Judge Rules Family Separation Causes Unconstitutional Trauma. You Don't Say.
A federal judge in Connecticut has ruled Donald Trump's order to take children away from their parents at the border violated the children's constitutional rights. In Friday's ruling, US District Court Judge Victor A. Bolden ordered the government to produce two children's parents to a hearing scheduled for July 18, and said the government had denied the children's rights by removing them from their parents without a hearing or even any notification. This is the first time a federal court has said the family separation policy violates children's rights, not just the rights of parents. No reaction from the White House yet; we expect Donald Trump to blame Democrats for inventing "rights" for people who aren't even from the right America.
Judge Bolden's ruling, which makes for harrowing reading, relies primarily on the testimony of Andrés Martin, a child psychiatrist with the Child Study Center at Yale University School of Medicine. Bolden also took into account written affidavits on the children's cases. Dr. Martin examined the two children, identified only as "JSR," a nine-year-old boy from Honduras, and "VFB," a 14-year-old girl from El Salvador, at a group home in Groton, Connecticut, where they're being held. The kids are being represented by Connecticut Legal Services and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School, according to the Hartford Courant.
Martin testified they both suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, and are at risk for a lifetime of psychiatric and physical problems that are likely to continue long after they're reunified with their parents.
Lying To Children To Own The Libs
Both children told Dr. Martin of the extreme trauma they'd faced before they fled their home countries. The ruling states JSR and his father left Honduras
after his grandparents were murdered and the body of a family friend was left in his backyard. While in Honduras, J.S.R. had witnessed gang violence, including witnessing his grandmother dead, with her body tossed in a river and her neck split open. He also saw the dead body of someone he knew from his neighborhood dropped in his backyard. That second murder was blamed on his father by gang members who had made repeated threats to his father. Dr. Martin reported that, as far as J.S.R. knew, his father was being framed for the murder.
VFB and her mother fled El Salvador after her stepfather was murdered by a gang. The court document has less information on the specifics of her situation in El Salvador, although Dr. Martin testified that
like J.S.R.'s journey, V.F.B.'s trip itself was not especially traumatic; the separation from her mother, however, did result in considerable trauma.
In both cases, once the kids and their parents crossed the border and were taken into detention, they were held in extremely cold rooms by Customs and Border Protection, then separated from their parents without any warning. JSR said he was "told that his father was going to sign some paperwork and that he would be right back, but he never returned." VFB said that when she went to take a shower, her mother was gone when she came back.
Hey, you know how all the legal experts on Twitter (and in the Trump administration, for that matter) keep telling us that when Americans commit crimes, their kids are taken away from them, too, so shut up? Pretty sure when that happens, the authorities don't routinely disappear the parents while lying to the kids (though considering how we treat our own citizens, we can't rule it out).
Are Immigrants Allowed To Have PTSD like Americans?
Dr Martin tested both children for PTSD using standard tests, in Spanish. JSR's results were above the level that indicates PTSD; on one, the score was "extraordinarily high." (We hope someone will tell Mr. Trump that's not an achievement to brag about.) Dr. Martin testified JSR has "full-blown acute PTSD symptomatology, on top of a chronic, traumatic background, resulting in a more pronounced trauma."
VFB scored above the level indicating PTSD on the first test, but was so distraught when Dr. Martin interviewed her that she was unable to complete the second test, the one JSR scored so high on. She frequently cried, hid her face behind her arm, and shied away from the interviewer on the team:
V.F.B. had difficulty answering many questions and often avoided them. Dr. Martin considered her so distressed that she did not understand certain simple concepts and therefore could not answer the questions coherently.
Yr Doktor Zoom is not a medical doctor. But "so freaked out she couldn't even answer the questions" seems like it might have some diagnostic value to a clinician. Judge Bolden's summary of the kids' prospects and Dr. Martin's recommendations is heartbreaking. All this damage to two children, multiplied by thousands of cases, because this pleases people who voted for Donald Trump to get tough on immigration:
We are governed by sociopaths who happily dismiss evidence like this while saying "If the parents didn't want that to happen, they shouldn't have BROKEN THE LAW." The government's attorneys didn't dispute the children had suffered trauma, but also insisted they'd received "excellent care, both medical and otherwise, in the least restrictive environment available," so hooray for the wire mother in the old primate studies.
Judge Tells Trump To Fix The Kids He Broke
Judge Bolden found the federal government
violated J.S.R.'s and V.F.B.'s constitutional rights by forcibly removing them from their parents without due process of law. The Government failed to provide the children with notice or a hearing, instead taking their parents, while distracting the children.
He added that the feds had "[even] now [...] not established a compelling reason for depriving the children of their family integrity" or shown that family separation was "narrowly tailored" to any clear lawful reason. Bolden also ordered the government to set out a treatment plan for both children's PTSD, stating the children are
entitled to relief to address the consequences of the Government's unconstitutional separation of them from their parents, a harm, based on Dr. Martin's unrebutted testimony, likely to continue even after family reunification.
Bolden denied the plaintiff's request to order the children reunited immediately, since the kids and parents are included in the ACLU's class action suit covered by the existing order to reunify all families by July 26. But he did order the children's respective parents to be brought to Connecticut for a hearing coming up Wednesday, and that the children be immediately allowed to videoconference with their parents until then.
It's going to take decades to undo the damage of a brilliant idea pushed by Stephen Miller, John Kelly, Jeff Sessions, and their boss, Donald J. Trump, for whom trauma to children is merely a means to whip up the base. For far more evidence, see the Los Angeles Times story of one Guatemalan asylum seeker's painful reunification with his son: When the man and his lawyers met his son at LAX Saturday night, the boy was almost in a fugue state. This video by LAT reporter Esmeralda Bermudez documents what Making America Great looks like in reality:
The Washington Post and New York Times also have excellent reporting on the human cost of all the winning we're doing. So much winning, in fact, that we're sick of it. Fight back. This is one story that can't be allowed to vanish under a wave of idiotic tweets by the child torturer in chief.
Don't just get mad. Get mad and vote. Also, get mad and support Yr. Wonkette.
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.