Playing With Children’s Lives

When Donald Trump directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to separate children from their asylum-seeking parents at the southern border, we were horrified by the inhumanity of such an order, and more horrified still by the manner in which the order was carried out.  Today, that horror reaches an all new level.

Last month Trump signed an executive order to stop separating families at the border, in response to the bipartisan hue and cry over the practice.  However, no plans were made to re-unite the families who had already been torn apart, the children in hastily-constructed and poorly-managed detention centers.  It took a court order from U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw to force the government to begin reuniting children with their parents.  Judge Sabraw ruled that all children under 5 be reunited with their parents by July 10th, next Tuesday, and all other children by July 26th.  As I noted in my post on Friday, the Justice Department planned to request an extension in time.  Their claim was that they were doing DNA matching to make certain they reunited the right children with the right parents, and were also conducting criminal background checks on all the parents, as well as any others that will be living in the home.  My antennae went up when I heard this, thinking that in all likelihood the record-keeping of the hasty separations had been so poor that they didn’t know where all the children were.  I was mostly right.

Turns out, it’s the parents they have lost track of, although I will not be surprised when, at some point, it is discovered that there are some children whose whereabouts are unknown.  When Judge Sabraw asked for a status update on Friday, he was told that 19 of the parents with children under 5 had been released from ICE custody into the U.S. and their whereabouts are currently unknown.  Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian said …

“For those folks, in some cases, for example, if we’re not aware of where the parent is, I can’t commit to saying that reunification will occur before the deadline. … We’re still determining what the situation is there and whether those are situations where reunifications may not be able to occur within the timeframe.”

But it gets even better, for 19 parents with children under 5 being held by ICE have actually been deported, and the Justice Department asked Judge Sabraw for ‘clarity’ regarding whether he expected those parents to also be reunited with their children.  They had to ask??? The judge affirmed that they were indeed part of the order.

Judge Sabraw said he would agree to delay the deadline for reunifying the youngest children if the government could provide a master list of all children and the status of their parents. Sabraw ordered the administration to share a list of 101 children with the American Civil Liberties Union by Saturday afternoon. “What I’m expecting is a lot of work over the weekend,” he said during the meeting

The judge scheduled a status conference for 10 a.m. Pacific time on Monday. A government lawyer said she could not attend a status conference over the weekend because she had out-of-town dog-sitting responsibilities.  Excuse me, ma’am, but I think the lives of 3,000 children may be of a higher priority than your dog-sitting duties???

I have to wonder what the Justice Department thought to do with those children whose parents were already deported, since they seemed uncertain when they asked the judge for clarification?  But then, I found the answer … they intended to remand them into the foster care system!

On Friday, six state governors sent a letter addressed to Alex Azar, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  The letter begins …

Dear Secretary Azar and Secretary Nielsen:

As governors representing states where separated migrant children are being detained, we write to express our growing concern with this Administration’s ability to reunify families in accordance with the federal court injunction issued on June 26, 2018. Given recent reports suggesting this process is being carried out chaotically and inconsistently, and in light of your agencies’ latest admission that hundreds more separated migrant children are in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) than were previously accounted for, we remain deeply concerned that wholly inadequate resources and procedures are in place to ensure children and parents are reunified safely and securely within the court-ordered deadlines.

The letter goes on to say that the responsibility for the children’s welfare and reunification with their parents lies solely in the hands of the addresses, and asks a series of questions related to what is or isn’t being done to ensure the children are reunited without delay.  The letter is signed by Governor Jay Inslee, Washington; Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York; Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Connecticut; Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey; Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania; Governor Kate Brown, Oregon.

The letter was primarily in response to information that HHS considered any placement of a child to amount to a reunification — even if the sponsor wasn’t the parent from whom the child was separated, including a foster care setting.

Meanwhile, rumours abound that some of the children who have been returned have been in less than stellar condition, dirty and lice infested.  And in one case, it is said that a sexual predator is an employee of the facility and has frequent contact with the children.  I do not know how much is true and how much is rumour, so I make no comment on these, other than to say that nothing will surprise me at this point.  The federal government has been an extremely poor steward over the lives of 3,000 children, as well as their families.  We should be ashamed.

