Nel's New Day

August 4, 2018

Reunification: Government Fails

The U.S. government claimed it met the July 26 deadline to return migrant children to their parents by declaring that over 700 of them were “ineligible” out of the approximately 2,500 separated children. The judge who ordered reunification didn’t swallow the excuse. He ordered the feds to provide “detailed information” about each one and weekly status reports with telephonic conferences until resolutions.

Then DOJ decided it wouldn’t take responsibility for the crisis it caused. Instead, it wanted to dump their problems onto the ACLU who had sued the government for reunification. Last Thursday, the DOJ told a federal judge that they are not responsible for finding the 400+ parents who they deported and can’t be bothered to find. Instead, the DOJ claims, the court should require the ACLU to “fulfill their obligations to their clients.” And the DOJ wants the ACLU to tell them all information about the located parents. The ACLU had already found 12 deported parents but discovered that they were in contact with the government, which had not shared this information with the ACLU.

Yesterday, a judge called DDT’s plan to turn the work over to the ACLU “unacceptable.” The inability “to track and unite … is 100 percent the responsibility of the administration.” He gave the government an August 10 deadline to provide information on separated families to the ACLU. The judge also clearly stated that parents with minor criminal charges cannot be permanently ineligible for reunification. In addition, the judge ordered the government to “identify an individual or a team” to create and implement a procedure for those kids to be reunified with their families because it appears that the government has no plan for the remaining families.

Government officials in charge of the children are so cavalier or ignorant about the miserable conditions in their prisons that one of them, Matthew Albence, claimed that the centers were like “summer camps. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) asked, “You would send your child to these centers?” Jennifer Higgins, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, stammered, “I—I—it’s—that’s a—that’s a difficult question to answer.” It should be difficult to answer when one considers that the migrant children separated from their parents are physically, emotionally, and sexually abused; starved; dehydrated; underclothed in bitterly cold temperatures; drugged against their will; restrained; and lacking even the toys and other personal belongs that they had brought to the border. When Hirono asked Albence the same question, he sputtered “Again, I think we’re—we’re missing the point.”

At Albence’s “summer camps” in Arizona, two youth care workers were charged with sexually assaulting immigrant teenagers in the most recent claims of abuse at the privatized “shelters” for children taken from their parents at the Mexico border. One of the ex-workers, who is HIV positive, tried to get boys to anally penetrate him. Both centers are operated by the Texas company Southwest Key Programs that received almost $1 billion in taxpayer money to provide services to immigrant children. Allegations against the worker were first reported to Mesa Police Department over a year ago. The other man charged worked at a migrant center that Melania Trump visited.

Another federal contractor kept children in a Phoenix vacant office building until a neighbor reported that she saw ICE taking children into the building. The state failed to take any action about the children being kept in substandard conditions, claiming that the contractor MVM didn’t need a day care license, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. The contractor canceled its lease after city inspectors tried to visit the building five times in one week. MVM, which does not contract for providing shelters, eventually admitted that it lied about not keeping children in the building as a short-term shelter but stated that it “provided notice to both ICE and Arizona officials about the use of this building” and that “ICE approved such use.”

A federal judge has ordered the federal government not to give psychotropic medication to migrant children at Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Manvel (TX) without parents’ or guardians’ consent except in dire emergencies. She also ordered all children moved out of the facility except for those diagnosed as “risk of harm” to themselves or others by a licensed professional. Government officials denied that medications were only on “an emergency basis,” but children gave testimony that they were given pills “every morning and every night.” Some were forcibly injected with drugs. They suffered nausea, dizziness, depression, and weight gain. The doctor prescribing the drugs lacked board certification for child and adolescent treatment for almost ten years. Shiloh also has a history of other child abuse.

The families designated for reunification faced chaotic situations. Some children in New York were driven from one airport to another to find lights. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that about 100 children remain in New York, “with no end in sight.” Some parents defined as “released” stayed in custody for up to a week with no access to showers, phones, or religious services. Some returned children are sick and beaten, and one child even died soon after she was returned. Others were taken places with no one waiting because parents were deported. Volunteer groups frantically raised funds to help children and parents who were just dropped off with no food or ways to communicate with anyone. Families are afraid to line up for help because the separation happened after promises of assistance to them. Some parents waived rights to be reunified because they could not read the consent form and were told that they could see their children if they signed the form. Even with reunification, some children don’t recognize their parents because they were separated for so long, and others are terrified that the government will take them from their parents again.

The biggest dodge to claim “mission accomplished” for a federal judge were the parents who DHS regarded as “either not eligible, or not yet known to be eligible, for reunification.” Of these, 64 were considered criminals, an overly broad classification because some of them had not been convicted of a crime. Crimes might be a DUI or simply “wanted in El Salvador.” Another 463 parents were “not in the U.S.,” with 411 probably deported. As for the 260 parents requiring “further evaluation,” the government lawyer tried to explain that among those 260 parents, some had already been released from immigration detention and couldn’t be found. Others are children already released to non-parent families in the U.S.

