Immigration Open Thread: 1500 “Missing” Children

Yes, it’s really bad, but it’s more complicated than the first statements that came out over the weekend. Per the Washington Post:

There’s been an avalanche of grim news centered on young immigrants apprehended at the border with Mexico. On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union published a report documenting abusive encounters between young people and border agents during the administration of President Barack Obama. Last month, the government admitted it had lost track of more than a thousand children who had been placed with sponsors after being caught crossing the border alone.

In recent days, though, attention has been focused on a new crisis for immigrant children. Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new policy in which families arriving at the border would be forcibly broken up, with children and parents separated from one another and detained separately. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes explored the practical ramifications of the policy: children as young as 1½, too young to form complete sentences, much less care for themselves, torn away from their parents and sent to government detention facilities.

It’s a policy specifically meant to serve as a deterrent to future immigrants, as White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly made clear in an interview with NPR a few weeks ago. Sessions tried to argue that it was meant to prevent trafficking and abuse, but Kelly’s insistence that it was a deterrent matches reporting that indicates President Trump himself authorized the change to limit a recent increase in the number of families seeking entry to the United States…

The organization Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) has for a decade been supporting minors who are detained after entering the country. Its president, Wendy Young, spoke with The Washington Post by phone on Friday to explain how Trump’s policy shift affects young immigrants — and how it fits into his broader shift in how the country deals with immigrants.

Her organization provides pro bono legal services to immigrants who arrive at the border without a parent — unaccompanied children, in the parlance — once they leave federal detention facilities to join family members already in the country…

There are special protections under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 that apply to unaccompanied children. After all, young people may lack the ability to advocate for themselves in the way that an adult might. KIND helps provide representation to between 50 and 60 percent of those young people — but Young fears the percentage will drop now that the pool of unaccompanied children is being deliberately expanded…

The Trump Occupancy has done everything in its power to make a terrible situation worse, but we can’t afford to overreact by demanding, for instance, that every ‘unaccompanied minor’ be kept under surveillance until their eighteenth birthday. These kids are *not* criminals, although not infrequently the people who take them in are liable to be undocumented. Just as most ‘welfare cheats’ are desperate individuals failing to cope “correctly” with a system designed to be unnavigable, most of the people who work with divided refugee families assume (hope) that the “lost” kids have dropped off the HHS radar because they choose not to be further harassed…

Esteban Pastor hoped U.S. Border Patrol agents would free him and his 18-month-old son after they were arrested for crossing the southern border illegally last summer.

He had mortgaged his land in Guatemala to fund his sick toddler’s hospital stay, and needed to work in the United States to pay off the loan.

Instead agents imprisoned the 28-year-old in July for coming back into the country after having been deported, a felony. They placed the toddler in a federal shelter, though where, Pastor didn’t know. Three months later, in October, the father was deported — alone. His child, he said agents told him, was “somewhere in Texas.”…

63 replies
  1. 1

    …children as young as 1½, too young to form complete sentences, much less care for themselves, torn away from their parents and sent to government detention facilities.

    We can’t even take care of the children already here. And these evil morons throw gasoline on the fires.

    There is a special place in hell reserved for people like Sessions, though I doubt he’d be let in.

  2. 2
    rikyrah says:

    Josh Marshall has an interesting point about the former Governor of Missouri😒😒😒

    https://twitter.com/joshtpm/status/1001580772992733184?s=20

  3. 3
    rikyrah says:

    We have prison buses made of baby car seats

    BABY👏CAR👏SEATS👏
    In what world is this OK?😠😠😠

  4. 4
    Platonailedit says:

    President @realDonaldTrump: NO. Mexico will NEVER pay for a wall. Not now, not ever.

    Sincerely, Mexico (all of us).

    — Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) May 30, 2018

  5. 5
    trnc says:

    Sure, this policy will deter immigrants who will never hear about it before getting to the border (because they probably don’t get a lot of information on a day to day basis), just like threats of the death penalty has cut the murder rate in Texas.

    Sigh.

  6. 6

    @rikyrah: Its the official policy of the Nazi regime in power.

  7. 7
    NotMax says:

    @rikyrah

    Paddy cake wagons.

