The Nightmare Hasn’t Stopped

I don’t mean in the “we have to vote the assholes out” sense, either. I was briefly put at ease by articles like these:

The Trump administration insisted it didn’t have a policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. It said that it was merely following the law. And it said “Congress alone can fix” the mess.

It just admitted that all that was nonsense — and that it badly overplayed its hand.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who on Sunday and Monday insisted that this wasn’t an actual policy and that the administration’s hands are tied, will now have to untie them as the White House will reverse the supposedly nonexistent policy. Amid an outcry from Senate Republicans and an emerging promise to fix the problem themselves — just as the White House had demanded — the Trump administration has drafted an executive action to change the policy and keep families united.

President Trump caved to enormous political pressure on Wednesday and signed an executive order meant to end the separation of families at the border by detaining parents and children together for an indefinite period.

“We’re going to have strong — very strong — borders, but we are going to keep the families together,” Mr. Trump said as he signed the order in the Oval Office. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”

Alas, the White House has fully embraced the “troll the libs” mentality of the far-Right. Stephen Miller, one of the main architects behind ripping kids from their families, has said his goal is to create “constructive controversy – with the purpose of enlightenment.” In college, this meant “he wrote op-eds comparing his liberal classmates to terrorists and musing that Osama bin Laden would fit in at his high school.” Other news reports paint him as overjoyed at images of crying children.

“Stephen actually enjoys seeing those pictures at the border,” an outside White House adviser said. “He’s a twisted guy, the way he was raised and picked on. There’s always been a way he’s gone about this. He’s Waffen-SS.”

Caving in so easily is out-of-character for this crew, it had to be a cover or distraction for something else.

The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that calls for all migrants caught crossing the border for the first time to be charged with illegal entry ends up systematically separating families because children can’t go with their parents who are being detained by the US Marshals. But people charged with illegal entry go before a judge within days or weeks of their detention and are usually sentenced to time served for the misdemeanor. There appears to be no set procedure for what happens with parent and child after that. […]

Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who is the lead lawyer suing the Trump administration for separating immigrant parents from their children, said immigration authorities are not reuniting children and parents even after the parents have served their time, which is usually two to three days.

“Kids are just languishing for months in foster families or government facilities,” Gelernt told BuzzFeed News. “If the government is saying there is some process for reuniting them promptly, we haven’t seen it.” Gelernt said one of the ACLU’s plaintiffs had been released after a few days in jail for illegal entry. Eight months later, she still hasn’t been reunited with her child.

The Trump administration has no plan to reunite these children with these parents. All those jails for babies that ignited so much outrage? They still exist, still contain babies separated from their parents, and unless something drastic changes that will remain true for months or even years. Authorities are doing everything they can to bury the evidence of this, like preventing lawmakers from merely talking to these children or shipping these kids to distant parts of the country under cover of night.

After receiving a tip that some of the children were being sent to Cayuga Centers, a foster agency in East Harlem, NY1 obtained video of a group of five girls being escorted to the facility at 12:45 a.m. on Wednesday. About an hour later, they left after being walked to a vehicle with coverings over their heads. Hours later, Governor Cuomo confirmed that the girls had been separated from their parents, and children in their situation are being kept in at least ten facilities across the state. He said the federal government has barred the state from providing additional medical or mental-health services for the children.

But as tragic as that is, at least the policy of separating families is over, right? Well, maybe not.

The parts of this that purport to end family separation are kinda like the Cheshire Cat—fading to nothing when you look closely. It’s administration policy to maintain family unity, “where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.”

Then in the very next sentence, “Congress’s failure to act and court orders have put the Administration in the position of separating alien families to effectively enforce the law.” So keeping families together, by their lights, is not consistent with law.

Nothing in the EO approaches an order to anyone to keep families together. DHS Sec. is ordered to “maintain custody of alien families” in 3a. The word ‘together’ isn’t used. Contrast the language of 3b: “The Secretary shall not, however, detain an alien family *together* when..” […]

Imagine the DHS bureaucrat referring to this order trying to figure out whether a family will be kept together. There’s all the wishy-washy stuff about “available resources” and “where appropriate” and “consistent with law”—lots of risks for a bureaucrat to go that route. …

Then there’s Section 3b, shining like a beacon of clarity in a sea of troubles. When there’s this concern, you “shall not” detain the family together—no exceptions, no qualifications. That one’s easy. Is there a concern? Find a concern, write it down, and your butt is covered.

Trump’s Executive Order has giant loopholes around family separation, and the least charitable reading is that it reinforces Trump’s lie that he’s forced to separate families by the law. Shock surprise, a serial liar and con artist may have lied to distract us all. When we finish congratulating Trump for stopping the brutality he started, he could quietly order Immigration and Customs Enforcement to resume breaking apart families. There’s precedence for the latter; did you know this policy was first tested by Jeff Sessions in 2017, over the span of months? Indeed, a quiet resumption appears to be the real plan.

Adam Schiff: Secretary Nielsen privately told lawmakers the Administration may go back to separating children from their parents. Congress must ensure that NEVER happens. I’m urging the House Appropriations Committee to prevent funds from ever being used to separate families entering the US.

This is in addition to everyday inhuman acts done by US border officials.

Children held at Shiloh Treatment Center, a government contractor south of Houston that houses immigrant minors, have described being held down and injected, according to the federal court filings. The lawsuit alleges that children were told they would not be released or see their parents unless they took medication and that they only were receiving vitamins. Parents and the children themselves told attorneys the drugs rendered them unable to walk, afraid of people and wanting to sleep constantly, according to affidavits filed April 23 in U.S. District Court in California. One mother said her child fell repeatedly, hitting her head, and ended up in a wheelchair. A child described trying to open a window and being hurled against a door by a Shiloh supervisor, who then choked her until she fainted. […]

An investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting found that nearly half of the $3.4 billion paid to those companies in the last four years went to homes with serious allegations of mistreating children. In nearly all cases reviewed by Reveal, the federal government continued contracts with the companies after serious allegations were raised.

At Reveal’s request, forensic psychiatrist Mark. J. Mills assessed materials from 420 pages of children’s medical records and statements filed in California federal court this April. “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist here; it looks like they’re trying to control agitation and aggressive behavior with antipsychotic drugs,” said Mills, who practices in the Washington, D.C., area and was an expert witness for a lawsuit that in 2008 stopped the federal government from forcibly administering antipsychotic drugs to deportees.

“You don’t need to administer these kinds of drugs unless someone is plucking out their eyeball or some such. The facility should not use these drugs to control behavior. That’s not what antipsychotics should be used for. That’s like the old Soviet Union used to do.”

Several agents set up cones blocking the highway, and then asked vehicle occupants questions about their citizenship before letting them proceed. Southbound drivers could not avoid the roadblock.

“If you want to continue down the road, then yes ma’am. We need to know what citizen — what country you’re a citizen of,” an agent said Wednesday evening to two BDN reporters who went through the checkpoint. When questioned about what would happen if a driver declined to answer, he said the car would only be able to keep going if, after further questioning and upon the agent’s judgment, “the agent is pretty sure that you’re U.S. citizens.” […]

These routine checkpoints have gone on for years. They are similar to the immigration checks that border agents are performing at Maine bus stops, where agents have been captured on video asking riders about their citizenship, said Stephanie Malin, a CBP spokeswoman.

What can you do, in the face of all this cruelty? Attend a protest, donate to an organization helping immigrants, call your elected officials, and above all else do not vote for a Republican.

[Kudos to the Salty Current and Lynna over in the Political Madness thread, for being the source of a fair number of my links.]