Saturday, June 16, 2018
Children on the Border: Pawns in the War on Illegal Immigration
Well, the short answer is "no". First, this really isn't a "Trump Policy". Separating families has been a long standing policy of suspected illegal immigrants or (and this the key part), immigration officials have reason to believe the children are not who they're identified as. That is, they aren't the children of the individuals who claim to be their parents. A number of individuals attempting to cross the border illegally have been falsely told that if they come with children, they will be given a pass by Border Agents. Of course, that's simply not true; they're treated just like everyone else. Secondly, many of the children, especially ages ten and up, are sent here unaccompanied; often with the aid of drug dealers, with their families paying out some serious money---often up to US$10,000 per individual for the privilege.
So, what happens when these individuals are caught? Typically, the family is kept together until they are placed in a holding a facility where any adult males are separated. Children are transferred to a Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facility within the first 72 hours (ORR is part of the Health and Human Services Department). The children are held until it can be determined that they are, in fact, legitimately accompanied by their parents and/or if there are any adult relatives legally living in the country who could take them while their parents are processed (the parents are kept notified). If not, then they're placed with a temporary foster care home.
The problem with this latter procedure is that there simply isn't enough available Hispanic speaking homes. In fact, the system has far exceed capacity to the point where many government officials are declaring it "broken" like so many other government programs. As of June 2018, some 11,000 children were being held in ORR facilities awaiting placement. President Obama's solution was simply to release the children back to the parents, who were released together while awaiting a hearing before a federal judge. Obviously, few if any ever showed up in what was called "catch and release" program, which was a tremendous waste of resources.
However, it should be pointed out that very few of the children are separated or, if so, for very long. 60% were released back to their parents while 99% were released to a close relative. As for those who were contacted by ORR and didn't respond, officials point out these individuals appear to have purposefully disappeared and choice not to respond. One can only guess at their reasons. Meanwhile, for the small percentage who were sent here unaccompanied or for whom their nearest relatives have chosen not to take them, immigration officials are seeking permission to place these children in transition care housing while efforts to find their parents or relatives continue. Obviously it's a sad situation to see these young children used as pawns or abandoned by their families.
Meanwhile, through this process, the adults are proceed through the criminal justice system. First time offenders are usually released fairly quickly (assuming they wave trial and plead guilty). Many federal judges hear over a 1000 cases a day; often lined up en-masse and proceed assembly line style. The adults are then usually reunited with their children (which, by this time, have been verified), and immediately loaded on a bus and deported back across the border. If they are caught a second time with their children in tow, the results are generally much more severe with the parents being sentenced to some jail time.
Therefore, there has been and continues to be problems within the system for quickly reuniting the children. This is especially compounded by children sent here unaccompanied by the parents or close relatives. In many, if not the majority of cases, those claiming to be their parents were simply matched up along the way by those working for the drug cartels. Very often they know nothing about the children except their first names, which makes finding their actual parents (who are obviously trying to evade authorities) difficult at best. As for the children, the odds are better for the older ones (though many have been instructed by drug couriers and/or their parents not to say a word under threat of violence befalling them or their family). Again, we have children being used as pawns.
There's another point we need to examine, which is being ignored by the corporate media. The parents or those bring these children here illegally, regardless of their ages, are committing a criminal act. It's no different than bringing your child with you while you shoplift or try to rob a store. Do you think the police or court system are going to allow you to keep your child with you in jail? If you get sentenced to prison, do you think you're going to have a special cell just for you and your offspring? Do you think that husbands and wives are going to be kept in the cell, let along even the same prison complex? They'll be lucky if they're prisons are in the same state!
Trying to sneak into the United States without proper documentation is a federal crime. It's serious business. Those who try to use these children as a free pass or some sort of legal shield are making a grave mistake, not just legally, but morally. If these individuals want to come to America to seek a better life, fine. We have no problem with that. All we ask is that they do it legally. They can start by applying for a "green card" or work permit and go from there. By trying to come illegally, they are not just jeopardizing their chances of legal admission at some point, but possible deportation six months or 20 years down the road. Is that worth it?
Another aspect to consider is that while the Liberal Left scream and yell about how illegal immigrants are handled by the US Justice System, let's consider for a moment how US citizens (or anyone else for that matter) would be treated if the situation was reversed. Those entering Mexico illegally for any reason risk literally life and limb. In some situations, it's not uncommon for the local police to rob and beat suspected "undocumented" individuals. According to one civil rights organization, the Washington Office on Latin America, those fleeing their home countries in Central and South America, and pass through Mexico are preyed upon by corrupt politicians, law enforcement, and, naturally, drug cartels.
Some of these survivors have reported severe physical abuse, no food or fire wood, no money and so forth (all of it stolen or paid out in bribes). A few have reported that gang rapes, kidnapping for ransom, and murder are common, and why not? Think being separated from your children for a few weeks is bad and placed in air conditioned or heated housing is bad? Being given showers, clean indoor plumbing, amble food and something to drink, even medical care is "abusive" or "unfair"? How about having your children taken away and sold? Gang raped and turned out as forced prostitutes? Forced to work as virtual slaves? Does that sound better? Because that's what happens to illegal immigrants south of the border. Who are they going to report it too---the same people committing the crimes? Those who are arrested are tossed in one of Mexico's infamous local jails, often without trial and held until some type of "bail" (bribe) is paid. Filth and violence seems to be the two overriding descriptions.
For the luckless few who end up in a Mexican federal prison, it's downright brutal; medieval to the point of being equivalent to a Turkish or Russian prison! Inmates get a lice infected mattress and a very well worn prison uniform (some have claimed that they were still caked with feces and blood stains). Meals are a bare minimum; not above starvation rations. Anything more, and the prisoners family has to pay for it out of pocket. Violence rules inside the prison walls. The guards are there just to keep the prisoners inside, and to take bribes. Our jails and prisons are considered almost resorts by comparison, which is why drug gang members aren't in the least bit afraid or deterred.
The Trump administrations separation of families at the border, explained
Treatment of immigrants in Mexico much worse than any other country
How Mexico Treats Illegal Aliens