  8. 8
    Chet Murthy says:

    @rikyrah:

    We have prison buses made of baby car seats

    Is this happening in California? I ask b/c maybe there’s something the state can do about it?

    ETA: not the “buses of baby car seats” per se, but the entire “separate children from their parents”.

  9. 9
    Mnemosyne says:

    @BruceFromOhio:

    These same evil morons want to outlaw abortion so America can produce an additional 500,000 children per year that they can refuse any assistance to. 😠

    Refusing to help the helpless is how they make themselves feel powerful.

  10. 10
    Ohio Mom says:

    I can hardly bear to read about the lost children. Too painful. Nevertheless, I force myself because otherwise I am a German who isn’t noticing the smoke coming out of the chimneys. Oops, did I just go Goodwin?

  11. 11

    @Ohio Mom: Nazi analogies are pretty accurate description of these policies.

  12. 12

    @Mnemosyne: Refusing to help the helpless is how they make themselves feel powerful.

    This reminds me of the cashier giving shit to the lady trying to buy things on WIC and the lady trying to help her when she didn’t have enough money. Going to be hell to pay when the helpless realize they have nothing left to lose.

  13. 13
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @NotMax:

    I was given the day’s internets early this morning. I hereby present them to you, with admiration.

  14. 14
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    Is this happening in California? I ask b/c maybe there’s something the state can do about it?

    ETA: not the “buses of baby car seats” per se, but the entire “separate children from their parents”.

    States have no jurisdiction over immigration matters.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Aleta says:

    @rikyrah: I saw a photo of that bus…I think the gov’t contractors who built it were bragging about it. At LGM, someone wrote that the photo was from 2016. (Implying it’s nothing to do with Trum.)

    Eric Loomis answered:

    ICE operates semi-independently of presidential will. The structures of ethnic cleansing were all set up before 2016. There is however a reason that ICE agents and its union are all-in on Trump unlike any federal worker union has ever been for any president in American history.

  17. 17
    jonas says:

    These lost children mostly appear to be young adults who crossed the border with the big wave of Central American refugees a few years ago and were placed in foster care while their status was sorted out. They’ve since basically run away from these temporary placements and sought out friends or family and then went underground and refused (with fucking good reason) to update HHS with their whereabouts since then. So they’ve “gone missing” but in many cases probably by their own choice since they fear summary deportation if they resurface.

  18. 18
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    States have no jurisdiction over immigration matters.

    Indeed. Did I say that I hoped the state would intervene in an immigration enforcement capacity? First question is whether my state is part of this abomination. If it isn’t, I can’t really do more than try to help with November (and donate money). B/c fuck if I’ll set foot in a Red State without a large fucking army to protect me. If it’s happening in my state, I need to start bugging my tribunes.

  19. 19
    Aleta says:

    Huge difference in the treatment of children between Pres. Obama’s administration and this rw conservative one. They literally believe children are property, and that some children are disposable.

    Mother Jones @MotherJones
    Scott Pruitt tried to give men “property rights” over fetuses
    (link: http://bit.ly/2IY6Rtm)

  20. 20
    eemom says:

    Or, for the less twitter-enamored:

    There are two main issues at play here:

    1. The feds lost track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children.
    About a month ago, news outlets began to report that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — which is responsible for sheltering unaccompanied immigrant children who arrive in the US — lost track of 1,475 children, whom it had released from its shelters to relatives or sponsors.

    2. The Trump administration is separating parents and children at the border.
    Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who heads the Department of Justice, and officials from the Department of Homeland Security, including the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, announced that they would be separating children and parents who without authorization — even those who cross seeking asylum — as part of a new “zero-tolerance policy.” Last week, harrowing anecdotes about the implementation of that policy started to surface, as immigration agents ripped children as young as 1 year old from their parents.

    Are these the same children?
    No. While many have been tempted to connect these situations, they are two distinct issues and involve two different groups of migrant children.
    The nearly 1,500 “missing” children came to the US without any adult supervision. After immigration agents at the border processed the unaccompanied minors, they placed them in the care of HHS, and HHS housed them in its shelters. Then, HHS released the kids to relatives or other available sponsors, in accordance with longstanding protocol, and then lost touch with the kids’ sponsors.
    The kids that were separated from their parents, on the other hand, are victims of a new Trump administration policy, which was pitched by top officials as a way to discourage migrant families from crossing the southern border.

