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Members of a Central American family traveling with a caravan of migrants prepare to cross the border and apply for asylum in the United States in Tijuana in April. Photo: Hans-Maximo Musielik/Associated Press

Children victimized by Trump’s cruel immigration policy

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By Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018 Viewpoints 32

I am worried for our country. There are a dozen reasons that worry me, from our laissez-faire attitude about gun violence to the chickens we now send to China for processing. I worry about crops rotting in the fields because migrant workers are too afraid of ICE to show up and pick them. I worry about the decline of our health care system and tax breaks for millionaires and coal tar running into our streams, but mostly I worry about the children of immigrants. I wake up daily from nightmares featuring these kids, no doubt brought on by an obsessive need to watch news stories about their plight.

If you ask most people, you will find that many of them are not far removed from the countries of their ancestors. It has only been two generations since my Jewish grandparents on my father’s side fled the pogroms of Eastern Europe. My maternal grandmother left French-speaking Canada two generations ago and my maternal great-grandparents came here from Ireland four generations back. My daughter is an emigrant from Ethiopia, though she became a citizen four months after her arrival.

It is mere luck that any of us were born here and not in a gang-riddled villages in Nicaragua or El Salvador or Honduras. Imagine fleeing for your life, walking, yes WALKING, about 1,500 miles with only the clothes on your back and a rucksack with a few minor possessions. Once here, ICE agents bind your hands with zip ties and steal your children.

I have heard people say, “What do they expect? They are here illegally.” Questionable moral compass aside, there is only one response to that statement: “It is not illegal to ask for asylum if you come to our border and do not cross over illegally. Even if you did come in illegally, it is not a felony but a misdemeanor. Shall we start taking away the children of jaywalkers as well? After all, that is also a misdemeanor.”

Immigrants stand in line for tickets at a bus station after they are released from a Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Texas. Photo: Eric Gay/Associated Press

Yes, I am being glib, but make no mistake, this is a crisis. According to the New York Times, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, cited an observation by the president of the American Association of Pediatrics that locking children up separately from their parents constituted “government-sanctioned child abuse.”

President Trump is blaming the Democrats, which is absurd because the separation of children from their parents was introduced by Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions on May 7 of this year (“If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.” — Sessions).

The president has also said that he would reverse the situation if the Democrats give him the money to build his ridiculous wall between Mexico and America (Fun fact: According to the Pew Research Center, more Mexicans immigrants are now leaving our country than coming into it.).

On a completely existential plane, we need to ask ourselves if we want to be the country reviled by the rest of the world for treating people like “animals,” a word used by our barely literate leader when referring to desperate people hoping for a better life. Let us never forget that Hitler used similarly derogatory terms to brand Jews, calling them “animals” and “rats.”

The chief architect behind the separation of families is Trump’s advisor, white nationalist Stephen Miller, who recently admitted that it was a “simple decision” to enact this policy. A policy in which children are being flown around the country and put into camps. A policy in which they are not allowed to have human contact, as hugging has been disallowed. A policy in which it has become the onus of poverty-stricken asylum seekers to find their kids with minimal, if any, documentation as to where their stolen children have been warehoused.

According to the Los Angeles Times, these detained children are traumatized and several have attempted suicide. Think about that. Protocols in our country are ruining families and causing kids to want to kill themselves. Where is the country that once welcomed tired and huddled masses?

Child cries as her parent is taken into custody. Reporter Eye

Many of us are overwhelmed by the need to constantly fight the insanity of a government that did not win the popular vote and flaunts our Constitution at every turn. However, local communities are starting to demonstrate against the separation of these immigrant families. Senators and members of Congress are starting to investigate and speak out. Call them. You can find your Congressperson through this tracker.

Other options to help are at the bottom of this opinion piece from the New York Times.

Don’t forget your history. The people who pretended not to see the ash falling onto their villages were just as complicit as those filling the ovens at concentration camps during World War II. We cannot be those people. We must safeguard our democratic rights before they are whittled away to dust.


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32 Comments   Add Comment

  1. Tom S says:

    What proof do you have that Stephen Miller is a White Supremacist?

      1. Tom S says:

        None of those articles prove he is a white supremesist.
        This claim alone diminishes the impact of your article.
        You are aware that previous administrations have put many children in harms way?

  2. Rochelle O'Gorman says:

    Tom, those articles do prove my point. Miller is a well known white supremacist. Regardless of whether you choose to believe this, our government is stealing children from their parents and putting them into cages in locked facilities. If you are okay with this policy not much I can say will change your mind. Quibbling about MIller is secondary to reuniting these kids with their families.

