An ER Pediatrician Explains What She’s Observed Examining Babies Separated from Their Asylum Seeking Parents Who are in Foster Care

Tara Neubrand, MD is a pediatric emergency specialist in Denver. She has recorded her observations of the toddlers separated from their asylum seeking parents and placed into foster care who she has treated. Dr. Jennifer Gunter has posted the letters in her twitter feed.

Click to bring up the different parts of the letters.

 

Open thread!



Where are the Toddlers and the Girls?

MSNBC’s Jacob Soborrof who has been reporting on site in Texas on this for the better part of the past week repeats the question over and over:

And again:

He has reported on air on MSNBC today that he’s been informed that the news media will be provided by the government with pictures and videos of separated girls and toddlers being held in detention in two days. In the meantime they offered him:

The only reason that the government can’t or won’t provide photographic and documentary evidence immediately and will not allow journalists to take those pictures and make those videos themselves is to control the narrative. They need time to make sure everything looks presentable in the materials they are going to present to the public via the news media. They do not want and cannot afford to have another audiotape like yesterday’s, let alone a videotape, leak out and get published again. It is also why they will not allow Senators and Congressman to tour the facilities without advanced notice. Such as Senator Nelson (D-FL) this morning down at the facility in Homestead, FL.

MSNBC’s Julia Ainsely has reported that not only will it take years to reunite these children with their families, some will never be reunited at all. (emphasis mine)

The former head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told NBC News that migrant parents separated from their children at the border are sometimes unable to relocate their child and remain permanently separated.

Permanent separation. It happens,” said John Sandweg, who served as acting director of ICE under the Obama administration from 2013-2014.

Sandweg’s warning contradicts White House messaging that the separation of women and children migrants under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy is only temporary.

While a parent can quickly move from detention to deportation, a child’s case for asylum or deportation may not be heard by a judge for several years because deporting a child is a lower priority for the courts, Sandweg explained.

“You could easily end up in a situation where the gap between a parent’s deportation and a child’s deportation is years,” Sandweg said.

As a result, parents may find themselves back in their home countries struggling to find their children. Many do not have access to legal counsel or understand the U.S. immigration or judicial systems.

Children who stay in the foster system for lengthy periods of time may become wards of the state and finally adopted.

“You could be creating thousands of immigrant orphans in the U.S. that one day could become eligible for citizenship when they are adopted,” Sandweg explained.

Sandweg says he has seen permanent separation happen when a parent is deported without his or her child.

“This is why family unity was critical for us. With the numbers of families crossing ticking up, [the] Obama administration was concerned about children being left behind,” said Sandweg.

Speaking on Fox News Tuesday, White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp insisted the separations were short term.

“We have come to understand that these families who are separated, it is for a limited period of time between five to ten days,” Schlapp said.

Much more at the link.

Mercedes Schlapp, the daughter of Cubans who sought refuge and asylum in the US after her father was imprisoned and tortured for six years by the Castro government, is a liar and a hypocrite, but we already knew that.

I’ve spent a lot of time working with internally displaced Iraqis, on issues dealing with internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees in the Levant, and with USAID’s Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) officers. No one, not Mercedes Schlapp’s father in fleeing Cuba, nor people fleeing the collapse of the state and society in Guatemala, Honduras, and Venezuela, as well as other places, leaves everything behind, grabs their children, and walks hundreds and thousands of miles overland or traverses the same distances on the ocean, just because they want a chance to earn a few more dollars. The people that take these most desperate of measures, do so because as dangerous as it is, it is less dangerous than staying where they are. And they do so with only these thoughts in mind: at the end of the journey is safety, at the end of the journey is hope, at the end of the journey is the United States!

This was the belief that drove Stephen Miller’s maternal grandparents as related by his maternal uncle (emphasis mine):

“The Glosser family escaped Europe as dirt poor immigrants, joined the community, built businesses, and honestly sold goods to their fellow Johnstowners,” Glosser wrote. “My nephew and I must both reflect long and hard on one awful truth. If in the early 20th century the USA had built a wall against poor desperate ignorant immigrants of a different religion, like the Glossers, all of us would have gone up the crematoria chimneys with the other six million kinsmen whom we can never know.

I’m sure Stephen Miller’s maternal grandparents would be so proud that their grandson grew up to be exactly the kind of person they fled to the United States to get away from!

It was this same belief behind Senator Cruz’s father’s flight to safety from Castro’s Cuba. All so that Senator Cruz, a Latino-Canadian, could grow up to be a white supremacist from Texas! America truly is the land of opportunity…

Leaving the hypocrisy aside, the more important takeaway here is that a significant number of these children will never see their parents again as a result of a decision made by a Republican president. That not a single Republican senator or congressperson will do anything significant to stop. You know, the Republican Party – the party of family values! And given the size and scale of this new policy put in place by the President and Attorney General Sessions at the urging of Stephen Miller, as well as the haste and lack of planning that went into it’s implementation, we should expect that this number will be far, far higher than the failures that former Acting Director Sandweg related.