    Are these issues equally harmful to migrant children and families?
    No. One of these issues is a human rights tragedy, while the other could actually be in the best interest of some of the children.
    Immigrants’ rights advocates have unequivocally condemned the new practice of separating children from their families as cruel and unnecessary. The policy is especially harmful to young children who are likely already dealing with the trauma of fleeing violence in their home countries.
    “The medical evidence is overwhelming that we may be doing permanent trauma to these kids,” Lee Gelernt, the national director of the Immigrant Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, which is suing the Trump administration to end family separation at the border, said in an interview with MSNBC.
    “This is unprecedented. This is the worst thing I’ve seen in 25-plus years of doing this civil rights work. I am talking to these mothers, and they are describing their kids screaming, ‘Mommy, mommy, don’t let them take me away.’ Five years old, six years old, and they’re just being ripped away.” -Lee Gelern

    On the other hand, experts are approaching the situation of the missing children with more caution.
    “Missing” is a misleading term. HHS released these kids into the custody of sponsors, but have since “lost track” of them. What this means in practice is that HHS attempted to call sponsors to follow up and that those calls went unanswered.
    Because HHS cannot account for the whereabouts of these children, it’s entirely possible that some of them are in the wrong hands. In 2016, it was revealed that some kids released from HHS custody landed in the hands of traffickers who put them to work on egg farms.
    However, this is not the case for most of these children — contrary to claims on social media.

  21. 21
    Aleta says:

    A slice of good news.

    Ari Melber @AriMelber
    New filing: Feds to get 1,025,363 more items of evidence on Michael Cohen tomorrow.

    Photo of the filing is on his twitter.

  22. 22
    Mary G says:

    I’ve read as many of the well actually, and it’s complicated, and there are two different issues, and Obama was really bad on this too as I can without blowing a gasket. They are still planning to count even people who come up to a border station, and without crossing, request asylum, as criminals. This is new. If they have kids with them, since they are all now criminals, of course, the kids will be taken from the adults they came with and put, as Kelly has said, in foster homes or whatever.

    And the private prison where they are taking some of them has a bus that is almost all built-in baby seats, as @rikyrah: points out again.

    These things are barbaric and inhumane and should not be allowed.

  23. 23
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Aleta: There is something very bizarre about making sure child carseat regulations are adhered to even while carrying out horribly inhumane laws. There is a Far Side cartoon in here somewhere: Jews, Roma, Gays, etc., safely seatbelted in those cattlecars.

  24. 24
    jl says:

    ” Sessions tried to argue that it was meant to prevent trafficking and abuse”
    That sounds so weak, i guess he didn’t try to argue it too hard.

    ” but Kelly’s insistence that it was a deterrent matches reporting that indicates President Trump himself authorized the change to limit a recent increase in the number of families seeking entry to the United States ”
    IANAL, but that sound somewhat illegal, at least for asylum seekers. Sounds like collective punishment of people who cannot be reasonably suspected of having violated the law for a dubious agenda.
    But if not illegal, or a human rights crime, it is disgusting.

  25. 25
    Mary G says:

    @Aleta: Yes, Obama was always trying to rein ICE in and they hated him for it, so Twitler’s all clear has let them be as awful as they’ve always been without blowback.

  26. 26
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Aleta:

    1,025,363 more items of evidence on Michael Cohen

    This is the biggest, best number in history! Many people don’t know this, but there’s never been such a big number! Believe me!

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    Did I say that I hoped the state would intervene in an immigration enforcement capacity?

    You asked if the state could do something about it. Maybe I missed something, but the answer to the question you asked was no.

  29. 29
    MomSense says:

    @rikyrah:

    Wasn’t Greitens a Pence protégée? I seem to recall photos of them traveling together, etc.

  30. 30
    GregB says:

    It is alla big fucking game to Trump. He is also creating an army of vulgarians in his wake.

  31. 31
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @GregB: The vulgarians were always there.

  32. 32
    oatler. says:

    Besprizornye, nyet?