    1. Tom S says:

      Is this the first you heard of this?
      Previous administration have essentially done the same thing, did you express your outrage then?
      My point is simply that when people are label (in the way you did Stephen Miller) with anecdotal evidence, and claim it to be fact, the validity of your argument is diminished.

  3. Donagh says:

    The comments above show yet again that the only thing that conservatives have is sociopathic ”whataboutism.” Once the author showed through actual facts that their first argument isn’t true, they then drop that and move on to whataboutism about Obama, Clinton, Soros or whomever. It’s ok to do horrible things because someone else allegedly did it. Doesn’t matter if actual facts show that their whatabotusm is a lie, they just move on to another one. Classic propagandist behavior.
    If you read the comments posted on those old articles their were “liberals” that vilified the administration for what happened back then. Eye-roll.
    Yesterday 45* said Obama was weak on illegal immigration and that’s why we need him. The whataboutism being presented here is that Obama’ was just as horrible as 45* towards illegal immigrants. You can’t have it both ways. So pick one.

    1. Rochelle O'Gorman says:

      Donagh, I said much the same thing in my rely. It seems such a distraction to the point at hand — we are locking up babies. And we need to stop doing so.

      1. Jim Balfanz says:

        “We” are not locking up babies. They are separated in a humane way until they can be reunited with their legitimate parents – after the parents go through their “due process hearing.” What has been determined is that many of these children have been trafficked by gangs and drug or sex slavery thugs, and are not even being brought to the border by their own parents. It will take some time AWAY from those thugs, for the child to become aware that they are now safely away from their “captors” and will be able to tell the truth about their individual situation (s).

        There is so much more to this situation than what the bleeding hearts want to admit….

        But, the fact remains that not a single one of you spoke up when it was happening under previous Presidents…

    2. Tom S says:

      None of those articles prove he is a white supremesist.
      This claim alone diminishes the impact of your article.

  4. Rochelle O'Gorman says:

    Tom, I do know of these past stories, but they are nothing compared to the wide scale insanity now experienced by immigrants. Obama never warehoused babies stolen from mothers at the border. Interestingly, you use a maneuver often frequented by members of the GOP. The issue at hand is often sidestepped and one hears, “but what about…”

    Nothing in my article was made up, no matter how many times you repeat it. Also, it is an opinion piece. If you don’t like it, write one of your own. There, the ball is in your court. Why don’t you prove to me that Stephen Miller is NOT a white supremacist, because he has been cited as such many times and in many news outlets. Why don’t you find a source proving that he loves people of color? (However, the very fact that he has designed a policy to keep all people with brown skin from crossing the border should be evidence enough.)

  5. Tom S says:

    I do not have the time to carry this so,I hope you are doing more than an opinion piece if you are so outraged.
    I am not a “GOPer”, so you can stop with the labeling.

  6. Jim Balfanz says:

    The media, politicians, and those with Trump derangement syndrome become more and more outraged over the Trump administration’s decision to FOLLOW the existing law(s) by detaining and prosecuting immigrants illegally crossing the border.

    Lost in the debate is any acknowledgement that President Obama’s administration also used detention facilities.

    Current U.S. immigration laws, when enforced, have the consequence of temporarily separating families that arrive with children into separate detention facilities in order to prosecute the adults. The policy of prosecuting immigrants for crossing the border illegally has been in place for multiple administrations. The Obama administration prosecuted half a million illegal immigrants and similarly separated families in the process. So did the Bush administration. Personal accounts from immigration lawyers tell a tale of Obama being equally concerned about unaccompanied minors traveling to the border and wanting to create a deterrent.

    Photos of border detention facilities from the Obama-era, taken during 2014, look nearly identical to the ones taken during the Trump era. You don’t have to search very hard to see them.

    This entire “dust up,” is nothing more than the media and the Democrat politicians (and those with TDS) doing everything they can to AVOID the truth about the worst political corruption scandal in U.S. history.

    Where were all of you who are so CONCERNED NOW, about this issue when it was being done during the previous administrations – including Barack Obama’s?

    The Trump derangement syndrome (TDS) is so bleeping evident, and you who are participating in it, need to get medical help. Period.

    1. Phil Johnson says:

      Applying for asylum is legal. Border officials are making it hard by blocking access to people who are trying to do that.

      While I voted for Obama twice, I did not like his deportation policies, and I said so.

