in the government record-keeping morass, making reunification impossible. Other parents were released in the U.S. but were also not able to be located. Several reports suggested that a small number of parents “declined” to be reunited — some because they’d rather be separated and have their children be safe in the U.S. than face the violence and economic uncertainty that they’d fled.

Raul Reyes in an opinion piece for USA Today, “Be quiet, Ivanka. If you really cared about family separation, you would’ve done something about it.”:

Like her father, Ivanka is skilled at clouding the immigration issue with menacing imagery. After declaring that she was a daughter of an immigrant herself, she went on to say, “We have to be very careful about incentivizing behavior that puts children at risk of being trafficked, at risk of entering this country with coyotes, or making an incredibly dangerous journey alone.”

To be clear: The zero-tolerance policy wreaked havoc on children who arrived here with their parents. The majority of them were not being trafficked or entering with coyotes. They were with their moms and dads, until the Trump administration broke their families apart with little thought for how they might ever be reunited.

The boogeyman here is not villainous traffickers. It is a president who has no compassion for Central Americans fleeing for their lives.   

Farida Jhabvala Romero at KQED writes, “Months After Her Dad Was Deported, Young Girl Still Alone in U.S. Shelter”:

“It’s been nearly three months,” he said by phone. “Why don’t they want to return my daughter?”

Filemona is one of 431 migrant children who remain in U.S. government custody but whose parents have been removed from the country, according to court filings. The family’s story shows the monumental challenges the government faces to comply with a federal judge’s order to reunify all eligible families it separated as a result of the zero tolerance policy.

NBC’s Adam Edelman, “’We have zero tolerance for your policy’: Democrats call on DHS’ Nielsen to resign”:

Thirteen Democratic lawmakers are calling on Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign as opposition mounted on Tuesday, including from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at border.

[…]

On Tuesday morning, over 70 former U.S. attorneys signed a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions condemning the breaking up of migrant families. “Traumatizing children by separating them from their parents as a deterrent for adult conduct is, in our view, sufficient reason to halt your policy,” they wrote.

CNN’s Sheena Mckenzie, “’Dear Ivanka’: Celebrities target Trump’s daughter in Instagram campaign”:

Celebrities including Amy Schumer and Chelsea Handler have launched an Instagram campaign targeted at Ivanka Trump, urging the US President’s daughter to act on the administration’s family-separation policy and calling for the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

As part of the campaign, well-known figures followed by Ivanka Trump on Instagram — including not just Schumer and Handler, but also American fashion entrepreneur Sophie Amoruso and British model Cara Delevingne — have been posting messages detailing the alleged abuses of children under controversial family separations at the US-Mexico border in an effort to flood her feed.