  33. 33
    Mary G says:

    Bringing in more alt-right anti-Muslim people where they don’t have to be Senate-confirmed:

    John Bolton has chosen Fred Fleitz as the new NSC chief of staff. Fleitz is Senior VP of Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, an @splcenter designated hate group that @ADL_National condemns as “dedicated to advancement of myriad conspiracy theories & anti-Muslim extremism”— Dylan Williams (@dylanotes) May 30, 2018

    Former Newsmax writer and author of “books” explaining why Obama failed and Trump is fixing things with North Korea and China.

  34. 34
    MomSense says:

    @NotMax:

    Thanks for the Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks. I really enjoyed it.

  35. 35
    Starfish says:

    @Aleta: The picture of the bus was in the marketing literature for the company. The bus was designed so children being held by ICE who are required to be given an education can go on field trips.

  36. 36

    @Omnes Omnibus: State and local law enforcement can refuse to work with ICE.

  37. 37

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yup, they just think they have a permission slip to let their freak flag fly.

  38. 38
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: My question was whether this was happening in CA. Only secondarily did I wonder what the state could do about it. Why is that only secondary? B/c sure, it’s happening in TX, but there’s nothing to be done there, other than wait 50 years to vote them out. Until then, action will have to happen at a national level. But maybe there’s something that can happen in CA. And no, I don’t mean in terms of immigration enforcement.

    ICE agents gotta eat, they gotta sleep, and they gotta send their kids to schools. I’ve read that once upon a time, municipalities took it upon themselves to differentially enforce laws against black people. Somehow, it was all lawful.

  39. 39
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Absolutely. And I should have mentioned that. But my point was that states can’t stop any of it.

  40. 40
    Jay says:

    @jonas:

    Probably not all of them.

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chet Murthy: Okay, let’s say it is happening in CA, what do you propose?

  42. 42
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Ohio Mom:
    Sounds like something out of Brazil. The slavish devotion to bureaucratic procedures all the while doing horrific, cruel things to others.

  43. 43
    jl says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    Recently, I’ve thought that ‘Brazil’ was a remarkably prophetic movie. We’re not quite there yet, thankfully. But if Trumpism continues to rule, we’ll be there soon enough.

  44. 44
    Mary G says:

    I am on a look-for-the-good-news kick today and I hope you all will read at least some of this compilation of a tweet thread by a high school English teacher and her experiences with teaching Orwell’s “1984.”

  45. 45
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Forming an organized resistance against ICE? Perhaps their operations could be sabotaged and bogged down?

    I have no idea what this would look like though. Just a (probably stupid) suggestion.

  46. 46
    EBT says:

    @BruceFromOhio: We *choose* to not take care of those already here. We are capable of taking care of the *entire planet* with what we already produce. Keep that in mind.

  47. 47
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    ICE agents gotta eat, they gotta sleep, and they gotta send their kids to schools. I’ve read that once upon a time, municipalities took it upon themselves to differentially enforce laws against black people. Somehow, it was all lawful.

    So CA should fuck over some kids because one of their parents is an asshole? I’ll pass, thank you.

  48. 48
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Gee, idunno, Omnes. One supposes there are lots and lots of laws on the books that could be enforced against ICE agents. Speeding laws. Maybe lots of road work on all the roads around their prisons.

    Unlike, Goku and TP, I’m a believer in states (== government) and collective action thru our political representatives. Make it sufficiently miserable for -individual- ICE agents, and perhaps the enforcement actions in CA stop. No, it doesn’t change what happens in Arizona. But then, that’s a foreign country, to which I’m obligated to send my tax money.

  49. 49
    Peale says:

    @eemom: yep. I was called a concern troll for being “concerned” that we may be overractting to these 1,500 missing children. And mixing up a few issues. The regular holier than thou “so left we support Trump” brigade just can walz in and declare that “Obama was just as bad” because we can’t articulate the policy change. There’s more than one agency involved here.

    What people are going to end up arguing for if they are not careful is for Ice to permanently detain kids in “shelters” and not release them to their families. In the name of keeping them “safe”. Or to increase the funding for ICE to chase children. We actually want HHS to get them out of shelters with sponsors. We don’t want “end catch and release” goals of this admitraion to apply to the unaccompanied minor asylum seekers.

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: State police vs Federal authorities? How is that going to work out? Refusal to assist is about as far as state and local law enforcement can go. This has to addressed at the Federal level.