    2. Joseph Method says:

      https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/immigration-border-crisis/fact-check-did-obama-administration-separate-families-n884856:

      “The idea that this is simply a continuation of an Obama-era practice is “preposterous,” said Denise Gilman, director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas Law School. “There were occasionally instances where you would find a separated family — maybe like one every six months to a year — and that was usually because there had been some actual individualized concern that there was a trafficking situation or that the parent wasn’t actually the parent.”

      Once custody concerns were resolved, “there was pretty immediately reunification,” Gilman told NBC News. “There were not 2,000 kids in two months — it’s not the same universe,” she added.

      The Trump administration separated 1,995 children from 1,940 adults from April 19 to May 31, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said Friday, a period in which the “zero tolerance” policy was in effect.

  7. Chris Thomas says:

    DNC Agenda
    Plan A: Russia Collusion!!! That’ll do it…
    Plan B: Obstruction! Damn. Thought we had him at collusion.
    Plan C: Stormy! Maybe sex will get his people to turn. So what if it didn’t work in the general election.
    Plan D: A significant issue like the economy?? Better off hanging our hat on Stormy…
    Plan D: KIDS! That’s the ticket. What?.. He just signed something that will keep families together??? Son of a….

    1. Jim Balfanz says:

      …bitch…. LOL
      Great response Chris Thomas.

  8. Phil Johnson says:

    Hi, Rochelle.

    Thank you for your incisive, well documented article. You have a big heart and are not in denial about the cruel, horrific, disgraceful, anti-immigrant policy Donald Trump has created and implemented through his “Christian” AG, Jeff Sessions. (The United Methodist Church that Sessions belongs to has chastised him for trying to justify his inhumane actions by referring to the Bible.) This Trump administration policy flies in the face of our national heritage of accepting people from other countries, giving them a chance to make a living, and making them part of our country and culture.

    It is ironic that some people whose ancestors were immigrants (like Trump) are now so anti-immigrant. My maternal grandfather, Michael Finnegan, immigrated to New York City in the 1800s when potato crops failed in Ireland. My paternal great-grandfather Christian Johnson settled in Minnesota in the 1800s after coming to the US when family farmers in Norway could no longer make a living. They and their family members became productive citizens in the United States. Mexican and other Latino immigrants currently work at a multitude of jobs that fuel our economy—jobs that most people in this country do not want to do. And large numbers of their sons and daughters are going to college here.

    Keep standing up for the humane treatment of people who are willing to go through great hardship to escape violence and death in their countries of origin. They are looking to us to find refuge here and to have the opportunity to make a living for their families, just as my ancestors did.

    P.S. As a Californian (who lived in the Berkshires for over 10 years) I am well aware that Stephen Miller from Santa Monica, California is anti-immigrant and racist. His high school classmates were aware of this too. He is a driving force behind Trump’s cruel, anti-immigrant policy.

    1. Jim Balfanz says:

      How about those people who are willing to go through the LEGAL steps to become citizens of our country? Why no compassion for them taking the longer, but LEGAL steps to become legitimate citizens? My grandparents immigrated – legally – from Sweden, Germany and France. They got nothing from our government. They went to work – taking whatever jobs they could get and learned ENGLISH to enable them to improve their employment opportunities; they did it all the legal way.

      The polls of LEGAL immigrants regarding this issue is so overwhelmingly AGAINST allowing ILLEGALS to “jump the line.” Check it out.

      Now, every time there is an important matter that is going to REALLY show the TRUTH about what the Democrat politicians have been/are doing, bingo! – up comes the emotional cries about separating children. COME ON MAN! You, with TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome), need to do your homework.

      “But, but, but, it is all Trump’s fault,” say you with TDS.

      The Russian collusion fallacy is causing you all to come up with another way to keep you motivated with your sick hatred of a duly elected president.

      And, you are even more deranged than you were on November 7, 2016.

      Go figure.

      1. Phil Johnson says:

        Yes, my ancestors who immigrated to the US followed the law and became citizens. They got off the boat at Ellis Island. But in recent years the US Congress (Republicans and Democrats) has not agreed on a plan to fix the broken immigration process at the Mexican border, which should include a path to citizenship for immigrants.

        And now people fleeing violence and death in Central American countries are being blocked by US border officials from applying for asylum, which is their legal right according to US law and international law.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/us-border-officials-are-illegally-turning-away-asylum-seekers-critics-say/2017/01/16/f7f5c54a-c6d0-11e6-acda-59924caa2450_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7c1fdfacde35

        “Migrants have been told by U.S. border agents that the daily quota for asylum cases has been reached or that a visa is required for asylum seekers, a statement that runs contrary to law, immigration advocates say.

