Trump Regime Faces More Heat for Illegal Imprisonments of Children
There is one positive which has come from the White House’s recent policy on detaining kids separate from their parents. It has exposed the true heartlessness and incompetence of the Trump administration for all to see.
The truth is bubbling out in multiple cases. One of the most recent ones involved a teenager referred to in court documents only as L.V.M.
This boy was born in El Salvador. His family had escaped from gang violence in their home country, fleeing north in fear for their lives across the Mexican border and into the United States. The family applied for asylum and was granted it.
After, L.V.M. had assimilated well into school and had no disciplinary problems. He always went home to his family every night.
That was the case until something ugly happened, something which comes only with the distrust of cultures and being all too ready to assume the worst about someone. L.V.M. made a hand gesture in a high school hallway, and someone thought it was a gang symbol. It wasn’t, but nobody took the time to investigate before what happened next.
Upon the false accusation of a possible gang connection, U.S. immigration authorities swooped in and took L.V.M. out of school, into detention, and away from his family. For seven months L.V.M. was stuck there, while terrified of what might happen in detention and if he would ever get out.
The justification for what had happened was that L.V.M. might be a threat to other students if – emphasize “if” – he was affiliated with a dangerous gang somewhere. Yet the boy was detained without any provable provocation to anyone else and with zero investigation to determine if he posed any threat to anyone. There was also no history of any possible connection with gangs, or any past problems in the school or elsewhere.
The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) took on the case for the 17-year-old. He had been thrown into detention because of a cultural misread of a simple hand gesture. Then he was kept there because of an arbitrary and brutal process put in place by Office of Refugee Resettlement head Scott Lloyd.
Lloyd, the Trump appointee put in charge of that agency, has no experience, training, or education of any kind in social work. Yet he is the one responsible for making decisions on policy and process for the rounding up, detention and release of immigrant children.
Almost immediately after Lloyd was put in charge of the agency, he immediately put in place a directive that required him to sign off personally on the release of each specific child in detention. That was supposedly done because of reports, many of which were simply
coming from Donald Trump’s mouth and Tweets, that there were suspicions of MS-13 gang activity that needed to be addressed. Besides that Lloyd had no background to help him make such decisions, the sheer bureaucracy of requiring the head of the entire agency to weigh in on every release made it close to impossible for him to get those wrongly detained out – at least in any reasonable period of time.
The U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty, the judge who heard L.V.M.’S case, all but demanded the release of L.V.M. during a hearing on June 7 that ran almost five hours. In it he strongly criticized the government for what they had done, telling a government attorney that, “I don’t understand how you could possibly justify what happened to L.V.M.” Judge Crotty further said that what Lloyd had set up in the Office of Refugee Resettlement was arbitrary and impulsive to an extreme. He said that, “So far as I can gather, there was no process at all here.” He went on to describe what Lloyd was doing as “ipse dixit”, a Latin term which translates as “he said it himself”, with no steps at all to help regulate the process the lunatic Lloyd was responsible for.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Byars defended the approach Lloyd was doing before the court. He said there that, “There’s nothing inappropriate in involving people at headquarters about these decisions.” He claimed the flow of decisions was moving along fine, despite evidence to the contrary.
The NYCLU’S lead attorney, Paige Austin, argued from the other side that the requirement for every release to go to Lloyd’s desk for approval has created a major “bottleneck”. Byars disagreed, saying that “The idea that there is a logjam is based on a faulty statistic.”
That statistic, which is far from faulty and is easily verified, shows that under Lloyd, children stay in the detention process for an average of 242 days. A full one-fifth of all children who enter detention actually “age out” of the system before reconnecting with their families or resettling.
The NYCLU for its part said that the change in policy is arbitrary and capricious. The group says it is in direct violation of the Administrative Procedures Act and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which require that children in the agency’s hands must be “promptly placed in the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child”.
Strengthened by the court decision in L.V.M.’S case, the NYCLU is moving to turn what happened to L.V.M into a class action. Judge Crotty did not yet issue his formal ruling in the current case but said he would be doing so very soon. The ugliest aspect to the whole proceedings is the way the government continues to operate in a way which seems devoid of not just legal process but also of sheer humanity. Even though the current case may have gone as bad as it did because L.V.M. was part of a family seeking asylum, one can easy read between the lines here to know that the same administration could just as easily put! any other child into detention if it was felt to be justified. The detention camps Trump’s people put in place to house the children ripped from their families for the “crime” of seeking asylum could be only the beginning.
The illegal imprisonment of immigrant children is not just Trump's doing. Since 2001, the U.S. has maintained secret prisons for immigrants across the country and has imprisoned children indefinitely in inhuman conditions.
Many Americans are not taking Trump's crimes against children lying down and hundreds of thousands of people have been protested Trump's abuse of children. However, much more is needed.
Regime change is needed but Americans also must fix what is wrong with themselves that manifests such barbarity and insanity on so many levels and evolve beyond the delusion that we live in a democracy and stop playing the two party voting game.