MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN?
We are all horrified by what is happening to these families. It’s a human reaction to the horror and overwhelming fear one feels at the thought of having one’s child ripped from one’s arms with no knowledge of where that child is going, what kind of care she is under and if it will ever be possible to find her again. Anyone who has momentarily lost a child in a crowd knows that chest tightening, throat clenching sense of panic and helplessness. Imagine feeling that panic for days, months, even years. Only people with no conscience can stand by or approve of this ghastly turn of events and of the mad monster who dreamed it up.
And we can take no solace from Trump’s decision to stop the practice of separating children from their parents because we knew this was not an act of compassion, that something equally bad or worse would result. Sure enough there is no plan to reunite the families but there is a plan to keep families together in detention indefinitely, defying the Flores decision, a decades-old court settlement that prohibits the federal government from keeping children in immigration detention centers for more than 20 days, And we progressives are outraged and all are saying, “This is not US.” How soon we forget. The Obama administration would never have allowed this latest inhumane practice to occur but there was certainly plenty to object to concerning the Obama administration’s immigration policies. Perhaps if progressives had been as vocal then as they are now, something like this current obscenity might have been prevented. Why are we so reluctant to hold our own party accountable for evils that we are all too willing to protest when the other party is at fault? While we need to spend our energies on the immediate danger, we must begin to face the reality of past US immigration injustices, past and current interventions in the economics and politics of our neighbors to the south (and everywhere else in the world), and the ridiculous but profitable “War on Drugs”. Else we will continue to have desperate people coming to our borders trying to escape the terror that our country has played a large part in creating. Laura Stokes
DemocracyNow! is a very good source for what is happening with this situation. Following is part of an interview with Clara Long, senior researcher with Human Rights Watch.
CLARA LONG: Right, which again completely clogs up the system, keeps these parents stuck in limbo without a decision on their cases. If I may, Amy, one of the things that pops up again and is actually a huge stain on President Obama’s human rights record is long-term prolonged family detention, something we saw develop-I know that you guys covered after 2014. In 2015, I remember I went into a family detention center and spoke with families who had been detained for a year or more. They said they were feeling-had suicidal feelings, anxiety, depression. Family detention is very harmful.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain this, though? When you’re talking about under the Obama years, family detention, everyone has now heard about the Flores settlement. They may not know who Flores is-a 15-year-old Salvadoran on whom this settlement is based-but it said that children cannot be held for more than 20 days. That is what Trump is dealing with now. He wants this overturned so that he can continue to hold the children, maybe still-at least with their parents. But in fact, you were going to centers-and our reporter, Democracy Now’s Renée Feltz, was going to these centers where families were held for over a year.
CLARA LONG: Right, because the Obama administration did not want to comply with that legal settlement, either, and it took committed advocacy by plaintiff’s lawyers for the Flores children and many, many others to hold the Obama administration to that short-term 20-day limit. So when the Obama administration reinstituted family detention after eradicating it-they eradicated it in 2009, reinstituted it in 2014-they attempted to hold people indefinitely.