The simple truth here is that because of the size and scope of the President’s policy of separating children from their parents, significantly more children will never see their parents again. Moreover, because DHS and HHS know they can’t afford to let Americans, including US senators and representatives, see what is actually happening in real time, they are doing everything they can to control access and the flow of information; especially pictures, video, and audio. It reeks not just of covering their asses, but of Theresienstadt. And it should because the size and scope of implementing this policy is way beyond the ability of HHS to implement safely and effectively.

The more children they separate, the more they’re going to rely on contract solutions. I know a lot about contract solutions – I am one. And I can tell you that as they rush to do this in a hurry HHS is going to wind up defaulting to the lowest bidder who can argue effectively that they can provide the contract solution required. Or they’ll award a no bid to one of their existing omnibus contractors. Even if those companies have no idea how to do any of this work. Those companies will then quickly move to hire whoever is willing to do the work, regardless of actual/real qualifications. Instead of hiring a large cohort of social workers and licensed child care professionals and pediatric nurses and kindergarten, primary, and secondary teachers, you’re going to get whatever bodies they can hire, for the minimum amount of pay they can possibly offer, thrown at the problem. Children are going to suffer as a result of this. Beyond just the trauma of being forcibly separated from their parents. Children will suffer from neglect, from negligence. Some of these children will die. All in the name of putting America First in order to Make America Great Again. And so that Stephen Miller can own the libs…

This is going to get much, much worse before it get’s better.

Stay informed. Stay angry.

Open thread.



Here’s Your Plan of Action in Response to the President’s Policy Separating the Children of Asylum Seekers from Their Parents: Protests are Scheduled in DC and Around the Country for 30 June 2018

Walter Shaub has the details:

Here’s our tips for a safe protest experience.

For those looking to donate, there’s RAICES Family Reunification:

Here’s their donation link.

If you’ve got other groups you recommend donating to that are helping with this emergency solely created by the President, his Senior Advisor Stephen Miller, and Attorney General Sessions, please put them in the comments.

Take heart that what everyone is already doing is working. If it wasn’t, Senator Cruz – a Latino Canadian who moved to the US so he could become a white supremacist – wouldn’t be submitting even bad legislation in an attempt to change the subject ahead of the midterm elections.

Does anyone really think that Senator Cruz would be trying to do anything, even something bad that he could spin, if his internal polling for his campaign for reelection wasn’t showing that Congressman Beto O’Rourke wasn’t a serious threat? I expect that Cruz’s campaign polling is showing Beto as a very strong and credible threat. The campaigns’ internal polling in their states and districts, which they never release, is almost always much, much better than any other polling as they know what to ask, how to ask it, and who to sample and survey.

Stay angry, get organized, and get ready to mobilize!

Open thread.



This is the Sound of President Trump’s America

For those unable to listen or unwilling to subject themselves to it, here’s how ProPublica describes the recording (from The Texas Tribune because ProPublica’s server is overwhelmed):

The desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children, separated from their parents one day last week by immigration authorities at the border, makes for excruciating listening. Many of them sound like they’re crying so hard they can barely breathe. They scream “Mami” and “Papá” over and over again, as if those are the only words they know.

The baritone voice of a Border Patrol agent booms above the crying. “Well, we have an orchestra here,” he jokes. “What’s missing is a conductor.”

Then a distraught but determined 6-year-old Salvadoran girl pleads repeatedly for someone to call her aunt. Just one call, she begs anyone who will listen. She says she’s memorized the phone number, and at one point, rattles it off to a consular representative. “My mommy says that I’ll go with my aunt,” she whimpers, “and that she’ll come to pick me up there as quickly as possible.”

An audio recording obtained by ProPublica adds real-life sounds of suffering to a contentious policy debate that has so far been short on input from those with the most at stake: immigrant children. More than 2,300 of them have been separated from their parents since April, when the Trump administration launched its “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which calls for prosecuting all people who attempt to illegally enter the country and taking away the children they brought with them. More than 100 of those children are under the age of 4. The children are initially held in warehouses, tents or big box stores that have been converted into Border Patrol detention facilities.

Much more at the link.

Given the audio above, Secretary Nielsen is obviously a liar:

Stay angry!

Open thread.



First Lady Laura Bush Makes a Statement Against the President’s Policy of Separating Children From Their Parents at the Border

First Lady Laura Bush has a very powerful op-ed against the President’s family separation policy in today’s Washington Post.

