Nel's New Day

June 8, 2019

Rep. Walden: These Are ‘Americans’

“It underscores the sanctity of life.”—AL Gov. Kay Ivey about the new draconian anti-choice law that she signed

 “We value life. That is what makes us unique.”—Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about the immigration crisis

These statements honor fetuses and white people. As for the rest of humanity, here is their treatment from Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT):

Not only is DDT still separating children from their parents at the southern border, he is separating mothers from their newborn children.

Medications for migrants, including for issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes, are taken at the border. Other medications they lose are for prenatal vitamins, seizures, and asthma, but these medications are not replaced. ICE has tried to suppress information about an epidemic of mumps sweeping throughout the migrants. Not one case was reported last year. Migrant children are dying in federal custody because of no health care for the first time in a decade.

Border Patrol agents cage asylum seeking families who wait for processing and give them only Mylar sheets while migrants are forced them to sleep on rocky terrain where temperatures drop into the 30s. Every three hours they are awakened and forced to stand in a “sleep deprivation tactic.” Migrants also suffer from lack of food, water, and medical care, and agents spray them with water from water bottles. One El Paso (TX) facility meant to hold 125 people contained 900 people.  

Media attention and the threat of a visit from congressional Democrats caused the Border Patrol to move migrants from a fenced area under an El Paso bridge to “more space and more shelter capability”—tents in a parking lot. With temperatures in the low 40s, children were forced to remove additional layers of clothing. Border patrol agents threw away their clothing and blankets. [visual migrants]

The DHS inspector general reported expired food—even raw chicken leaking blood on refrigeration units—and other insanitary conditions in bathrooms in a surprise visit to four privately-operated immigrant detention facilities last year. The IG’s report expressed concern about nooses in detainee cells, misuse of solitary confinement, and delayed medical care.

Last summer, migrant youth and families were housed at polluted military bases with contaminated water. Exposure to the toxic chemicals can cause cancer, neurological damage, developmental harm, and many other diseases.  The problem was hidden for six months.

A child with a broken nose had no medical assistance for over a month. Children cannot go to the bathroom without writing a request and then are blocked from the bathroom if they ask too many times. The law has a maximum of 20 days for children in restrictive government facilities, but at many children are there far longer—sometimes over a year. The average length is 35 days. Migrant children aren’t even permitted to “give a friend a hug.”

DDT has canceled English classes, recreational programs such as soccer, and legal aid for unaccompanied minors in his migrant “shelters” as of May 22 to blackmail Congress for more funding. The illegal move runs counter to a federal court settlement and state-licensing requirements mandating education and recreation for minors in federal custody.

Last July, 37 migrant children ages 5 to 12 were left in the Texas heat in vans for up to 39 hours while waiting for reunification with their parents. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) expressed outrage, saying, “This is not who we are as Americans.” But government reports prove that it is.

Despite DDT’s “love” for the military, immigrant active service members migrants are denied citizenship at a higher rate than foreign-born civilians.

Last year, an investigation from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discovered that over 500 of their employees were arrested on charges from bribery to domestic abuse in 2016 and 2017. Most of the crimes involved drugs or alcohol. CBP didn’t report the killings of five women by two different border agents in 2018. DHS found that corrupt border agents are so dangerous that they “pose a national security threat,” but the government pays tens of millions of dollars to settle wrongful death lawsuits involving border officials.

A jury is now deliberating in a trial against defendant Scott Warren, 36, in Tucson (AZ), who gave humanitarian aid—food, water, clean clothes, and beds—to two undocumented immigrants in Ajo (AZ). The prosecutors assert that they weren’t in distress and want to put him in prison for 20 years. The government accused Warren of telling the men how to avoid checkpoints because he “pointed north.” Warren volunteers for a humanitarian aid group, No More Deaths, that recovers bodies of migrants and provides water and other aid to the living. 

The International Red Cross code of conduct lists orientation—knowing location—as a basic human right along with food, water and shelter. A normal part of orientation is pointing out immoveable objects in the distance. Prosecutors also accused Warren of conspiring with aid worker Irineo Mujica, but they failed to present Warren’s email to other volunteers to touch base with the Mexican shelter operator before going there. Mujica was not asked about Warren in an interview with border patrol agents. The Border Patrol admits that no one is legally mandated to call police if they know someone is illegally in the U.S.

Arrests and treatment of asylum seekers isn’t the only area in which the United States comes in below countries according to an evaluation in 12 human rights categories from the Human Rights Measurement Initiative. Discrimination and safety from the state, including police shootings, were the other two with “strikingly poor results.” The U.S. scored 4.9 out of 10 in empowerment with three political and civil rights: the right to assembly and association; the right to opinion and expression; and the right to participate in government.

  • Freedom of expression in the U.S. scored 5.2, and people of color are least likely to have the right to participate in government because of voter suppression.
  • In “physical integrity rights”—the right to freedom from arbitrary arrest, disappearance, execution, and torture—the U.S. is only three places behind Saudi Arabia. Lethal force by police against blacks and other people of color puts the U.S. below Mexico and Brazil. The 992nd police shooting resulting in death—that of a man with a gun but not fleeing—occurred on the last day of 2018. Included in this category is also the deaths of children at the southern border and prisoners denied necessary medical care. Eighty percent of the reports’ experts cited the risk of torture for refugees or asylum seekers, especially LGBTQ people seeking protection.
  • Blacks were identified as being vulnerable to abuses of every measured right, and Native Americans were next in having rights violated.

HRMI co-founder Chad Clay said, “On civil and political rights, the United States is the worst performing high-income democracy in our sample.”

A new report shows what I’ve long believed—that privatization costs taxpayers money than government workers. DDT promised to shrink the government; instead he gave his business friends money by paying them to hire people who would do the work for government cheaper. The result is much higher cost and lower accountability. Private businesses get contracts with donations to politicians and then write the rules. In general, private workers outnumber “government” workers three to one.

A prime example of this abuse is private contractors detaining migrants. GEO received $480 million in federal funds, and CoreCivic got over $331 million since DDT was inaugurated. These contractors supposedly saves money for the U.S. with less staff, less training, and less programming—resulting in more abuse, illness, and deaths. The same companies make even more money by using heir “inmates” to carry out forced labor. GEO spent $1.56 million on lobbying in 2018 and contributed $275,000 to DDT’s super PAC Rebuilding America Now in 2016; CoreCivic gave $1.23 million lobying and $378,000 in campaign donations, 93 percent to Republicans, in 2018. 

John Kelly, former chief of staff and DHS director, has joined the board of Caliburn International, parent of the only private company operating migrant shelters. One of its facilities, located in Homestead (FL), is the only shelter not subject to state child-fare inspections. People have observed a number of abusive actions toward children in the facility. The Homestead “shelter” gets $750 a day for each child and currently has about 2,300 young people. (That’s $1,725,000—every day.) The average stay in 2019 is about 89 days. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) pointed out that Kelly is “cashing in” the same “cruel immigration policies” that he promoted and executed. Kelly backed DDT’s “zero tolerance” policy leading to forced separations of migrant children from their parents.

Other private contractors are being hired to transport hundreds of thousands of migrants throughout the United States.

Yes, Rep. Walden, that’s who “Americans” are.

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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