Deportation Nation: Bear Witness To The Week In Immigration Horror
Now that all the children taken from their parents at the border -- OK, more like two thirds of them -- have been reunited with their families, everything is fine now and we don't need to treat immigration as a major story anymore, right? Haha, we like bitter dark jokes, which is also how we like our coffee. SO MUCH immigration fuckery to get to this week! Let us round it all up like a bunch of escaped goats marauding through the streets of Boise!
Family Reunification Going Just Great, If You Like Disasters
In a filing yesterday in the ongoing lawsuit over Donald Trump's family separation policy, the Justice Department claimed it's not responsible for finding the deported parents of the children who remain in government custody, because "You Break It You Buy It" is best left to private groups, like the ACLU, which brought the class action. If the ACLU is so worried about a bunch of illegals, then isn't finding those irresponsible parents their responsibility? No, really, that is literally the argument!
Plaintiffs' counsel should use their considerable resources and their network of law firms, NGOs, volunteers, and others, together with the information that defendants have provided (or will soon provide), to establish contact with possible class members in foreign countries
You see, the government insists everyone it deported was given the option of having their kids deported too, and hundreds of them just said, nah, don't bother, I am a criminal and my kids are unimportant to me. Politico reported last month a US official said there's simply no documentation for that claim for three-quarters of deported parents, and the ACLU charges many, possibly most, of the deported parents say they were coerced to sign forms giving "consent" to deportation without their kids, or were told the form they signed would actually get their children released to them. Pfft, says the government, you wanna double check that, YOU go find them.
It's Like The Hunger Games, Only Real And Not Fun
Men who have had their children returned to them -- and who are still in family detention -- have started a hunger strike at the Karnes County Residential Center, a privately run immigration prison about an hour southeast of San Antonio, Texas. One of the hunger strikers, a Honduran man who declined to give his name, was recorded by RAICES, the migration advocacy group. Through a translator, he said,
Everyone has agreed that we will stop eating. We're doing so because we don't know what will happen to us. We need to know if we'll be deported or allowed to remain in this country. We are asking the government to free us. We are not criminals [...]
My son says to me he hasn't done anything to be incarcerated here. He says, Daddy, I'm not a criminal. We want to get out. He cries every day. He doesn't want to eat. He's only 6 years old.
The kids are eating, but they're refusing to attend classes inside the family prisons. ICE not only denied there's a hunger strike going on, it also emailed NPR with an Orwellian statement claiming "this is not the first time RAICES has encouraged a hunger strike." ICE's top deportation guy, Matthew Albence, testified before Congress Tuesday that the privately run family prisons are veritable paradises:
I think the best way to describe them is to be more like a summer camp. These individuals have access to 24/7 food and water. They have educational opportunities. They have recreational opportunities. There's basketball courts. There's exercise classes. There are soccer fields that we put in there.
We bet Albence doesn't even know what the Spanish word for "Theresienstadt" is.
Tell Us Again How Republicans Love The Little Unborned Babies?
The Daily Beast reports that -- in violation of its own announced policy -- ICE has imprisoned a woman who's 32 weeks pregnant. We've already noted the administration's insane reversal of previous ICE policy that required the release of pregnant women, but this story goes even beyond that madness:
After arriving at the detention center on July 27, the woman––whose name is being withheld because of her tenuous immigration status––had troubling symptoms, including fatigue, insomnia, and abdominal pain. And, for the first time in her pregnancy, she began having serious vaginal bleeding. Her baby is due to be born on Sept. 19, putting her almost halfway through the third trimester of her pregnancy.
When ICE announced it would routinely detain pregnant women, the agency claimed, "Generally, absent extraordinary circumstances, ICE will not detain a pregnant alien during the third trimester of pregnancy."
No, of course ICE wouldn't say anything about the "extraordinary circumstances" that might conceivably warrant holding this woman and her three children in family detention. But a spokesperson did say the exception was "not absolute."
Good Christ Of Course There Are Child Abusers Working In Kiddie Prisons
Last week, the investigative reporting nonprofit ProPublica revealed a disturbing number of reports of sexual assaults and other crimes at detention centers for migrant kids. Today, a pair of deeper dives into the issue looked at reports of an employee allegedly having sexual contact with a teen in a Chicago shelter (among other problems), and of a worker at a Tucson shelter who was charged with 11 crimes involving the alleged molestation of eight boys at a shelter in Tucson in 2016 and 2017. The shelter had already been cited by the Arizona Department of Health Services for failing to do background searches on employees. The accused molester had worked for the shelter four months without a background check, although once one was conducted, records showed he had no previous arrests or convictions for sex offenses.
Who Are We Deporting This Week? A Decorated Soldier. Oh, And The Wife Of A Trump Voter
The Washington Post spotlights yet another soldier being thrown out of the Army after signing up for a program aimed at recruiting legal immigrants who can speak foreign languages and provide other needed services. Specialist Yea Ji Sea, 29, who serves as a medic at the Brooke Army Medical Center at Texas's Fort Sam Houston, enlisted in 2013, and has served in Korea, where she speaks the language. She's earned excellent performance reviews and received two Army Achievement Medals. But she got booted from the service last month because of a problem with her student visa in 2008 -- she didn't know it at the time, but the school she applied to attend in the US was running a scam with a US Customs and Border Protection agent who took bribes to approve visas.
Sea had no idea the visas were fraudulent — the school was listed as an approved program by ICE, the legal complaint stated — and she believed that her paperwork was legitimate. In reality, a date was off in the application about when she entered the country.
She's suing to remain in the US, because the corruption had nothing to do with any action on her part, but a note on her file that she didn't even know about led to the rejection of her application for naturalization. And now, her earlier visas having expired, she's subject to deportation.
In Florida, Alejandra Juarez, the wife of a US Marine and the mother of two US-born children, was deported to Mexico after exhausting all her immigration appeals, and despite attempts by a US Congressman to help her stay in the US. She came into the US in 1998, was deported, then returned and married her husband, a citizen. Her undocumented immigration status was discovered after a traffic stop in 2013, but under Barack Obama, her deportation order was repeatedly stayed because she has no criminal record and has kids with a naturalized citizen. No chance at protection for her now; when she was first caught in 1998, she waived her right to seek citizenship in return for avoiding prison.
Her husband, Temo Juarez, voted for Trump and thought only other people, really BAD people, would get deported. No, you are not allowed to be delighted at what's happening here -- he's obviously an idiot, but kids losing their mom is no cause for schadenfreude.
Before Juarez went through the security checkpoint with her family for a private goodbye, she had a message for Trump:
"I hope this makes you happy," she said. "May God forgive you."
Hey, the law is the law. This is America. Thank god Hillary didn't win, or we'd be ruled by liberal Nazis.
Oh, and those goats in Boise? They were rounded up while we were writing. They get to stay.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.