Trump signed an executive order earlier this week that did … nothing. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop him from preening and patting himself on the back. While thousands of children remain terrified and separated from their parents, held in old warehouses, tent cities, and wherever the U.S. government can find room to stow them.
Administration officials admit that there is no immediate plan to reunite these children with their families. Melania Trump visits them wearing a jacket that says, “I don’t care, do U?” Fox television host Brian Kilmeade says we should not be concerned because “These aren’t our kids … it’s not like he is doing this to the people of Idaho or, uh, or, uh, Texas. These are people from another country.” Members of Congress, congressional candidates, and the press have been denied entry to tour the facilities. A senator was escorted from the premises by police, while Zak Ringelstein, a candidate for senator from Maine, was handcuffed and arrested for bringing toys, blankets and food for the children.
A number of NGO’s (Non-government organizations) are attempting to help re-unite children and parents, but it is an onerous task. One such agency is the Texas Civil Rights Project. The organization has been working with over 300 families and so far, has only managed to find two of the children! The record-keeping is either poor or non-existent. Natalia Cornelio, a lawyer with the project, said “Either the government wasn’t thinking at all about how they were going to put these families back together, or they decided they just didn’t care.”
Lawyers from across the country have shown up in Texas to volunteer their services. Since government resources proved unhelpful, they’ve been collecting information about the children from their parents and passing that on to legal organizations that represent undocumented children. What in the Sam Hell did the government, did ICE, think they were doing when they took these children???
In spite of Trump’s executive order, many parents are not being told where their children are being held, are only allowed to call twice a week for 15-minutes, are not allowed to visit, having been told not to expect to see their children for at least a month, perhaps longer. The executive order has no teeth, apparently.
Inaccurate date, misspelled names, incorrect birthdates are all contributory factors to the virtual chaos found in a system that doesn’t appear to even be trying very hard to match these 2,300+ children to their parents. Emily Kephart, a program coördinator at an immigrant-rights group called Kids in Need of Defense (KiND) was recently trying to locate the daughter of a Guatemalan father who had been separated since May. After many calls, she finally contacted somebody who thought she might know the whereabouts of the girl, but it was unclear, for the name was spelled differently and the birthdate was a month off.
In the past two months, under Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy, some 2,300 children have been taken from their parents for no reason other than … Donald Trump wants his wall and knows that if anything will tug at people’s heartstrings, it is the cries of frightened, hurt children. No protocols have been put in place for keeping track of parents and children concurrently, for keeping parents and children in contact with each other while they are separated, or for eventually reuniting them. Immigration lawyers, public defenders, and advocates along the border have been trying to fill the void. Most parents are not even given the ‘alien number’ assigned to their children. One official said it is quite possible that some children may never be reunited with their parents!
So what, you may ask, did Trump’s executive order actually accomplish? Well, purportedly no new separations will take place and parents will remain with their children in detention centers operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The order does NOT make mention of reuniting the 2,300 children already separated! The order also directs the Department of Defense to prepare military bases and facilities to accept detained immigrant families. And the order, in typical Trump-fashion, places the blame for this entire fiasco squarely on the shoulders of Congress for not passing immigration reform that would fund Trump’s wall.
For seventeen loooonnnng months we have put up with the ineptitude, the vengeful policies, the destructiveness and the hatred of the ‘man’ who illegitimately sits in the Oval Office. It is enough. Donald Trump is rapidly turning this nation into something it was never meant to be. We are becoming a nation led by a cruel dictator who would use innocent little children as pawns to get his way. Congress has enabled him from day #1 and continues to do so, perhaps out of fear, perhaps for personal gain. Either way, folks, change must happen! Please, please, folks, let’s make that change happen by our vote in November.