Trump Regime Faces More Heat for Il­le­gal Im­pris­on­ments of Chil­dren

Trillions - - Contents -

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.

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