Child Separations by the Trump Administration: The Processes (and Inhumanity) Explained

The Trump policy is new.  Separating families of those caught entering illegally is a brand-new practice.  And it's terrible.

There are, however, some misconceptions.  Primarily about asylum seekers.  I was under the impression, based on the media, that asylum seekers' kids were also being separated.  Until I had a conversation with a public affairs officer within US Customs Protection and Border Patrol.

This is how it works:

Families who come into the US through a port of entry who are seeking asylum are vetted by the Border Patrol.  They go through an identification process, a medical screening process, and a criminal background check.  They're fingerprinted.  If they have medical issues, they receive medical attention.  If they have lice, they must go through a delousing process.  The officer explained to me that sometimes people coming in for asylum have children with them who are not theirs and sometimes accompanied with a note from the parent giving the person "permission" to look after their child.  They are required to ensure the kids who are with the people coming in actually belong to those people.  If they are determined not to be the adult's child, that child is treated as an unaccompanied minor and is separated.  If there is an active warrant, the adult is not taken to a detention facility, but to jail, and the child is separated.  Also, if the criminal background check comes back with a hit, the children are also separated from the adult, but in this instance, I unfortunately didn't ask if the adult is immediately deported with the children, because that's what should happen if the children are theirs.

He informed me that once all that is complete and everything checks out, the asylum-seeking family, intact, is taken to a separate facility where they remain together until their immigration hearing.  In El Paso, that facility is on Montana Street.

Tornillo Texas Child Detention Camp | Photo Source:  Reuters

To reiterate, the kids being separated from asylum seekers either:

1.  Aren't their children;
2.  The adult has an active warrant; or
3.  The adult has a criminal record.

We still have the problem of those who enter illegally (i.e. not through a port of entry and seeking asylum) being separated from their children.  They still must go through a similar process with identity and medical screenings.  Those caught the first time are committing a misdemeanor and it's outrageous that they would be separated from their children.  Those caught the second or subsequent times, however, have now committed a felony and it's more understandable if their children are separated from them. 

The logic of the Trump Administration is that if charged with a misdemeanor, they generally don't show up for their court hearings, so instead of releasing them on bond or their own recognizance and hoping they show up for court, they've decided to incarcerate them until their hearing and as a result, their children are separated.  This is the part that's new.  And it's heartbreaking.

We all saw images from 2014 of kids in cages.  Those kids were held in centers because they were unaccompanied minors, for the most part.  Under the Obama administration, they used a catch and release policy.  If a family was caught illegally crossing into the US, the adult (or adults) was processed, given a court date, and then released, with their family members, into the US.

If they could just deport them immediately with the children (assuming they're related), I think it would be more humane, but there's the issue of the country of origin and people cannot be released back to Mexico unless they're Mexican citizens.  The country of origin has to be contacted and arrangements made to return them to their country of origin.

This is a terribly complicated situation and Trump has made it worse from a humanitarian standpoint.  If one is attempting to limit the number of illegal immigrants and ensure enforcement, it would be reasonable to detain a misdemeanor offending adult with their children rather than not with their children, similar to how they're allegedly doing with the asylum seekers.  And an independent agency, such as the International Red Cross, should intervene and be allowed access to kids who are separated to ensure they are being treated well and to address any psychological issues that they're going through. 

Comments

  1. ktchnsnk@US_4GeertAugust 21, 2019 at 8:29 PM

    Shit Deb - I was looking for you on Twatter and see you've been suspended!
    I hope you get back on - but if not, maybe you can tip off your fans if possible about how & where else to be in touch - other than here.

    And I DO consider myself a fan despite a few differences in political preferences.

    Regards,

    Ktchnsnk

    ReplyDelete

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