As the Spotlight Moves On, Children are Becoming Orphans

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as the media coverage of the border crisis recedes considerably, the fate of innocent children is at stake. it is estimated that over 400 children are still not back together with their families, and the administration has been unable to locate the parents who have been deported. weeks have passed and the government's court-ordered mandate to reunify families has come and gone. currently, there seems to be no clear plan to complete the reunifications while One district judge warns that "for every parent not located, there will be a permanently orphaned child."

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The court-ordered mandate has come and gone and while many families have been reunited, hundreds of children remain under the care of the federal government, indefinitely.

The problem is that many parents were already deported at the time of reunification while the children remained in the US. This has created a cluster of confusion and finger pointing as the administration suggests that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the organization that filed the initial lawsuit against the government, should use its "considerable resources" to track down parents and for each one of them (the parents) to certify that they want their child back. After these criteria are met, the administration will work with foreign governments to further these efforts.

Lawyers for the ACLU pushed back in filings that demand that the U.S. government bear the burden of correcting this problem, and offered to assist as much as possible, though it had been disclosed that information that the ACLU has received about deported parents is in most cases incomplete.

The ACLU added that the government has refused to provide the information needed to track down the deported parents after they leave. Officials provided the ACLU with a list of addresses, lawyers said, but many of them contained only a city name. About 120 parents had no “potentially viable” address listed at all.

The ACLU said the government had access to the deported parents’ phone numbers, but did not attempt to use them before the reunification deadlines. They called on the administration to provide “as much information as possible, as quickly as possible. (source: The Independent)

To learn more about the ACLU's petition to end the separation of families, click here.

District Judge Dana Sabrow will make the final decision in court though according to the latest proceedings, he is not impressed with what he's hearing -

Bickering over the reunifications continued at a court conference in San Diego on Friday, where U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw told Department of Justice lawyers he found their submission “disappointing.”

“The reality is there are still close to 500 parents that have not been located. … All of this is the result of the government’s separation, and then inability and failure to track and reunite,” Sabraw said. “For every parent who is not located, there will be a permanently orphaned child. And that is 100 percent the responsibility of the administration.” (source: The Texas Tribune)

SO WHAT CAN WE DO?

Many people are left feeling despondent over the news of what is happening at the border. Children are becoming orphans right under our noses as officials try to pass the responsibility to civil organizations to sort out this mess. The problem is not going away on its own.

Staying current with the latest news on the border, sharing what you read, your thoughts and ideas with us on our Mindfulness Together Facebook and Twitter pages, will help to keep this issue alive with everyday people.

In addition, an organization called K.I.N.D. - Kids In Need of Defense - is working full-time to educate the public and empower individuals to keep the pressure on the administration until this issue is fully and appropriately resolved. You can learn more about KIND by clicking here.

ActBlue has vetted a number of charities working to support kids who were separated from their parents at the border. To donate and learn more, click here.

Engage directly with your Senators and Representatives. Here are some suggestions from the KIND website:

  • Do not trade family separation with unlimited family detention and lack of due process. Demand that President Trump, DHS Secretary Nielsen, and Attorney General Sessions end all family separation and detention through social media, letters, appropriations, and in Congressional hearings
  • Support efforts to defund family separation in appropriations and decrease funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices within the Department of Justice
  • Urge your Member of Congress to cosponsor the following legislation:
    • S. 3036 – Keep Families Together Act
    • H.R. 2572 – Protect Family Values at the Border Act
    • H.R. 5950 & S.2937 – The HELP Separated Children Act
    • H.R. 2043 & S. 2468 – Fair Day in Court for Kids Act of 2018
    • H.R. 6193 – The Central America Family Protection and Reunification Act

Remember that your voice makes a difference and your focus and attention can keep government accountable.

By Michael J Krass

Articles quoted:

"Trump administration ‘washing its hands’ of deported parents of migrant children, advocates warn," article by Emily Shugerman, The Independent.

"The government hasn’t found 410 migrant parents deported without their kids," by Emma Platoff, The Texas Tribune.

 

casey altman