When immigration policy is deliberately based on cruelty


Last week, House Republicans began signing a discharge petition that would get a vote on DACA and other immigration legislation. If only 25 Republicans sign, along with all of the Democrats, the House would get to vote. By Monday afternoon, they were still six Republicans short of the number needed. The Los Angeles Times reports that, frightened and confused by multiple court challenges and political rhetoric, some DACA recipients have not renewed. They should: right now.

At Vox, Matthew Yglesias says Trump’s immigration policy is based on deliberate, intentional cruelty. Other articles look at specific policies of separating parents and children at the border and of barring victims of domestic violence from seeking asylum.

In other news: Border Patrol fails to count deaths at border, Seniors need immigrant caregivers

DACA: Still waiting

My sister has called America home for 20 years—Now you want to deport her? (Newsweek, 5/14/18)

“I was born in the United States, and, for most of my life, I thought my older sister was too.

I learned about my sister Yatziri’s immigration status one afternoon when I found her crying in the kitchen. She was crying because she was not going to be able to go to college. I asked why. “She explained, “I don’t have papers.”

“I didn’t understand at first. But I quickly learned. At the age of 12, I realized that my older sister could one day be taken away from me….

“To members of Congress, I say: it has been over 200 days since Trump ended DACA and of your inaction, we cannot wait any longer.”

Seven more Republicans could force a vote on ‘dreamers’ (Washington Post, 5/13/18) Why is this so difficult?

“A floor vote sounds like a modest goal; a bill would still need Senate support and then a signature from Mr. Trump, whose erstwhile professions of “love” for dreamers have turned to dust.”

Confusion, calculation, and fear keeping DACA recipients from renewing their status while they can (Los Angeles Times, 5/11/18)

“Lawyers, activists and people enrolled in DACA say that part of the reason for the slow pace is confusion spawned by court fights. Part is also anxiety spawned by the unforgiving enforcement policies of the Trump administration.”

“We’re telling people, ‘You need to renew.’ The problem is, they don’t trust that anymore,” said Elias Rosenfeld, a student and activist who was able to renew his own DACA protections. “It’s real fragile right now.”

Cruelty as policy

Cruelty is the defining characteristic of Donald Trump’s politics and policy (Vox, 5/14/18)

“The NPR interviewer was wrong to suggest the policy is “heartless,” which implies indifference to the human suffering involved. … The separation policy is anything but indifferent. It’s cruel.

“The point is to find a route within the bounds of the various applicable legal constraints for security forces to inflict as much suffering as possible on people seeking entry to the United States. The harmfulness of the policy isn’t incidental — it’s the whole point, and it’s par for the course from an administration for whom cruelty is a watchword.” 

Separating families at the border: A costly practice (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)

“Maria*, a young mother, was abused and forced into sex trafficking by a local gang in her home country of Guatemala. Maria eventually escaped this situation and fled to the U.S. with her three-year-old son, Jose, in search of protection. When Customs and Border Protection agents apprehended Maria and Jose at the border, they chose to separate Maria from her toddler, seemingly convinced that she was Jose’s aunt. Consequently, Jose was deemed “unaccompanied” and transferred to the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and Maria was transferred to adult detention. Maria remains detained and has yet to be reunified with her son.”

The UCCB enumerates negative impacts of the practice of separating parents and children: high financial cost to U.S. taxpayers, hindrance to judicial efficiency, harm to vulnerable children, and finally—this will not stop parents from seeking safety in the U.S. 

Families who cross the border won’t stay together (Christianity Today, 5/11/18) Quoting Sam Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC):

“What we currently have are laws that encourage the dissolution of the family before immigrants leave their country of origin or likewise threaten to tear them apart once they are here illegally,” said Rodriguez (who also serves as a CT board member).

“An example of the former [is] when struggling families send their underage children to cross the border assuming they’ll successfully be granted asylum because of their age. A parent who wants the best for their child might do that thinking they’ve done something positive, but we just inadvertently incentivized a family to break apart.”

A war on women at the U.S. border (The Nation, 5/8/18)

“The White House is currently seeking to overturn a long-standing legal principle in immigration law providing asylum protection for victims of domestic abuse. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has set his sights on the migrant women—particularly those fleeing violence-racked communities in the Global South—so desperate to escape their homes they sought refuge in another country. In addition to the administration’s new policy of splitting migrant families at the border by detaining parents and children in separate facilities—a practice condemned as dangerous and abusive—Sessions is now challenging an individual asylum case with the aim of shredding humanitarian precedents for all migrants fleeing domestic violence.” https://www.thenation.com/article/a-war-on-women-at-the-us-border/

And in other news

Border Patrol failed to count hundreds of migrant deaths on U.S. soil (CNN, 5/14/18) CNN has counted more than 500 deaths that were not recorded by the Border Patrol. That’s not everybody. This long article details the difficulties in counting deaths and identifies the places where they are most likely to go uncounted.

“From his small mountain town in the Ecuadorian Andes, Darwin Cabrera made the long, dangerous journey through Central America and Mexico and finally across the Rio Grande, into the United States.

“But on June 3, 2014, just after he crossed illegally into El Paso, Texas, Border Patrol agents spotted him with other crossers on Sixth Street. As they gave chase, the 18-year-old dove into one of the canals flanking the US side of the river. He didn’t surface….

“But even though Border Patrol agents saw him go in and saw his body come out, his death did not count in their eyes. ”

How Trump’s immigration policies could hurt senior care (Time, 5/10/18)

“When Norma was recently injured in a car accident, she had to take time off from her job caring for a 93-year-old woman in California’s San Fernando Valley. While she was away, her client fell down and ended up hospitalized….

“But Norma worries that even after she is able to return to work, she won’t be able to stay on the job for long for a very different reason: her immigration status. Norma, who asked that her last name not be used in this story, grew up in El Salvador, but received temporary permission to live in the United States in 2001 after a series of earthquakes rocked her home country….

“Though it’s difficult to tell exactly how many direct care workers could be affected by changing immigration laws, one in four workers are immigrants, according to the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute. About 34,600 workers are non-U.S. citizens from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua, all of which are set to lose TPS in the next two years, according to the institute, and another 11,000 hail from countries that fall under President Trump’s travel ban while 69,800 direct care workers are non-U.S. citizens from Mexico.”



About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet, www.tcdailyplanet.net, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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