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Kaytora Paul, family photo provided to Miami Herald

We sure wish we could be surprised by the Miami Herald's report that a 12-year-old Bahamian girl who fled the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian was taken from her family and put into a shelter for "unaccompanied alien children" this week. And now the girl's mother can't get her out. But of course that happened. The family isn't Norwegian, now is it?


The family of 12-year-old Kaytora Paul barely survived the hurricane, her mother, Katty Paul, told the Herald.

"We were in our house when the roof collapsed. The floodwaters kept rising. We spent six days in our Dodge sleeping with the windshield broken, getting wet in the rain," she said.

When they were finally rescued, there wasn't enough room for the family to all stay together in a single shelter. So Katty stayed with her two youngest, her husband went to stay with their adult son, and Kaytora's aunt and godmother took her to Florida.

The Paul family's mistake is obvious to anyone who has spent any time looking at the Trump administration's war on refugees: They must have assumed US immigration officials would treat them like people who had survived a disaster. Instead, they were treated as likely child traffickers, because a godmother and an aunt are not parents, so Kaytora HAD TO be taken away and placed in a shelter.

Look on the bright side, Kaytora's family! She didn't have to spend a month in an overcrowded Border Patrol facility with no shower, no change of clothes, and no soap, before going to a facility under the supervision of HHS's Office of Refugee Resettlement. And talk about more terrific luck: Because she's 12, Kaytora was sent for storage at "His House Children's Home," in Miami Gardens, a baby jail run by a religious nonprofit. Had she been 13, the Herald notes, she would have been sent to the awful shelter for 13- to 17-year-olds in Homestead, or wherever the government sent older kids while Homestead was closed during the hurricane. But are they counting their blessings? Heck no -- Katty Paul is acting as if she had her child taken away from her for no reason at all, when there's actually a very good reason: The US immigration system is run by monsters.

"I thought losing my house was devastating. Or having to relocate to a different island or country was devastating," Katty Paul said. "But when I found out that they got her, my baby, I mean, there are no words. It was at that moment that I really lost everything" [...]

To go through that harrowing experience with your children, and then for one to be taken away from you?"

Now, even though Katty Paul has made it to the US with documentation that she's Kaytora's mom, she can't get the girl released from the shelter, because the rules say you can only release an unaccompanied alien child to a sponsor, and sponsors have to be vetted.

Paul was told she had to go through the process of applying to be her daughter's sponsor with HHS. In order to get custody of her daughter, Paul would have to collect documentation that would prove she's her mother — like a birth certificate, government identification as well as proof of address. In the past, this process has taken anywhere from weeks to months.

To make matters more challenging, Paul says U.S. officials told her that she can only stay in the U.S. until Sept. 26. [...]

"I don't even want to think about what that will look like — if I have to leave here before being able to claim my own daughter," she said. "You should hear her voice. She's out of it. Crying, depressed. She wants her family but we can't do anything."

Well then, maybe if you loved your child you'd keep her in the disaster area instead of sending her to Trumpmerica! It's dangerous here, especially since the "president" thinks the hurricane survivors are very bad people, very bad gangsters and drug dealers, and worst of all, not white.

In the most depressing short sentence in the story, the Herald notes, "Federal sources say cases like Paul's are expected to rise as more Bahamians continue to seek refuge after the storm."

Attention, people of the world who experience a disaster: The US is broken. We're working on fixing it, but for the time being, you'll want to treat us like you would a badly frayed rescue rope, a broken fire escape, or a Ford airbag made by Takata. Not a reliable choice for safety, and may cause more injury than the original disaster. Choose an alternate escape route if you can.

[Miami Herald]

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Doktor Zoom

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.

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