Monday, June 18, 2018

The horror of the Trump 'zero tolerance' policy. Will parents and children ever be reunited?

Trump's child abuse policy
Trump's zero tolerance policy is institutionalized child abuse

This Heartbreaking photo of crying 2yo captures horror of Trump border policy was featured at the web site, newshub.co.nz.

A heart-breaking photo of a two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker crying as her mother is taken into custody has captured the horror of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance policy” towards undocumented immigrants.

The White House announced the policy in April. Any adults who have been referred to Homeland Security for illegal entry into the US now have their children take from them while their cases are adjudicated, a process that can take months or years.

The extraordinary picture was taken by John Moore, a Pulitzer Prize winner and Getty photographer. (Photo credit: Getty)

“As a father myself, this photograph was especially difficult for me to take,” Mr Moore said on Instagram.

“The mother told me they had been traveling for a full month and were exhausted.”

The woman and her daughter had just crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico and were being transported to a US Customs and Border Protection processing centre.

“She was told to set the child down while she was searched. The little girl immediately started crying,” Mr Moore told Getty photography website Foto.

He said the woman and her daughter were taken into custody with a group of about 20 others, mostly women and children.

"I could see on their faces that they had no idea what was about to happen.

“I doubt many of these families knew about the Trump administration’s recent policy on separating parents from children at the border.”

US officials have confirmed that over a six-week period, 1995 children were separated from their parents or legal guardians under its new ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy.

That number equates to 46 children a day.

US President Donald Trump has claimed the family separations are the fault of the opposition Democrats. Numerous news outlets in the US have called this false, including CNN, the New York Times and Pulitzer-winning fact-checking site Politifact.

And before we move on, I’ll bet you didn’t notice my source for the above snippets and photo. The web address ends in “NZ”. That’s New Zealand, folks. Trump keeps racking up the overseas PR points.

What happens once the kids are separated from their parents? Who knows? This is not an administration that practices foresight.

In Tucson court, immigrant parents still left guessing about kids’ whereabouts reports the Daily Star’s Curt Prendergast (titled “Progress lacking in effort to join kids, parents” in the June 17 print version).

The really sad story of the Trump “zero tolerance” keeps getting worse. Under Trump’s policy, children are forcibly removed from their parents. Now we learn that those parents cannot learn the whereabouts of their children. The government either cannot or will not find out where the kids are.

For the 51st time in the last month, a parent wanted to know the whereabouts of her child. And for the 51st time, the authorities in federal court in Tucson did not tell her.

Flor Berillos de Lopez pleaded guilty to crossing the border illegally June 10 near Lukeville with her 15-year-old daughter, who was taken from her by the Border Patrol hours before Berillos’ June 12 hearing at U.S. District Court in Tucson.

“They were separated this morning and she does not know where her child is,” defense lawyer Joe Machado told Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco during an Operation Streamline hearing, a fast-track prosecution program for illegal border crossers.

The exchange came a week after Magistrate Judge Bruce G. MacDonald told federal prosecutor Christopher Lewis to call the agency responsible for the children and report back with a way for parents to know where their children are.

On June 6, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Cosme Lopez said prosecutors in Tucson were working with law enforcement and the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which places children split from their parents in foster care or with family members, to develop a “mechanism” to keep parents informed about their children.

A week later, Lopez said he was “unsure” what was happening with the mechanism.

The Daily Star’s editors have a thing or two to say about the Trump policy and what it says about America in Sunday’s editorial: Trump family separation plan reeks of his failure.

Almost 2,000 children. That is the ongoing human toll of suffering the United States is wreaking on children ripped from their parents because our Congress and president are too feckless to come up with a decent, humane and workable immigration policy.

The cost of our American leaders’ incompetence is being paid in the cries of toddlers taken from their parents and warehoused in federal custody because their families made the desperate calcuation that the real risk of violence, murder or destitution at home was higher than the dangerous journey north from Central America or Mexico.

Is this the United States we want? We say loudly and firmly: No.

President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and anyone who tries to whitewash, downplay or defend this inhumane action is complicit in this outrage.

The estimate is now almost 2,000 children have been separated from their parents by immigration officials and placed in federal custody since the policy started in April. They are housed in large facilities, such as a converted Walmart building, without knowing what’s happening or where their parents are — and their parents don’t know where their children have been taken.

Immigration as a campaign issue, and the demonization of immigrants, are hallmarks of the Trump administration.

And this, traumatizing young children and prosecuting their parents on a federal immigration misdemeanor, if they’re first-time crossers, is their solution.

Read that again: Institutionalized child abuse is the best they could come up with.

Sessions, who has turned to the Bible to justify the policy, has said that any blame to be had for separating families falls on the parents who brought their children into the U.S.

Immigrating is a life-or-death decision for a parent trying to survive and protect their children. Sessions acts as if the parents’ decision was to bring their rowdy kids along to a dinner party uninvited.

Even Trump on Friday tried to pretend his administration’s family separation policy isn’t of its own making, and blamed Democrats.

Trump and Sessions are not the only owners of this humanitarian travesty. The GOP itself is complicit. It demands of itself absolute loyalty to Trump, the cult leader, and now performs political executions on its own members who dare to call out Trump and his minions for what they are.

To get up to date on the punishments meted out to the less Trumpian Republicans, read the report by Jonathan Tamari of The Philadelphia Inquirer: Primary results show the GOP is all in on Trump (reprinted in the Arizona Daily Star, June 17, 2018).

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