People have been outraged by the nearly 1,500 children the government has supposedly lost track of, but it turns out the children may be safer far away from this government’s clutches. This issue nearly detracts from the even more cold blooded, heartless, demonic decision to break up families and criminalize everyone who crosses the US border. This would be an all- time low for the US, if it did not have a long history of mistreating children.
Earlier this month, the US government instituted a policy of jailing everyone who crosses the US southwest border and charging them with a felony. It doesn’t matter if those crossing the border are seeking asylum or just temporary stay in the US. This policy blatantly denies the border crossers their constitutional right to due process.
But worst yet, the US government is taking potential immigrants’ children and shipping them off to detention camps. In some cases they are placed with relatives and friends, but many are just sent to camps. And not only are children being taken, but in many cases, parents have reported that their children have not been returned to them, even after they have been criminalized and served their sentence.
The potential trauma brought as a result of this forced separation for both parent and child is unimaginable. Anyone who has children and temporarily lost track of a child in a public place can recall the temporary panic they felt. Imagine what these parents must feel, especially after they do their time and their children are not returned to them. It’s been reported that some of the children are merely toddlers.
How do people running from political violence or economic deprivation and just trying to live by coming to the US become criminals? It would seem that the real criminals are those who lock them up violating the US Constitution and in violation of the laws of humanity by subjecting the immigrants and their children to “cruel and unusual punishment.”
And the conversation about the missing 1500 revealed that Homeland Security either has had in its custody in 2017, 40,000 children, who they turned over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Forty thousand children is a large number and serves as an indictment of US society, a society that refuses to find room for children and mistreats them as deterrent.
According to immigration lawyer Josie Duffy Rice, well-meaning folks should not ask that the government keep better track of the immigrant children. She tweeted that “You’re asking immigration authorities in TRUMPS AMERICA to BETTER MONITOR UNDOCUMENTED CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES. You don’t want this. ” Adding to the woes of these children is that some of them have been mis-placed so to speak and handed over to people, who have forced them into child labor or sex trafficking.
“I have put in place a zero-tolerance policy for illegal entry on our southwest border. If you cross the border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you. And that child may be separated from you, as required by law,” explained US Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a recent press conference announcing the new policy.
No surprise that Sessions, would be the architect of such a cruel and racist policy. Of course it’s racist, there are no White people waiting in those lines to cross the border.
In his statement, the Attorney General invokes the law as if to say that makes it right.
However, just because a policy is backed by law, does not make it right. In fact this law is downright immoral. And as MLK once said, “an immoral law is no law at all.” Slavery was legal! South African Apartheid was legal. Everything Hitler did in Nazi Germany to suppress the Jews and his dissenters was legal. The separation of slave children from their parents was legal and an acceptable practice. So-called Indian removal was legal. Indian/native children taken forcibly from their parents so they could be re-educated and indoctrinated in the ways of White folks was legal. Working children from sun-up to sundown was legal in the early days of industrialization.
Proving that bullies are really cowards President Trump tried to blame the Democrats for a policy that his administration implemented. Even he does not want to take credit for a policy that he knows is cruel.
But the Democrats are not blameless, because they indeed opened the door for this as the Obama administration set records for deporting so-called illegal immigrants.
Under the Obama administration, which has the dubious distinction of having deported more immigrants than any other administration in recent US history, it became common for immigration authorities to deport parents, leaving children to fend for themselves.
This fact comes as a shock to many, who picture the former president as the epitome of family values. He had been on record denigrating Black families for being overwhelmingly single parent. So it seemed quite hypocritical for his administration to implement such a heartless policy.
Folks locked away in US prisons have more concern for children, than the government and many of the supposedly free populace. This latest move would put a nation of savages to shame. But not the US ruling class and its hateful, narrow, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic population that agrees with it. Even its church is guilty of dragging its feet, it is at best apathetic and indifferent (unless you haven’t arrived on earth yet) and at worst hateful and bigoted.
Speaking of prisons, when it was pointed out that children would be separated from their parents as a result of the new border policy, during a Congressional hearing looking into the missing children, Homeland Security director Kirstjen Nielsen said,” it’s just like we do in[“criminal courts”] every day.”
However the current US penal system should not be used as a model or rationale for separating children from their parents, it too is inhumane. The US justice system is not blind, it incarcerates too many Black and Brown folks, for too long, and for too many petty crimes. In a just and democratic society there would be ways to encourage and enable familial and parental ties. Instead it appears that US penal policy is aimed at breaking up families and further traumatizing the communities from which they come. US prisons have limited visitation times for families, while sometimes making it difficult for children to access parents by moving prisoners all over the country. And exploitative and inflated phone rates make it even more difficult to communicate with loved ones on a regular basis.
And by attempting to equate the US justice system with the DHS’s heartless and illegal policy, Nielsen cynically tried to further justify it ,by implying that human beings running from political violence and poverty are nothing more than common criminals.
Unfortunately this latest bit of inhumanity on the part of the US government is not an aberration, but rather consistent with their modus operandi. The mistreatment of children is US government policy, especially as it relates to the offspring of poor, Brown, Black and other People of Color. The real good folks ought to rise up and oppose this crime and the system that deems it necessary.
justice then peace