        “A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Michael Friel, said that there has been “no policy change” affecting asylum procedures, which are based on international law aimed at protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable and persecuted people. And ‘we don’t tolerate any kind of abuse’ by U.S. border officials, he said.

        “The United States has long adhered to international laws and conventions allowing people to seek asylum on grounds that they are being persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, political beliefs or other factors. If a Border Patrol agent encounters a U.S.-bound migrant without ­legal papers and the person ‘expresses fear of being returned to their home country, our officers are required to process them for an interview with an asylum officer,’ said Friel.”

  9. Rochelle O'Gorman says:

    Thank you Phil Johnson. I appreciate your compassion and your diligence in your responses.

  10. Philip Johnson says:

    You’re welcome, Rochelle.

    Keep on keeping on . . .

  11. Phil Johnson says:

    Confirmation.

  12. Phil Johnson says:

    “President Donald Trump, under pressure from angry members of his own party, signed on Wednesday an executive order that is meant to keep families together at the border, halting a policy he instituted earlier this year.”

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/trump-says-he-ll-sign-order-stopping-separation-families-border-n885061

    Because of people like us standing up and opposing this horrific policy, Trump did away with it. He’s worried about the impact on the midterm elections.

    We won this battle.

    1. Jim Balfanz says:

      It was not President Trump who “instituted the policy of separation.” He ordered his immigration people to follow the existing law/policy that was established before he became President. No amount of twisting the facts will alter the truth. ….

      And, where were each of you when it was happening under the Obama and other administrations?

      1. Philip Johnson says:

        Show me the documentation that proves that the policy for separating immigrant families and children was instituted prior to Trump. It was not.

        At any rate Trump just reversed this policy after being urged to do so by Republicans in Congress, who are worried that it might cost them their seats in the midterm elections.

        I opposed the deportation policy of Obama. He was known as the Deporter-in-Chief.

  13. Rochelle O'Gorman says:

    Now we have to win the war. I am living on the hope that the midterm elections turn things around. I hate what our country has become and I fear for the tide of nationalism spreading across Europe.

    1. Jim Balfanz says:

      If “nationalism spreading across Europe” means implementing immigration laws that allow anyone, for any reason to simply walk across their nation’s borders and expect to be treated like a legal citizen, is to be “feared,” then you really do not believe in any country having the right to determine their own existence, by establishing laws that treat illegals as they should be treated – as illegals.

      Stay tuned as the people of Germany and other countries will deciding on the leadership of their respective countries, due to the immigration situation.

      It was either Norway or Sweden that recently rounded up several thousand immigrants and shipped them back to where they came from. Seems as though that country (I can’t remember which one it was) is tired of having their women and girls raped for the simple reason that they are “infidels.”

  14. Rochelle O'Gorman says:

    You actually support my point. Many of the people deported from Norway were done so because of a rising tide of nationalism. I can understand why Norway wanted to deport criminals, but they are also deporting vulnerable families that came to the country seeking refuge.
    And you do know that the rumors about Muslims raping infidels is an Internet rumor, don’t you? Your posting is just another example of an “us versus them” mentality that serves no one.

    1. Jim Balfanz says:

      Internet rumor about Muslims raping infidels???? I’ve seen many pictures and read many stories in various MSM outlets that were very descriptive of why those women and young girls were raped…. And Norway deported them because they had had enough of their efforts to help “refugees” acclimate to a peaceful situation, but were responded to with outright contempt and more and more crime. Call it what you want, but more and more countries are realizing that they made a major mistake in accepting so many Muslims who had no intention of assimilating into their country’s culture and following their laws.

      The good thing about what is going on is that the vast majority of people in this country have recognized that they are being “played” again….

  15. Rosemary S. says:

    I would like to thank Rochelle O’Gorman for her well written and insightful piece. Never before has this country been faced with the immorality that we are dealing with today. People should be shouting from the roof tops against this unbalanced and vicious president. I hope sanity and compassion will return in the near future.

    1. Chris Thomas says:

      Immorality? Really??? Bill Clinton… Monica… Oval Office. Selective recollection, huh? Be that as it may, existing immigration policies have been in place since the 90’s. LONG before Trump was in office. Just when did your outrage surface? Libs won’t be happy until open borders are adopted. Is that your definition of compassion? Thankfully, we’re not going back to catch and release anytime soon.

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