30 thoughts on “Playing With Children’s Lives

  1. If taxpayers have to follow the deadlines to pay their taxes…, then the Trump kingdom should be held to the same standards. Why do I see a Boston Tea Party like protest happening in the upcoming year?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make a good point about tax deadlines! A double standard? Methinks so. As for the Boston Tea Party style protest … I don’t know. Something to think about. I do know that the level of stress, the level of division between republicans and democrats, between Trumpeters and the rest of us is reaching a boiling point and something is definitely going to give … I’m just not sure what. I suspect, when I allow my mind to go to the really dark places, that Trump is creating much of the divisiveness intentionally with an end goal in mind.

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  2. Self survival and procreation are the most basic instincts in nature. Like much of what is left of our natural world; shared with other species. I’m not sure why economic refugees, with children should expect anything else? Having children does not give anyone, a God-given right?

    Genuine refugees, escaping right wing regimes. Right-wing regimes … like the USA you mean? So what is going on? People in a rush to workIn USA. In a right wing regime with gruesome record on human rights? These people want to go there? I guess the administration has good points after all? For people to want to go to the USA? The track record on oppression? Ain’t exactly stellar. I don’t get it? Is it an out of the frying pan into the fire; sort of thing?

    If economic refugees don’t like it? Don’t come.. simple.

    It smacks of deeper connivance, to me. What about the reverse migrations? To convenient, offshore, “retirement enclaves”? Slavery is not cute and wears many faces. Today’s cause, is tomorrow’s oppression as the next “issue” is found. One needs keep ourselves balanced.

    Life’s not perfect? For sure! Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 1 person

    • First, while part of the issue is economics, survival as it were, these are not economic refugees. They are fleeing for their lives, not their pocketbooks. I’m curious, Jamie … why do you think they deserve to have their children taken from them, or that the children deserve to be taken from their parents, even if they were economic refugees? You and I disagree on many things, and it doesn’t typically bother me, but this one does, for it seems that you are being heartless, and I sincerely hope that I am misunderstanding. To be clear, in my opinion, there is NO justification for separating a child from its parent, leaving that child frightened, insecure, not understanding what is happening or why. Can you imagine the trauma of being 4 years old and suddenly nothing and nobody is familiar and you don’t understand?

      Those “convenient, offshore, “retirement enclaves” you refer to exist only for the very wealthy in this country. No, life is never perfect, but this is unconscionable. This is evil. This, I cannot condone.

      Cheers

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  3. “If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.” – Marian Wright Edelman. A government agency forcibly separates innocent children from their parents, yet fails to adequately document their whereabouts. That even one of these children will not be reunited with their parents is intolerable. The words to describe this diabolical disaster do not even exist! “History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.” – Nelson Mandela. History should be unforgiving of this sin against children. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is such a true statement. Children … our future … our hope for a better world. And we use them as pawns in a high-stakes political game??? I suspect that history will be very unforgiving and that this will be one very large part of Trump’s “legacy” in recorded history. I despise that man more with each passing day!

      A video for Benjamin in the Jolly Monday post with a squirrel pushing an owl out of a tree. Hope he enjoys it!

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  4. Dear Jill,

    This is a top priority story until these children are reunited. The president and his administration officials are lying through their teeth. The judge will see through their stalling tactics.

    One can’t keep up with the President’s cruelty like his ordering the separation of immigrant soldiers from the military, getting ready to give away who knows what to Russia, his aiming a wrecking ball at NATO, his bragging about a N Korean success that never happened, and his reality TV show presentation for his next Supreme Court nomination.

    Rep. Jim Jordan has been literally neutered for awhile. The US Senate Intel Committee GOP members did a competent job and Mr. Manafort is supposed to go on trial this month of July 2018 unless his attorneys figure out a way to postpone this.The Elliott Broidy story is exploding again.

    What more can this bully-in-chief do to tear this country apart?

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, my friend, it is a top priority story and one that we must keep in the spotlight. We cannot let anyone forget. However, we must also be careful not to write about it so much that it becomes commonplace, that people say, “ho-hum, yeah, the kids again”. I’ve seen that happen with other things, and this is too important to allow people to become complacent.

