The furor over DHS/HHS treatment of children

Border Patrol temporary immigrant holding facility

There’s been a lot of heat but very little light the past couple of days because – the children!!!!! I’m sure you have all seen the photos of children in “cages”, or chain link holding facilities. Here’s one from four years ago:

Photo from 2014. Overflowing: The shelter at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas can no longer accommodate large numbers of children and mothers traveling with their kids.

The huge outcry today is because of politics, not primarily a tender concern for children. Anybody who believes otherwise is living in fairy land, or grossly ignorant of the facts.

Here is an article dated January 25, 2016. Barack Obama was POTUS. Instead of holding children in custody, HHS released children to adults who abused them.

AP INVESTIGATION: Feds’ failures imperil migrant children

Without enough beds to house the record numbers of young arrivals, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lowered its safety standards during border surges in the last three years to swiftly move children out of government shelters and into sponsors’ homes. The procedures were increasingly relaxed as the number of young migrants rose in response to spiraling gang and drug violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, according to emails, agency memos and operations manuals obtained by AP, some under the Freedom of Information Act.

First, the government stopped fingerprinting most adults seeking to claim the children. In April 2014, the agency stopped requiring original copies of birth certificates to prove most sponsors’ identities. The next month, it decided not to complete forms that request sponsors’ personal and identifying information before sending many of the children to sponsors’ homes. Then, it eliminated FBI criminal history checks for many sponsors.

Since the rule changes, the AP has identified more than two dozen children who were placed with sponsors who subjected them to sexual abuse, labor trafficking, or severe abuse and neglect.

“This is clearly the tip of the iceberg,” said Jacqueline Bhabha, research director at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. “We would never release domestic children to private settings with as little scrutiny.”

Advocates say it is hard to gauge the total number of children exposed to dangerous conditions among the more than 89,000 placed with sponsors since October 2013 because many of the migrants designated for follow-up were nowhere to be found when social workers tried to reach them.

I am sharing with you some of what I have learned over the past 24 hours about this matter. I hope that it helps you to understand the situation (other than that this is a political issue).

First, here is the official statement from DHS about facts and myths surrounding the issue of children traveling with families being separated from their parents.

Myth vs. Fact: DHS Zero-Tolerance Policy

It states, in part:

Fact

DHS does not have a blanket policy of separating families at the border.   However, DHS does have a responsibility to protect all minors in our custody.  This means DHS will separate adults and minors under certain circumstances.  These circumstances include: 1) when DHS is unable to determine the familial relationship, 2) when DHS determines that a child may be at risk with the parent or legal guardian, or 3) when the parent or legal guardian is referred for criminal prosecution. 

  • Familial Relationship – If there is reason to question the claimed familial relationship between an adult and child, it is not appropriate to detain adults and children together.
  • Human Trafficking and Smuggling – If there is reason to suspect the purported parent or legal guardian of human trafficking or smuggling, DHS detains the adult in an appropriate, secure detection facility, separate from the minor.  DHS continues to see instances and intelligence reports indicating minors are trafficked by unrelated adults, posing as a “family” in an effort to avoid detention.
  • Safety Risk – If there is reason to suspect the purported parent or legal guardian poses a safety risk to the child (e.g. suspected child abuse), it is not appropriate to maintain the adult and child together.
  • Criminal Prosecution – If an adult is referred for criminal prosecution, the adult will be transferred to U.S. Marshals Service custody and any children will be classified as an unaccompanied alien child and transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services custody.

In recent months, DHS has seen a staggering increase in the number of illegal aliens using children to pose as family units to gain entry into the United States. From October 2017 to February 2018, there was a 315 percent increase in the number of cases of adults with minors fraudulently posing as “family units” to gain entry.

Investor’s Business Daily

Department of Homeland Security said on Friday that 1,995 children had been separated from their illegal border crossing parents from mid-April through May. That number included, DHS said, cases where the adults were arrested for illegal entry, immigration violations, or possible criminal conduct.

First, it’s important to note that many of the “separations” don’t last long at all.

As Rich Lowry explains in a detailed article in National Review, “when a migrant is prosecuted for illegal entry, he or she is taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals,” in which case, as when other adults are incarcerated in the U.S., they are separated from their children.

