Kids still separated from their families:
As of Aug. 16: 565
As of Aug. 23: 528 — 23 are under age of five
As of Aug. 30: 497 — 22 are under age five
As of Sept. 4: 416 — 14 are under age five
Kids separated because the US government deported their parents without them:
As of Aug. 16: 366
As of Aug. 23: 343 — six are under five
As of Aug. 30: 322 — six are under five
As of Sept. 4: 304 — six are under five
The government now says 199 parents have “indicated desire against reunification,” but it’s becoming clearer that many of those parents were coerced or misled into such “indications.”
Consider this short video clip that puts a name with one of the 199 parents who gave up their kids. It’s the story of a Guatemalan detainee who signed the paper that the government gave him. He hasn’t seen his 15-year-old son in months. But now that he’s armed with a lawyer, he’s headed toward a court hearing on his asylum claim.
You Thought It Couldn’t Get Worse?
A decades-old consent order settling the Flores case imposed time limits for detaining children of undocumented immigrants. That created a problem for Trump’s new zero-tolerance policy.
As The New York Times reports, “The big dilemma facing the administration is what to do about adults who illegally cross the border with children. Families in such cases are typically placed in federally run detention centers that are outfitted to house children and adults together, but [under the Flores order], they can only be held there for up to 20 days.”
Here’s the rub: hearings for the adults facing deportation can take months. Trump’s zero-tolerance policy addressed the Flores dilemma by separating families. Parents went into Justice Department detention centers (jails); kids went into the care of the Department of Health and Human Services.
When public uproar caused Trump to rescind his zero-tolerance policy, he required Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ask the Flores judge to remove the 20-day time limit for detaining children. That effort failed, so now Trump is doing an end run around the Flores order.
On Sept. 6, 2018, the government proposed new rules that would allow it to detain families indefinitely. The Times continues, “The government said it would develop a network of licensed facilities that can humanely shelter migrant families in the months or longer it takes for their deportation or asylum cases to be heard. But it provided scant details on how the facilities would operate, or why the new plan might pass muster with the court when previous attempts to ease limits on migrant children detention have not.”
A Sad Refrain for America
Ironically, in June 2018, the US Supreme Court repudiated the notorious Korematsu decision, which upheld World War II Japanese internment camps. History may not repeat itself, but it may be on the way to rhyming again.