On Sunday, a day we as a nation set aside to honor fathers and the bonds of family, I was among the millions of Americans who watched images of children who have been torn from their parents. In the six weeks between April 19 and May 31, the Department of Homeland Security has sent nearly 2,000 children to mass detention centers or foster care. More than 100 of these children are younger than 4 years old. The reason for these separations is a zero-tolerance policy for their parents, who are accused of illegally crossing our borders.

I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.

Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. We also know that this treatment inflicts trauma; interned Japanese have been two times as likely to suffer cardiovascular disease or die prematurely than those who were not interned.

Americans pride ourselves on being a moral nation, on being the nation that sends humanitarian relief to places devastated by natural disasters or famine or war. We pride ourselves on believing that people should be seen for the content of their character, not the color of their skin. We pride ourselves on acceptance. If we are truly that country, then it is our obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents — and to stop separating parents and children in the first place.

People on all sides agree that our immigration system isn’t working, but the injustice of zero tolerance is not the answer. I moved away from Washington almost a decade ago, but I know there are good people at all levels of government who can do better to fix this.

Recently, Colleen Kraft, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics, visited a shelter run by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. She reported that while there were beds, toys, crayons, a playground and diaper changes, the people working at the shelter had been instructed not to pick up or touch the children to comfort them. Imagine not being able to pick up a child who is not yet out of diapers.

Twenty-nine years ago, my mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, visited Grandma’s House, a home for children with HIV/AIDS in Washington. Back then, at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, the disease was a death sentence, and most babies born with it were considered “untouchables.” During her visit, Barbara — who was the first lady at the time — picked up a fussy, dying baby named Donovan and snuggled him against her shoulder to soothe him. My mother-in-law never viewed her embrace of that fragile child as courageous. She simply saw it as the right thing to do in a world that can be arbitrary, unkind and even cruel. She, who after the death of her 3-year-old daughter knew what it was to lose a child, believed that every child is deserving of human kindness, compassion and love.

In 2018, can we not as a nation find a kinder, more compassionate and more moral answer to this current crisis? I, for one, believe we can.

It is important to remember that the US is a signatory to both the 1961 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 New York Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, as well as the US-Canada Agreement Covering Third-Country Asylum Claims at the Border of 2002 and the Refugee Act (Immigration and Naturalization Act) of 1980. All of these have the force of US law within the United States.

Stay angry!

Open thread!



Breaking: Paul Manafort’s Bail is Revoked and He is Sent to Jail Pre Trial

Ali Velshi has the details:

From The New York Times:

A federal judge revoked Paul Manafort’s bail and sent him to jail on Friday to await trial, citing new charges that Mr. Manafort had tried to influence the testimony of two of the government’s witnesses after he had been granted bail.

Gonna be a long Friday as we wait to see if a Cohenoscopy has been scheduled for today.

Open thread!



America is Not a Theocracy and Attorney General Sessions and The White House Press Secretary Don’t Know Anything About the Bible

As BettyC mentioned earlier, both Attorney General Sessions and Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, decided to take their religion out and wave it around in everyone’s faces today. This was done to justify the change in policy that the President, via Attorney General Sessions, made in 2017 that children will be separated from their parents if they either present themselves for asylum or enter the US without documentation. The White House Press Secretary defaulted to the more generic argument that throughout the Bible it is asserted that laws should be followed.  The Attorney General decided to (mis)apply Romans 13 to justify the unjustifiable.

Pat Robertson’s pet Trump spirituality translator for evangelical Christians, David Brody, was dispatched to provide support.

Given that Jeff Sessions is a small minded, racist, bigoted, homophobic, xenophobic, unreconstructed Confederate, and anyone who is trying t0 profit off of conning evangelical Christians into believing that the President is both a man of devout faith and a tool of the Lord, probably isn’t much better, it should be no surprise that they went with the favorite biblical exhortation of those who were pro-slavery prior to the Civil War.

Fortunately the Bible provides believers with very, very specific instructions about how to treat strangers.

Mentioned no fewer than 36 times throughout Scripture, the Torah’s exhortations on the treatment of the stranger often appear with a companion explanation: Heed the stranger’s treatment because “you know the feelings of a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 23:9).

And the over thirty-six commandments (yep, there are more than 10…) about how to treat strangers bears directly on the immigration debates in the US in 2018. Especially for those like the Attorney General, David Brody, and the White House Press Secretary who cite scripture to cover their wickedness. (emphasis mine below)

In his just published book, Justice for All: How the Jewish Bible Revolutionized Ethics, biblical scholar Jeremiah Unterman writes that “…it is startling that the legal portions of the Torah contain more than fifty references to the resident stranger….”