Conservatives praised U.S. agencies for how hard they worked to reunify families. The only reason that they had to manually go through 12,000 records instead of “at the stroke of keystrokes … within seconds,” as HHS Secretary Alex Azar bragged about his ability to “find any child within our care for any parent,” is that not one of the three agencies in charge had any system for returning children to the parents. Azar made that statement in June; he’s been very quiet since then. DDT’s administration never intended to reunify families, and the court ruling requiring them to put migrant children back with their parents came as a shock to them. This article describes the problems and the processes.

Scott Lloyd, a DDT appointment to lead the Office of Refugee Resettlement, set up a roadblock to reunification with his demand that he personally review each request to release migrant children. He made that decision without any agency review and changed it only after the policy was stopped by an injunction last month after a lawsuit challenged Lloyd’s policy. Children are incarcerated for months waiting for him to personally sign releases. In one case, he claimed a 17-year-old boy was a gang member with no proof; the boy lacked the tattoos that Lloyd claimed he saw. He became infamous when he unconstitutionally blocked an abortion for a raped teenage girl and other undocumented teenage girls. His experience for the current job was as a policy worker with the Knights of Columbus that involved research and advocacy for Christians persecuted in Iraq.

To permanently conceal ICE crimes, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) approved ICE’s request to destroy its records related to in-custody deaths, sexual assault, and solitary confinement. ICE also lists only 112 facilities although 203 have been identified. Since January, ICE stripped away due process, privatized detention services to deadly companies, collaborated with local law enforcement to racially target people, gone after domestic abuse victims, doctored documents to detain protected immigrants, and used children as bait to arrest their parents.

Many conservatives, led by the Fox network, consistently minimize the pain of immigrants. Pundits such as Laura Ingraham talk about the “phony concern for the children” by the left. Brian Kilmeade of Fox & Friends, said, “These aren’t our kids…. It’s not like [DDT] is doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas.” According to a recent study, people watching Fox and/or reading Breitbart are more likely to support child/family separation. On The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton, Ann Coulter accused separated migrant children of being “child actors weeping and crying …  being coached, … given scripts to read by liberals.” The same accusation was given for gun safety activists from Parkland (FL).

Conservatives are accused of having “no heart.” It’s not true: conservatives have heart but just for a highly limited number of people within their own small tribe that looks exactly like them—namely white for U.S. conservatives. That’s why they can subscribe to genocide. We’re up past Step 8 (above) in the United States.

 

 

 

 

August 9, 2017

Washington Subway Bans Constitution

Should a government entity be required to obey the U.S. Constitution? That’s the question raised by the ACLU after the tax-supported Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) refused its paid ad that quoted the First Amendment. WMATA claims that it restricts “controversial” advertising and turned down ads from Carafem, a healthcare network that provides access to birth control and medication abortion; People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA); and Milo Worldwide LLC, the corporate entity of provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

To communicate support for Muslims (freedom of religion) and the media (freedom of the press), ACLU put up ads in Arabic, English, and Spanish that simply cited the First Amendment.

WMATA refused the ACLU because of its policy forbidding advertisements “intended to influence members of the public regarding an issue on which there are varying opinions” or “intended to influence public policy.” The tax-aid transit accepts beer (no problem with alcoholism), mink coats, Coke-or-Pepsi jokes, etc.—no “varying opinions” there. The PETA ad showed a pig with the text, “I’m ME, Not MEAT. See the individual. Go Vegan.” WMATA has several ads asking their riders to eat animal-based food, wear clothing from animals parts, and attend circus performances. It did suggest that they might run the PETA ad with the removal of “Go Vegan.” To ACLU, WMATA stated, “You’ll have to dramatically change your creative.”

Ads for Milo Worldwide LLC were initially accepted. The author of Dangerous brands feminism a cancer, proposes that transgender people have psychological problems, and compares Black Lives activists to KKK. His ads showed Milo Yiannopoulos’ face, a suggestions that his new book be ordered, and one of four quotations from his reviews: “The most hated man on the Internet” (Nation); “The ultimate troll” (Fusion); “The Kanye West of Journalism” (Red Alert Politics); and “Internet Supervillain” (Out Magazine). In contrast to his writings and speeches, the ads didn’t appear to influence except for selling the book. The ads stayed for 10 days until WMATA got complaints.

These ads—including the First Amendment—were considered “controversial,” but those from gambling casinos, military contractors, and internet sex apps weren’t. PETA was rejected, but a restaurant dish “PORKADISE FOUND” was advertised. The same for a rejection of Yiannopoulos’ book while advertising movie ads of four women drooling over a male stripper.

ACLU’s lawsuit requests that the court declare parts of WMATA’s advertising guidelines unconstitutional because they violate free speech rights and are unconstitutionally vague. Although disagreeing with Yiannopoulos’ viewpoints, the organization also filed a motion on behalf of Milo Worldwide LLC for restitution of loss of revenue by the wrongful removal of advertisements for his book.

Arthur Spitzer, the legal director for the ACLU in Washington, stated:

 “The First Amendment protects the speech of everyone from discriminatory government censorship, whether you agree with the message or not.

For the better part of a century, the Supreme Court has wobbled back and forth on the exemption of “commercial speech” from the First Amendment. But to prevent the First Amendment as an advertisement? This is not freedom of speech!

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