      I very much dread Trump going abroad next week. He will no doubt embarrass us in the UK, then somehow turn the NATO summit into the same sort of chaos that he did the G7 by bullying and browbeating our friends & allies. And then he meets with Putin where, it is reported, he is planning to give him certain concessions. What a nightmare. I hope he comes down with some terrible disease before he leaves that keeps him abed in the White House!

      Jim Jordan is a class A jerk, but I haven’t yet written about him, for something is bothering me about the whole story, and I cannot quite put my finger on it. And as for Broidy … I hadn’t heard the latest, but will be looking into it tonight. Sigh. I cannot keep up!!!

      Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We need to keep the pressure up. The world is going to judge the American people by how they respond to this atrocity.

    Some ordinary citizens have been taking action, but there’s only so much they can do.

    There have been cases in the past where the government placed immigrant children with “caregivers” who were actually human traffickers. If their vetting is that bad, given the sudden increase in numbers they’ve been dealing with, it wouldn’t be surprising if the same had happened again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we definitely must keep the pressure up and not let the nation forget what has taken place and still is ongoing. I suspect the fiasco will increase with the older children, for I hear that some of them have run away and HHS has no idea where they are. I want this fresh in people’s minds on November 6th!

      I was intrigued, for I saw I received over 70 views from your blogs today, so I went to your blog, liked what I saw, and wanted to follow it, but then I realized that it is not on WordPress, and I didn’t see any way to follow it. Is there a way, or should I just bookmark it? Thanks for sharing my work and for visiting! Greatly appreciated!

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      • It’s still four months to the election, but I think the nature of this issue will lend itself to keeping it in the news. There will always be stories there about individuals finally getting their children back, individuals who are still looking, public reaction in Latin America (I’m sure this has been a major story there) and the effect on US relations with them, and so on. The media have a weakness for human-interest stories, so they will probably keep covering such cases on their own, but we members of the public too can push them to keep a focus there if they show signs of flagging.

        About the blog following, I sent you an e-mail. The process is a bit different than with WordPress. Thanks for your posts!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    This is beyond shame, this is beyond horror … this is pure VILE EVIL!!
    ‘The federal government has been an extremely poor steward over the lives of 3,000 children, as well as their families. We should be ashamed.’

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jill, the man in the White House is not the first leader to not spend time mapping out execution of a plan. In fact, it is not rare at all, as more than a few leaders have been guilty of poor planning.

    The President goes beyond this as he does little due diligence or seek buy-in and input from others, so planning execution is very limited. The first travel ban was a so poorly done, it was backed off after a huge uproar. He often catches people who should be in the know off guard. That is his modus operandi – like a King saying let it be written, let it be done. The immigration fiasco is of this ilk.

    Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poor planning is one thing … zero forethought is quite another. It appears that Trump literally never listens to anybody with experience, knowledge or intelligence. He seems to value Hannity’s opinion more than any others, and Hannity is a bloomin’ idiot! Yes, this entire fiasco falls directly at his feet and it must never be forgotten. This, among other abominations, is his “legacy”. Meanwhile, what becomes of these children? 😥

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      • Jill, when a man with an agenda who cares little about details gets his advice from people with an agenda who shape facts to meet such, the end result can only miss the mark.

        This fiasco is huge, but Dems have given him two paths to diffuse the attention with the “get rid of ICE” chatter and Maxine Waters asking people to harass staff. Dems need to get off the former and chastise the latter.

        The light needs to be on Trump’s cruelty and incompetence. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • I absolutely, 100% agree with you there. It is why I have not written at all about either of those issues yet, though I am planning to address the ICE issue soon, but I do not support the movement. Yes, ICE needs some changes, some checks and balances to ensure that they are treating people like people instead of animals, but the democrats are not doing themselves any favours with either of these issues. In fact, it almost seems as if we are playing into the hands of the GOP. I had hoped we had better sense. I should have known better, eh?

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  8. Pingback: Trump Playing With Children’s Lives – The Militant Negro™

  9. Unfortunately, for this country and the world, there are those in the leadership who believe there are only two things important to them, their image and their wealth… they did not become who they are by being caring people and the fate of other creatures matter little, if at all, to them…

    “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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