ICE Renames Migrant Parents 'Sophie,' Offers Them Yoogest, Greatest Choice
Even after a federal court order telling the Trump administration to reunite migrant parents with the children taken from them at the border, the New Cruelty is finding new and inventive ways to keep families separated. It appears to be a calculated strategy of terrorizing adults in detention in order to send a message to potential migrants that the US is not a country any sane person would willingly live in. Crom knows they've convinced us.
Mother Jones reported yesterday that, following last week's order, at least some parents who have served their time (a week or two) for the misdemeanor offense of illegal entry and who have passed the "credible fear" screening for asylum have nonetheless been refused bond, keeping them in detention and making it impossible for them to reunite with their kids. Under asylum law, migrants who request asylum and are determined to have a credible fear of persecution are supposed to be able to stay in the US until their asylum case is heard. In the past, most have been released on bond, and most do return for their hearings, because why would you skip out on the chance to be allowed to stay in the US, much less the bond money?
But now, Trump wants to keep asylum seekers in ICE detention until they see an immigration judge, which could take years. Two immigration lawyers in Texas told Mother Jones that they know of at least seven cases where judges have denied bond for people who have been found to have a credible fear of detention. Both attorneys believe that's a direct violation of the federal judge's order, as if mere details like court orders matter to the Trumpers.
Today, NBC News has broken an even more incredible bit of insanity: Parents whose children have been taken from them are being given the choice of being deported with their children, or of being deported without them. Yes, that includes asylum seekers who have a case pending. This isn't just based on anecdotal evidence; either: NBC has a copy of the form migrants must sign. It offers parents in ICE detention exactly two choices -- in English, but with instructions to be read to them in the language they best understand:
I am requesting to reunite with my child(ren) for the purpose of repatriation to my country of citizenship
I am affirmatively, knowingly, and voluntarily requesting to return to my country of citizenship without my minor child(ren) who I understand will remain in the United States to pursue available claims of relief.
No, there is not a line saying "I am requesting to be reunited with my child(ren) and then released with an ankle monitor to pursue my asylum case, you Catch-22 motherfuckers."
While some verbiage in the preface of the form says it's to be filled out by "detained alien parents with administratively final orders of removal," the NBC report notes that under asylum law, migrants are supposed to be allowed a hearing on their asylum claim even if they've been ordered deported. Reporter Julia Ainslee confirmed on Twitter that many detainees have asylum claims and deportation orders. In the past, an open asylum case would automatically put a hold on deportation, but this form offers only the option of deportation with or without their children, in effect forcing them to drop their asylum claim if they want to see their kids again.
ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, who led the class action suit against family separation, confirmed clients are encountering the forms, too:
Attorneys for the Southern Poverty Law Center told CNN some of their clients have reported the form as well; an SPLC lawyer told reporter Nick Valencia, "many are being pressured to sign this before they've even seen a judge, and despite not having a final order of removal."
The Trump administration's strategy of weaponized incompetence strikes again: They're making things up as they go along, spreading chaos and putting people running for their lives in an impossible situation. Anything they can think of to avoid letting go of their child hostages.
We have stay angry, kids. Remember, there are things you can do, right fucking now. Give money to groups that are helping, like the wonderful people at RAICES in San Antonio, which has done something the idiots in the federal government either can't or simply don't want to: putting together a hotline for migrant parents seeking to be reunited with their kids.
Here's hoping Univision will have that number all over its screens. Also, a preemptive Fuck You to any trolls who insist detention centers can't be all that bad if they have TV.
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.