  51. 51
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    Unlike, Goku and TP, I’m a believer in states (== government) and collective action thru our political representatives.

    So am I. I went through a period I don’t particularly like. The endless deluge of awfulness and the seemingly never-ending descent into proto-fascism made more willing (at least in fantasy) to consider more extra-legal solutions to defeat the GOOPers and their fellow travelers. In other words, I reacted the way I did because I was scared.

    Most of all, I wanted to directly defeat people like Trump in a way that would leave them powerless, unable to stop me; to wipe the smug smirks off their faces.

  52. 52
    ChrisH says:

    Something like this was inevitable, really. The North Star of this administration has been, whether through malice or incompetence, whatever Trumpers accused Hillary of doing is something the administration is guilty of. I guess Pizzagate is no exception.

    I’m not suggesting the GOP is *running* the child sex ring, but the idea their policies may have contributed to child trafficking is chilling enough.

  53. 53
    Corner Stone says:

    @Peale:

    The regular holier than thou “so left we support Trump” brigade just can walz in and declare that “Obama was just as bad” because we can’t articulate the policy change.

    Come on. Just schmearing Red Velvet butter cream icing on something does not make it true.

  54. 54

    @Corner Stone:

    Just schmearing Red Velvet butter cream icing on something does not make it true.

    No, but it does make it tasty.

  55. 55
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chet Murthy: Good luck with that. Get back to me when you have some success at the state level. Or, if this issue is important to you, you could work on it at a national level. Which was my original point.

  56. 56
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    However, I know better than this now.

  57. 57
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    No, it doesn’t change what happens in Arizona. But then, that’s a foreign country, to which I’m obligated to send my tax money.

    Got it. You are a Californian, not an American. I will bear that in mind going forward.

  58. 58
    NotMax says:

    @MomSense

    Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

  59. 59
    Suzanne says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Just schmearing Red Velvet butter cream icing on something does not make it true.

    I think we better test that to verify.

  60. 60
    Jay says:

    -@Omnes Omnibus:

    In California,
    – Officials, eg: Oakland Mayor, publically warned the immigrant community of upcoming ICE Raids,
    – State and City officals including Police and other LEO’s don’t cooperate,
    – Protestors have shut down ICE Offices, ICE Raids and blocked ICE Deportation transfers,
    – Sanctuary Churches and other Community Orgs have sheltered or hidden “deportee targets”.

    During the Reagan Years, there was an “underground railroad” getting Guatemalans, Salvadorians, Nicaraguans and others fleeing Reagan’s Favorite Generals and Mass Murderers, from the US/Mexican Border, to sanctuary in Canada.

    A big part of that effort, was spent on ensuring that “deportees” and refugees had actual legal representation in both Canada and the US, when they encountered the legal system.

    These days, most don’t.

    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.vox.com/platform/amp/policy-and-politics/2017/11/9/16623906/immigration-court-lawyer

    “According to a study released Thursday by the Vera Institute for Justice (which is now helping fund the representation efforts in the other cities, under the auspices of the Safe Cities Network), the results were stunning. With guaranteed legal representation, up to 12 times as many immigrants have been able to win their cases: either able to get legal relief from deportation or at least able to persuade ICE to drop the attempt to deport them this time.”

    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.cbc.ca/amp/1.3483499

    ” In a deposition lasting four hours, in a case seeking government-appointed lawyers for unaccompanied minors, Judge Jack Weil said that three and four-year-olds are capable of defending themselves in immigration court.”

  61. 61
    Yarrow says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Just schmearing Red Velvet butter cream icing on something does not make it true.

    Now I want cake with red velvet butter cream icing.

  62. 62
    NotMax says:

    @Yarrow

    When it comes to red velvet cake, put me on the side of Irma Rombauer and James Beard: 7 Things You Definitely Did Not Know About Red Velvet Cake.

    All one can taste is … red.

    Then there’s this abomination (from above link).

    “In San Francisco, where one presumes people know better, the American Cupcake bar and bakery offers chicken that has been soaked in red velvet cake batter, rolled in toasted red velvet cupcake crumbs and fried. The dish comes with garlic- and cream-cheese mashed potatoes and cocoa-infused slaw.”

  63. 63
    Aleta says:

    @NotMax: They’ve gone barmy. Mad as hatters.

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