America’s Shame: “What About the Children? Part II”

A quick re-cap of the June newsletter Hot Topic “What About the Children?”

  • Sessions issued a “Zero-Tolerance” policy. Per Sessions, this policy is to deter migrant families from crossing the border. Even if families are seeking asylum the parents will be taken to the Customs and Border Protection facility where their children will be removed from their custody. It is unclear how the children are being tracked and/or reunited with the parents once their parents cases are heard and adjudicated.
  • Separate from this issue are the unaccompanied minors. Minors who cross the border without their parents are processed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). It is unclear how the system is tracking their whereabouts once they are released to either foster care or other facilities.
  • Senator Feinstein (D-CA) introduced S.3036 The Keep Families Together Act
Since the June newsletter, an astounding 2,342 children have been forcibly separated from their parents by our government. It should be repeated that this policy is unique to this administration. No other administration has sought to separate children from their parents as a means to deter illegal border crossings.
What is of dire concern are the ages of the children being separated from their parents. Babies as young as 8 months old have been removed from their mothers and sent to one of three “Tender Age” facilities. Doctors visiting shelters in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley said, “the facilities were fine, clean and safe, but the children — who have no idea where their parents are — were hysterical, crying and acting out. Many of them are under age 5, and some are so young they have not yet learned to talk.” – AP News
It’s highly questionable what the parents are being told about their child’s whereabouts once taken from their custody. It’s been reported that parents are told that their children are being taken for a bath and then not returned. This smacks of Nazi history repeating itself. It is also highly concerning how unaccompanied minors as well as those who are undocumented are being treated at secretive facilities unknown to the public. Almost daily there are reports of abuses from within the facilities and also within the foster care homes. – Children Allege Grave Abuse at Migrant Detention Centers
ORR states that children are typically placed on average within 57 days. ICE states that they have set up a hotline for adjudicated immigrants to call to help locate their children. However according to attorneys working for such cases, “there is no formal process or clear protocol for tracking parents and children within the system and that chaotic systems and inadequate record keeping make it difficult even to know which facility a child might be kept at.” – NPR
As of Wednesday June 20, in an attempt to appear the hero for a situation created by this very administration, Trump signed an Executive Order that will stop the separation of families at the border. However, there is no clear protocol for how to reunite the 2,342 children with their parents. The EO also states “to hold families indefinitely until prosecution.” It is illegal to hold children indefinitely in detention centers therefore his EO is in direct violation of the U.S. law.

The backlash to protest Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policy needs to be unabashedly swift and loud. Peaceful civil disobedience is the order of the day and must remain until this STOPS. Call your congressman. Write your congressman. We can not allow children to be separated from their parents at the border nor allow children to be held indefinitely in violation of the Flores Settlement Agreement. Not now. Not ever.

TAKE ACTION NOW

Call the following Senators and Congressman

Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), Senator Collins (R-ME), Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Senator John McCain (R-AZ) Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Call (202) 224-3121 and say, “My name is… I am from the state of…. I implore you to support bill S.3036 The Keep Families Together Act. Despite the recent rescission of Trump’s Zero Tolerance policy that will allow families to stay together, there is no reasonable protocol that states how long the government may hold the family. The EO states, “To hold families indefinitely until prosecution.” Not only does this violate the Flores Settlement agreement, it’s inhumane, unacceptable and a violation of international human rights laws. DO THE RIGHT THING! SUPPORT BILL S.3036. It is IMPERATIVE that you DO NOT support Ted Cruz’s bill to detain children beyond 20 days at the border. Thank you for your time.”

The following Senators from NJ and PA are in support of the Keep Families Together Act:Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)

Call your district representatives who support The Keep Families Together Act at (202) 224-3121 and say “My name is…. I am a constituent from your home state of …. Thank you for supporting The Keep Families Together Act. Despite the recent rescission of Trump’s Zero Tolerance policy that will allow families to stay together, there is no reasonable protocol that states how long the government may hold the family. The EO states, “To hold families indefinitely until prosecution.” Not only does this violate the Flores Settlement agreement, it’s inhumane, unacceptable and a violation of international human rights laws. Again, thank you for your support and your time.”

You can also send this message to your congressman and senators via Resistbot text “resist” to 50409.