Lowry notes that “The criminal proceedings are exceptionally short, assuming there is no aggravating factor such as a prior illegal entry or another crime. Migrants generally plead guilty, and then are sentenced to time served, typically all in the same day.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that Rio Grande Valley border agents prosecuted 568 adults and separated 1,174 children since the administration announced its “zero tolerance” policy in early April. However, it only took a matter of hours to reunite more than a third of these children with their parents.

Lowry notes that “The criminal proceedings are exceptionally short, assuming there is no aggravating factor such as a prior illegal entry or another crime. Migrants generally plead guilty, and then are sentenced to time served, typically all in the same day.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that Rio Grande Valley border agents prosecuted 568 adults and separated 1,174 children since the administration announced its “zero tolerance” policy in early April. However, it only took a matter of hours to reunite more than a third of these children with their parents.

THIS NEXT PART IS VERY IMPORTANT

Most of the concern about family separations centers on the administration’s handling of asylum seekers who’ve crossed the border illegally.

In the past, the practice has been to simply detain these families for a short time in an ICE facility. But rather than return for their asylum hearing, many just disappeared into the country.

Under the “zero tolerance” policy, Trump has tried to put an end to this “catch and release” policy, by arresting every adult caught illegally crossing the border.

If parents choose to seek asylum, they can end up separated from their children for months while the asylum process plays out.

The administration is right to point out, however, that there is a legal process for seeking asylum that won’t involve facing such a choice — just show up at a port of entry to make the asylum claim.

“As I have said many times before, if you are seeking asylum for your family, there is no reason to break the law and illegally cross between ports of entry,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted over the weekend.

Critics complain that the legal process just takes too long, as a way to justify illegal border crossings. But illegal border crossers are not only jumping the line. Under the old system they could vastly increase their chances of staying in the country — with or without gaining asylum status.

Another fact conveniently overlooked amid all the hysteria is that just because a group claims to be a family, doesn’t mean it’s true. The Department of Homeland Security says that from October 2017 to February 2018 it saw “a 315% increase in the number of cases with minors fraudulently posing as ‘family units’ to gain entry.”

Presumably that’s because they think posing as a family will improve their chances of avoiding deportation. Whatever the reason, those children’s separation from their parents occurred long before the border patrol showed up.

Another point – about which I have had a lot of trouble finding information – is the change in the law governing how long the government may hold children in “unlicensed facilities” and how said children must be treated (provision of food, water, heat/AC, information etc), and that seems to be divided into two parts. The first deals with a legal decision called the Flores Settlement, which took place in 1997. The second is changes/additions made to the original settlement in 2016 by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This document explains both pretty well, although I admit that I really don’t understand it completely:

United States Court Of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

The conclusion is that accompanied minors separated from their parents are to be treated the same way as unaccompanied minors, and that release of accompanying parents is not required. Apparently, this eliminated the use of family detention centers when the adults were detained for illegal entry.

This site provides links to related legal documents:

Documents Relating to Flores v. Reno Settlement Agreement on Minors in Immigration Custody

I welcome any and all facts anyone has to add!

 

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16 Responses to The furor over DHS/HHS treatment of children

  1. stella says:

    Someone on my daughter’s Facebook page just said this (after I had posted facts and real information):

    I was just talking to another friend about this exact thing—most conservatives believe that these families *deserve* the horrors that are happening to them, so appealing to their better natures on this issue has no effect at all. They voted for Trump because they wanted this.

    I responded with the AP article from 2016, saying that:

    I don’t believe that anyone deserves to be treated horribly. I do believe in individual responsibility. And I believe in the law. Apparently you disagree. This isn’t a new thing. If you believe that treatment of minors and accompanying adults during the prior administration was humane, then you are deluded.

    Liked by 3 people

    • stella says:

      She responded, “two wrongs don’t make a right”. I responded to her, “I want to find a solution. You want to call conservatives bad names. That’s the difference.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • stella says:

        Of course, she refuses to discuss this further, because she is very informed, and I have already admitted that I am in favor of detention of children. I told her that I freely admit to preferring detention to releasing children to rapists and child traffickers.

