Joe Biden, please fix this.
In the final days of the Trump administration, the machinery of immigration cruelty kept grinding right along, because even if a new administration was on the way, there was still time to separate some families. Like for instance two Haitian brothers, Christian Laporte, 19, and Vladimir Fardin, 9, who arrived at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday. Both had valid US visas, but they were nonetheless held for 24 hours with no ability to contact their family or their lawyer, while US Customs and Border Protection agents questioned them separately. Yes, of course CBP questioned a nine-year-old without an adult present. This is how America has worked for four years. And Donald Trump's chief immigration asshole, Stephen Miller, doesn't see any reason for that to change:
Today, @POTUS pledged to be a president for all Americans. It’s unclear how all Americans are served by opening tra… https://t.co/xWjTs3pt1N— Stephen Miller (@Stephen Miller)1611174528.0
Mr. Miller, we're still trying to puzzle out exactly how all — or any — Americans are helped by the detention and separation of a couple of kids who both had valid US visas.
While the brothers were detained, the officers took away their passports and decided neither visa was really valid after all, which meant that Vladimir was instantly an "unaccompanied minor alien," so he was taken away and sent to a shelter in San Diego run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement — again without being allowed to talk to his brother, his family back in Haiti, or his US attorney, Milli Atkinson. Vladimir was finally allowed a phone call to his mother some time after he arrived at the facility Monday, Atkinson said. And now that he's in the limbo of unaccompanied minor alien status, Atkinson fears, Crom only knows how long it will take to reunite Vladimir with his family.
"This system is designed to protect children from trafficking. But it was clear from the moment he entered that this was not a trafficking situation," she said. "It's a long bureaucratic process and it could possibly be months before he can see his family again."
Yep, the good old "maybe it's child trafficking" excuse for family separations, which is how the Trump administration has made life hell not just for undocumented immigrants since the supposed "end" of family separation in 2018, but for legal immigrants and travelers, too. This is exactly the sort of shit the new administration needs to work on as part of the overhaul of immigration policy Joe Biden ordered yesterday — just a few days too late for Vladimir and his brother.
So many bad policies!
President Joe Biden (bear with us, we'll eventually stop typing that so excitedly) made pretty good use of his first half-day on the job yesterday, taking a whole bunch of garbage policies from the previous administration out to the curb. Biden signed a whole bunch of executive orders to either undo actions taken by the president before him, or to take action against the pandemic that the prior administration hadn't bothered with. So let's take a look at the 15 EOs (and two directives to agencies) that Biden signed yesterday. No, he did not sign one to give you a pony. That's next week, be patient.
Almost all the items on his to-do list for the first day addressed one or more of the four crises Biden said would be the focus of his presidency: The pandemic and the related economic fallout, climate change, and racial justice, including the previous administration's war on immigration, all of which got worse under Donald Trump (we had to name him eventually).
We’re still adjusting. Isn’t it wonderful?
President (damn right) Joe Biden arrived at the White House Wednesday after what we hope was an extensive fumigation process. Between all the coronavirus outbreaks and the festering evil, they needed an exorcist in a hazmat suit, spraying everything down with a mix of bleach and holy water.
Biden got to work quickly, signing 15 executive orders that rolled back some of the previous administration's bigoted, anti-science policies. We'll go over those in more happy detail in another post. It was just wonderful to see an actual president behind the Resolute desk who's working for the American people and not undermining democracy.
President Biden, with a stack of executive orders, including getting the United States back into the Paris climate… https://t.co/sLWdAb4seq— Matt Viser (@Matt Viser)1611181641.0
Biden brought his own chair from his basement, right? If he sat in that other guy's chair, it might swallow him whole like Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.
After Vogon Poetry Years Of President Before Biden, Let's End Our Day With Amanda Gorman's Inauguration Poem
At Joe Biden's inaugural today, Amanda Gorman, who is 22, became the youngest poet ever to read a poem at a presidential inauguration. She's a perfect choice to bring back poetry after the literally artless years of the president before Joe Biden. And holy cats, while she may be early in her career, she's hardly a newcomer to writing — she's already a former National Youth Poet Laureate.
NPR notes that, like President Biden, Gorman had a speech impediment as a child; which was one reason she was attracted to poetry: "Having an arena in which I could express my thoughts freely was just so liberating that I fell head over heels, you know, when I was barely a toddler."
Not surprisingly, she feels a kinship with Maya Angelou as well:
"Maya Angelou was mute growing up as a child and she grew up to deliver the inaugural poem for President Bill Clinton," she says. "So I think there is a real history of orators who have had to struggle with a type of imposed voicelessness, you know, having that stage in the inauguration.
And oh, what a voice Gorman shared with us today!