Nel's New Day

June 17, 2018

Father’s Day ‘Celebration,’ Separating Children from Parents

An undocumented Honduran women was handcuffed after she protested against federal agents tearing her baby away while she was breastfeeding. That baby was one of 2,000 children removed from people crossing the border since AG Jeff Sessions declared his “zero tolerance” policy, even if immigrants legally entered asking for asylum. Conservatives continually claim that families should be expected to be separated because they are “breaking the law.” Crossing  the border for the first time is a misdemeanor—as are traffic violations, disturbing the peace, petty thefts, and other legal violations that do not lead to prison.

Today is Father’s Day, celebrating fatherhood and the influence of fathers in society. AG Jeff Sessions, a father of three and self-identified Christian, uses a biblical verse to defend his policy of tearing all children from their parents at the border, even if families seek asylum. He quotes Romans 13, “that God has ordained the government for his purposes.” John Fea, professor of American history at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, said:

“There are two dominant places in American history when Romans 13 is invoked. One is during the American Revolution [when] it was invoked by loyalists, those who opposed the American Revolution. [The other] is in the 1840s and 1850s, when Romans 13 is invoked by defenders of the South or defenders of slavery to ward off abolitionists who believed that slavery is wrong.”

Sessions appealed to “church friends” to support him. They aren’t. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, said:

“Overwhelmingly, Scripture causes families to be kept together. Overwhelmingly Scripture causes us to defend families. As Evangelicals, we have a doctrine to be a pro-family-values people, you know. The Bible calls us to be pro-family, and I personally find it deeply lamentable that we are separating children from their parents at the border or anywhere.”

The Vatican tweeted a quote from Deuteronomy 10:18-19:

“The Bible teaches that God ‘loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.’”

The leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops strongly condemned DDT’s immigration policies as immoral. One bishop suggested that Catholics who help carry out the Justice Department’s policies should be denied Communions because they violate their faith.

Even white evangelicals, who defended Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) for his other transgressions including pride in grabbing p**sy, are appalled at his immigration policy. Far-right Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, called the policy “disgraceful” and said that he doesn’t “support that one bit.” (He did try to exonerate DDT by blaming politicians during the past three decades “that have allowed this to escalate.” The conservative evangelical Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution maintaining “the priority of family unity,” securing the border “and providing a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants living in the country.” The resolution also stated “that any form of nativism, mistreatment, or exploitation is inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

VP Mike Pence, who spoke at the Southern Baptist Convention, was not universally welcomed because of his support for separating families. North Carolina Pastor J.D. Greear called for an “identity is in the gospel” in the first controversy since conservative evangelicals’ objections to Richard Nixon.

Over two dozen of the largest religious groups in the U.S. ask DDT to eliminate its policy separating all children from parents at the border.

Facts about the current separation of children and parents:

  • Border Patrol agents lie to families about reasons for and length of separation. Parents are told that children are taken briefly for questioning or baths. Then women are told that they will “never see their children again.”
  • First-time border crossers probably won’t do prison time and are released after a few weeks in jail awaiting trial. At the trial, parents are told that pleading guilty gives them the best chance of seeing their children.
  • Children separated from their parents are classified “unaccompanied alien children,” a designation for those under 18 years old with no adult relative arriving with them. This classification puts them in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement and kept for days or weeks while ORR looks for a relative in the U.S. or releases them to labor traffickers. The DOJ does not attempt to reunite families and has no system to bring families together.
  • With 11,000 children being held, ORR facilities were 95 percent full by June 7. The government is adding tent cities in 100+ degrees for more unaccompanied children.
  • DOJ claims that the zero-tolerance, child-removal policy is working, but it has no evidence to support the statement.

MVM, one of the private contractors making tens of millions off the illegal housing of children separated from their parents has a record of abusing minorities and possessing unauthorized weapons and explosives. Another contractor, General Dynamics, makes billions of dollars off taxpayers despite its $280.3 million in penalties for 23 misconduct cases since 1995.

Federal courts have ruled that using family separation for “deterrence” is illegal, but the DOJ ignores these rulings. The ACLU sued to force the government to reunited families after parents have been sentenced. The judge refused to throw out the government’s request to not hear the case, stating that allegations, if true, are unconstitutional by violating family integrity, part of the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of “liberty” without due process of law.

According to medical research, the separation of children from their parents causes “toxic stress” that disrupts brain development and results in developmental delays in motor function and speech, worse in younger children. The separated children are more likely to have life-long health problems, depression, and multiple behavioral changes. The fear of families in the U.S. being separated leads to refusal to get health care or help for legal issues. Friends of children in immigrant families are beginning to suffer from similar syndromes. About 4,600 mental-health professionals and 90 organizations have asked DDT to halt the separation policy.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren explained the reason for a Senate bill called Keep Families Together:

“Kids locked up like animals in cages made of fencing and wire. Others huddled together on cold metal benches and cement floor. Meanwhile, their parents are held in detention centers hundreds of miles away in a different state – with little to no way of communicating.”

Sessions went beyond tearing children from their parents when he overturned a DOJ Board of Immigration Appeals decision accepting victims of gangs and domestic abuse for asylum who fear persecution in their homelands. The Board is the highest authority, but the AG can assign himself cases and set precedents that end up in federal appeals courts. He says his goal is to reduce the backlog of 700,000 court cases. More families will be shredded because he refuses to help women and children victims of domestic violence.

DDT, father of five children by three different women, claims to “hate” the policy that he and his attorney general generated. Aware of the policy’s unpopularity, he now tries to blame Democrats (false) for a law (false). The separation, however, has been part of his plan since he was inaugurated. White House senior policy advisor and white supremacy supporter Stephen Miller convinced DDT that the policy would be successful in its “deterrence.” Chief of staff John Kelly, mentor to DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, is a full-throated supporter of separating children from their parents. With a few exceptions, the GOP has joined DDT in holding the children hostage to get tens of billions of dollars to build DDT’s “wall” and to drastically reduce the number of legal immigrants to the United States. (More lies here.)  House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) tweeted how happy he is to be a father with a video wishing everyone a “happy” Father’s Day. Over 90 percent of the responses addressed the GOP separation of children and families.

DDT spent Father’s Day playing golf on one of his courses. He tweeted nothing about celebrating Father’s Day or his children.

Stephen Colbert made an impassioned plea on The Late Show, asking viewers to call their congressional representatives for Father’s Day and ask them to stop the deliberate cruelty of Sessions and DDT. He said:

“I sincerely believe that it doesn’t matter who you voted for—if we let this happen in our name, we are a feckless country.”

Protest marches are spreading across the nation against the separation of children from parents. In Suffolk County (NY), DDT’s poster children for the brutality of gang murders to justify crackdowns, people are wearing yellow bracelets to support migrant families. In red Augusta County (VA) a rally drew protesters and supporting honks from drivers going by. Los Angeles demonstrators blocked traffic.

On Father’s Day, ICE planned to deport Nelson Omar Rosales Santos, in end stage renal failure and waiting for a kidney transplant, but a petition gave him a six-months stay. With a family friend donor, medical insurance, and a surgeon, Santos has three U.S. citizen children and a U.S. citizen wife who successfully petitioned for him to stay in the U.S. He has lived in Stamford (CT) for 30 years. A new petition asks that he be guaranteed a least one-year recuperation in the U.S. after surgery so that it will be permitted.

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