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Guess Melania Trump Picked The Wrong Day To Start Caring About Children
At Auschwitz, mothers and children were kept together when they went to the gas chambers. Let that sink in.
Rachel Maddow noticed the piss-poor timing of two separate but decidedly unequal policy announcements Monday. At the White House, Melania Trump announced her brand new policy initiative to keep kids safe on the internet, and also from drugs, because bullying and drugs are bad for children. In her announcement of the "Be Best" initiative, the First Lady said,
[Children] deserve every opportunity to enjoy their innocence. Every child should know it is safe to make mistakes and that there are supportive adults and friends nearby to catch them if they fall.
Unfortunately, shortly after Melania Trump said we should all "encourage children to dream big, think big, and do all they can to be best in everything that they do," Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions Trump III explained in San Diego why it's vitally important to make sure some children not only never become Americans, but should also be ripped away from parents who've made the bad decision to bring them across the border illegally. Sessions announced a great goosestep forward for the New Cruelty under which all people caught crossing the border outside of authorized ports of entry will be charged criminally, even if they're seeking asylum from violence or oppression in their home countries:
This border is not open. Don't come unlawfully…. Make your claim. Wait your turn [...] We cannot take everyone on this planet who is in a difficult situation.
You think you have it bad? Fuck you, you don't know what "bad" is -- if you're caught, the United States of America will separate you from your kids because you are a criminal. Yes, even if you have a reasonable fear of persecution if you go back. And fuck your kids, too. Sessions said the goal is for "100 percent" of illegal border crossers to be charged with "improper entry by an alien," a misdemeanor offense that could result in six months in prison. And since the parents will be charged as criminals, the kids -- including infants -- will be taken away and sent to detention facilities for children, possibly hundreds of miles away, while their parents await trial. Yes, that could take years. Fuck you and your filthy useless children, said Sessions at an appearance in Scottsdale, Arizona, earlier yesterday, because Law And Order:
If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law [...] If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border.
Don't come crying to us if you're being a criminal, criminal.
As the LA Times explains, this is going to flood the immigration courts and the detention centers:
The new policy is expected to send a flood of deportation cases — and legal challenges — into federal courts. It also could put thousands more immigrants in detention facilities and children in shelters, and is likely to strain an immigration system that has struggled to keep up with a surge in enforcement under President Trump. Until now, individuals apprehended while crossing illegally were often simply bused back over the border without charges. That was especially common for people without criminal records or previous immigration violations.
Mind you, this influx of new cases will hit an immigration court system where due process is a sad joke,and where Sessions has imposed quotas on judges to move quickly through backlogged cases. If the goal was ever "efficiency," it seems like maybe throwing thousands more cases into the system for prosecution just might make things worse. Then again, since the going assumption is that everyone in immigration court is guilty unless they prove themselves innocent, (yes, including US citizens!) and the Justice department has eliminated programs that might gum up the works by telling people they have the right to seek a pro bono attorney, maybe "efficiency" only counts when it comes to ejecting people from the US. Sorry, not "people" -- aliens.
In any case, the new cases shouldn't take too long to handle, especially since the Justice Department is sending 35 new prosecutors and 18 immigration judges to the border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
But wait, what about people seeking asylum? Tough shit. Come to a port of entry or be arrested and have your kids taken away, even while agents assess your asylum claim. That's just the way it goes. Oh, and about those authorized ports of entry:
[Many] border stations are ill-equipped to take care of a surge of new cases, said Doris Meissner, senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute and former commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
"They are strongly incentivizing serious bottlenecks at the ports of entry, and maybe they're doing that on purpose," she said.
Get in line. We're making the lines longer and more difficult to get through. Maybe you should just go back to El Salvador and take your chances.
There are a couple of questions we haven't yet seen addressed that we'll keep an eye on:
1) If asylum-seekers are convicted of "improper entry by an alien," will that conviction be held against their being granted asylum? That seems like one hell of a catch. Congratulations, you have a well-founded fear of persecution if you're returned to your country. Too bad you're a criminal and we have to send you back.
Update: Alert Wonkette Operative "Susan" says in the comments (and this is her very first Wonkette comment, which is a surprise sincewe don't allow comments ):
No, a misdemeanor offense like "improper entry of alien" wouldn't be a bar for an asylum seeker. Only crimes deemed "particularly serious crimes" (mostly aggravated felonies) are deal-breakers.
Here's a handy list for anyone who wishes to lawsplore what constitutes a particularly serious crime for immigration purposes.
2) The immigration courts operate outside of the regular US criminal and civil court system, which is why there's no right to a public defender. If every single illegal border crosser is charged with a criminal offense, however, those cases will be tried in federal criminal courts. Yr Wonkette is no lawyer, but doesn't that mean that everyone charged with improper entry will be eligible for a public defender?
Oh, yes, and there's even more terrific news for Melania Trump and her new program that values children. Yesterday, her husband called on Congress to rescind some $15 billion in already-budgeted money for government programs. About half of that money will be taken from the Children's Health Insurance Program.
No worries, though -- the kids can still have a nifty pamphlet about online safety.
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