        Liked by 1 person

    • jeans2nd says:

      How ’bout child traffickers having slaves on chicken farms in Ohio? https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/29/us/politics/us-placed-immigrant-children-with-traffickers-report-says.html

      Last count there were some 150 found. So far.
      One of these chicken farms is just outside my town. And yes, we know, we report it, and, during Obama, NOTHING HAPPENS.

      We see these kids everywhere. They are always alone, or in their trafficked gangs, prob for safety b/c of stupid views like your daughter’s friend. We know who these kids are, where they are, and do our best to help. We want it stopped. Period.
      No one stops it No one listens.

      Perhaps, ask your daughter’s friend if she would like a little info from one with first-hand knowledge?
      Phooey.

      Liked by 2 people

    • lovely says:

      This is how I responded to a moron.

      The policy is not a Trump Administration policy, it is an Obama administration policy. The Keep Families together Act is legislation that does not allow for vetting of any type and does nothing to keep children safe or families together. Are you aware that by even the lowest estimate Mexican children who cross the the border into the United States are at least 25% unaccompanied minors and they are easy prey for child exploration. The policy allows the barbaric act of handing children over to predators who “claim” to be their parent, washing their hands of the turnover and congratulating themselves for an act of kindness. This is not kind, it is cruel, it is cruel to risk children in this way. Separating children from their parents is horrific and it requires a real solution not an “I feel good because I did this” solution.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/obama-administration-placed-children-with-human-traffickers-report-says/2016/01/28/39465050-c542-11e5-9693-933a4d31bcc8_story.html?utm_term=.19708b38d7a1

      Like

    • lovely says:

      AndI posted these pictures.

      2014^

      Like

    • jeans2nd says:

      Another 105 picked up yesterday at Freshmark in Salem, 20 min away.
      Which is why all my chicken is local, where one might see the chickens – and cows – being raised. Heck, the farm next door kept their Angus cows/calves in my front yard.

      No links; just local word-of-mouth. We know. There is another Freshmark in Canton.
      Can you imagine working in one of these places? Being picked up by ICE would be a blessing to these poor people. imo

      Perhaps your daughter’s friend might find her fellow man better served by directing her activism where it should be directed – at the owners and operators of these sweat shops.
      Why are the owners/operators never persecuted/prosecuted?

      Ah, well. C’est la vie. C’est la memes choses tous les jours.
      Obstreperous GDaughter is moving into her first apartment. OGD is not yet 21.
      She is receiving my nearly-new never-used big screen tv for her b’day.
      Such goes life.
      Stay clear of Freshmark chicken. Freshmark is evil.
      Have a Great Day.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. czarowniczy says:

    This has been going on for years, parent with children have been seperated unless, once caught, they were all just put on a bus and sent home. Thing is the situation’s such that you can’t just load ’em up and ship ’em home so you gotta put ’em somewhere and the system’s not set up for, nor should it be, to long term house families.
    If Trump weren’t in office then this wouldn’t be an issue, the sudden discovery is a manufactured ‘crisis’ that’s part of that ongoing dump-Trump campaign the Left has been pushing since day one.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. czarowniczy says:

    Discipline stats from my GGS’s pending school:

    Suspension rate for all students: 30% (state avg: 10%)
    Suspension rate for black students (78% of student population): 31% (state average: 15%)
    Suspension rate for white students (16% of student population): 23% (state average: 5%)
    Suspension rate for hispanic students (3% of student population): 42% (state average: 6%)

    Like

  4. Lucille says:

    When all else fails, lie. Or lie to begin with. Those who don’t check for facts outside the Democrat plantation of course refuse to talk about it. They don’t want to waste their purity on the likes of righties. Documented evidence? Not interested!

    This “immigration’ issue is the meme of the day for lefties. It was likely planned and coordinated some time ago as a diversionary message to the masses so they won’t listen to what’s happening with the IG Report. Lefties are being aided and abetted by just about all the major religious groups in the U.S. and in a certain walled city state in Europe. They think this is their ticket to regaining the House and Senate in 2018 plus defeating President Trump in 2020.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lucille says:

    There’s SO many lies being spread by Democrats. Here’s the biggest lie.
    Tipping Point With Liz Wheeler on OAN

    Like

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