No End to Trump/Pence Regime’s Depraved and Deliberate Cruelty Toward Children of Immigrants

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The Trump/Pence regime’s sadistic inhumanity toward immigrants is at its ugliest in its treatment of children coming across the southern border. The numbers are staggering—the regime claims to be holding 11,800 minors in custody, the majority of them teenagers who risked their lives to get to the border on their own. Three thousand of those children in custody came with their parents or guardians but were torn from them the moment they were arrested—and scattered to holding pens all over the country. Government officials now admit 100 of those children taken from their parents are under the age of 5!

In the face of national and international outrage and protests, a U.S. district judge in southern California issued an order on June 26 giving the government 30 days to reunite the families they have separated, and until July 10 to reunite parents with children under age 5. Department of Homeland Security officials are now claiming the records linking children to their parents either disappeared or were destroyed, while Health and Human Services reported it will only be able to reunite half of those 100 children under the age of 5 by the court deadline. Why? Because they cannot find the parents of 38 of those children! The U.S. has already deported the parents of 19 of these small children back to their countries of origin. And the parents of 19 more had been released from custody but now cannot be located.

And now the government has redefined “reunification” to mean placement of separated children with any long-term sponsor—whether with their parents, another family member living in the U.S., a family member residing in their home country or in a long-term foster care setting. And it must not be forgotten that as long as the Trump/Pence regime continues its “zero tolerance” policy—criminalizing every family that crosses the border—any reuniting of separated immigrant families will be done within the prisons or internment camps the government is preparing to erect on military bases across the country.

“[My son] is not the same since we were reunited”

More is coming to light about the conditions that children and parents are being forced to endure and the damage being done by the Trump/Pence regime. A lawsuit just brought against the government by Democratic attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia included over 900 pages of declarations, including personal accounts of the harm done to parents and children by this regime. One woman, separated from her 1-year-old son for 3 months before she could get him back from custody, said:

...he continued to cry when we got home and would hold on to my leg and would not let me go. When I took off his clothes he was full of dirt and lice. It seemed like they had not bathed him the 85 days he was away from us. [My son] is not the same since we were reunited. I thought that, because he is so young he would not be traumatized by this experience, but he does not separate from me. He cries when he does not see me. That behavior is not normal. In El Salvador he would stay with his dad or my sister and not cry. Now he cries for fear of being alone.

Eight children who were separated from their families and held in detention were interviewed. As told by the interviewer:

The place was freezing... the girls placed their mats in the floor very close to one another, since there was not enough space to fit them more comfortably. Girls as young as 3 years old were detained in this place and without their mothers. [One girl, age 14] felt hungry most of the time she was there because the food they provided her wasn’t good in quality or quantity. She couldn’t sleep through the night.

And a woman separated from her two children from May till the end of June wrote that she was kept in a cell with nearly 50 other mothers. She said, “The officers told them that they could not eat because they were asking about their children. There was a pregnant woman who fainted from hunger.”

All this is not a matter of “incompetence.” The Trump/Pence fascist regime knows what it is doing—the horror it is creating for millions of immigrants is no accident. Dehumanizing those they have declared “unwanted” and “criminal” is the policy of a regime that has made ethnic cleansing a core element in achieving their fascist program.

When Your Government Conducts DNA Tests on Immigrant Children...

In yet another ominous move, the government plans to use DNA testing on all of the separated children now in custody, to be compared with that of the parent before they will be reunited. Immigrant rights advocates and civil rights attorneys objected immediately. How are children with no legal guardian in any position to object to this invasion of their privacy and violation of their legal rights, and that of their parents as well? And who believes that Homeland Security will not hang on to this invasive information on a distinct section of the people in this country they consider a ‘danger’? Professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law made this observation, reported by NBCNews: “ To apply it categorically to an entire population of people who have been separated by the government—that is a new addition to what the Trump administration is doing to immigration law enforcement.” Establishing a different set of laws to be applied solely to a separate group of children and their families captured at the border is a serious step toward a new fascist order.

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