Unterman examines the multitude of general admonitions not to harm the stranger, along with the positive exhortations to provide the stranger with basic food and clothing, with prompt payment of wages, and with legal justice. He points out that quite a few of these verses about the treatment of the stranger are juxtaposed with statements about God. The Torah understands the care of the stranger as imitatio dei, the imitation of God through the observance of the commandments. Unterman sees this as part of the ethical revolution of the Bible and notes that “nowhere in the ancient world is such a divine concern for the alien evinced.” He concludes with a most timely reminder that these laws should serve “to eliminate any shred of xenophobia.”

A striking phrase courses through the laws of the stranger that provides another powerful motivation for fulfilling these commandments ⏤ that appeals to believers and unbelievers alike:

“You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt”(Ex.22:20).

“You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the soul of the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Ex.23:9).

“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Lev.19:34).

“You too must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Deut.10:19)

“You shall not hate an Egyptian, for you were stranger in his land” (Deut.23:8).

“Always remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore do I enjoin you to observe this commandment” (Deut. 24:22)

So what does this all really mean. What exactly is a stranger? There are two types and they’re both protected by over fifty biblical commandments (emphasis mine below):

Ancient Israel was acquainted with two classes of strangers, resident aliens and foreigners who considered their sojourn in the land more or less temporary. The latter were referred to as zarim (זָרִים) or nokhrim (נָכְרִים), terms generally applied to anyone outside the circle the writer had in view (e.g., Ex. 21:8; 29:33). They retained their ties to their original home and sought to maintain their former political or social status. On occasion they came as invaders (II Sam. 22:45–46; Obad. 11). More often they entered the land in the pursuit of trade and other commercial ventures. The usual laws were not applicable to them, and they were protected by folk traditions concerning the proper treatment of strangers (cf. Job 31:32) and by special conventions resulting from contractual arrangements between the Israelites and their neighbors (cf. I Kings 20:34). In the legislation of Deuteronomy, an Israelite may charge a foreigner usury though he may not do so to a fellow Israelite (Deut. 23:21), and the septennial remission of debts does not apply to the debts of foreigners (Deut. 15:3). On the other hand, barred from the cult (Ex. 12:43), the foreigner was also not bound by the ritual laws, and it was permissible to sell him animals that had died a natural death (Deut. 14:21). The fact that Deuteronomy includes a special prohibition against foreigners’ ascending the throne (Deut. 17:15) and that Solomon specifically requested that God listen to their prayers (I Kings 8:41) may indicate the important position some foreigners occupied during the age of the monarchy.

In contrast with the foreigner, the ger (גֵּר), the resident alien, lived more or less permanently in his adopted community. Like the Arabic jār, he was “the protected stranger,” who was totally dependent on his patrons for his well-being. As W.R. Smith noted, his status was an extension of that of the guest, whose person was inviolable, though he could not enjoy all the privileges of the native. He, in turn, was expected to be loyal to his protectors (Gen. 21:23) and to be bound by their laws (Num. 15:15–16).

Since all of the landed property belonged to Israelites (cf. Lev. 25:23–24), the gerim were largely day laborers and artisans (Deut. 24: 14–15; cf. 29:10). Both the Book of the Covenant which classed them among those who were dependent (Ex. 23:12) and the Decaloguewhich referred to them as “your stranger” (gerkha; Ex. 20:10; cf. Deut. 5:14) attest their inferior position in Israelite society. While a few acquired wealth (cf. Lev. 25:47), most of them were poor and were treated as the impoverished natives. Thus, they were permitted to share in the fallen fruit in the vineyard (Lev. 19:10), the edges of the field, and the gleanings of the harvest (Lev. 23:22; see also Poor, Provisions *for). Like the other poor folk they were also granted a share in the tithe of the third year (Deut. 14:29) and the produce of the Sabbatical Year (Lev. 25:6).

Since the foreigners’ defenselessness made them vulnerable, the Israelites were frequently reminded of God’s special concern for the weak (Ex. 22:21–22; cf. Deut. 10:17–19) and were enjoined not to molest them (Ex. 22:20; cf. Jer. 7:6). They were not to be abused (Deut. 24:14) and were to receive equal treatment before the law (Deut. 1:16; cf. 24:17; 27:19). In case of accidental homicide, the cities of refuge were open to them as well (Num. 35:15), for there was to be “one standard for stranger and citizen alike” (Lev. 24:22). Moreover, the Israelites were enjoined to be especially solicitous of the welfare of the ger and to befriend him as one of their own, since they could recall the sufferings of their own people in the land of Egypt (Lev. 19:34; cf. Deut. 10:19).

It is a sad statement on the character of the Attorney General, David Brody, and the White House Press Secretary that the Bronze Age, tribal religion that forms the foundation for their own spiritual belief were far more evolved and far more humane than these three degenerate examples of the American conservative movement, conservative Christianity, and the Republican Party in 2018.

Stay angry!

Open thread!