‘Not now, not ever’: international relations via Twitter

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Trump’s latest campaign-rally promise of a wall  to be paid for by Mexico was met with a prompt and vehement response from Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who tweeted (in Spanish and English):

“President @realDonaldTrump: NO. Mexico will NEVER pay for a wall. Not now, not ever.

“Sincerely, Mexico (all of us).”

This Twitter spat seems almost like comic relief, which shows how awful immigration news continues to be. The latest focus continues to be on administration insistence on separating families, taking children away from their parents and stashing them somewhere, anywhere else, even as U.S. government shelters for children fill to capacity.

Meanwhile, Central Americans seeking asylum plead guilty to unauthorized entry as they are processed in batches of 30 or 40, with completely inadequate time for legal consultation or representation in a travesty of due process.

In other news: You can make a difference.

  • Klobuchar staff met with protesters on May 30
  • Paulsen signed on to discharge petition
  • National Day of Action for Children on June 1: While this site doesn’t list any Twin Cities events, I have heard of one taking place at the fountain at the Hennepin County Government Center at noon on Friday, June 1.

Children suffer as administration targets families seeking asylum

The real immigration crisis isn’t missing children. It’s family separation (Vox, 5/301/8) Family separation makes it much harder for children to apply for asylum.

Both stories raised concerns about the same issue: how the United States treats children who enter the country without legal status. But advocates worry significantly more about the new policy of separation than the so-called “missing” children. They fear that this policy — which has already led to more than 600 children being separated from their parents — will create traumatic situations for families and overwhelm the very immigration infrastructure put in place to protect these minors….

And keep in mind that these individuals have not been convicted of crimes. Many are arriving in the United States planning to seek asylum from horrific violence in Central America, particularly Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. The United Nations estimates that the number of refugees seeking asylum from these places has increased sixteenfold since 2011.”

Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ at the border is causing child shelters to fill up fast (Washington Post, 5/29/18) Shelters are 95% full, more children being removed from parents, and HHS now cooperating in giving information about sponsor relatives to ICE.

The number of migrant children held in U.S. government custody without their parents has surged 21 percent in the past month, according to the latest figures, an increase driven by the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” crackdown on families who cross the border illegally.

“Although the government has not disclosed how many children have been separated from their parents as a result of the new measures, the Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that it had 10,773 migrant children in its custody, up from 8,886 on April 29.”

ICE is sending a message to the world’s asylum seekers: The US is no place of refuge (The Nation, 5/29/18) Story after story after story of individual asylum seekers victimized by the U.S immigration system.

Despite mixed messaging from the Trump administration, the last year has seen the implementation of a barrage of hard-line immigration policies that, especially when taken collectively, send a stark message to potential asylum seekers: Stay away. If asylum seekers do not heed that message (many of them, like Rosa, have no other choice), they face prolonged detention, separation from their children, and humiliating, denigrating, and even inhumane conditions as they make their case for protective status.

“By all national and international legal standards, seeking asylum is a lawful act, and asylum seekers should not be punished or detained for doing so.”

https://www.thenation.com/article/ice-is-sending-a-message-to-the-worlds-asylum-seekers-the-us-is-no-place-of-refuge/

Hidden horrors of ‘zero tolerance’—mass trials and children taken from their parents (The Intercept, 5/29/18)

The anguish that parents communicated in [Judge] Morgan’s courtroom, and the spectacle of dozens of migrants being convicted and sentenced en masse, in proceedings lasting just a few minutes and with only the most perfunctory legal representation, has shocked courthouse employees.”

You can make a difference

Protesters call on Klobuchar’s help on Border Patrol (CBS, 5/30/18)

Between May 6th and 19th, 658 children were separated at the border from the adults they traveled with….

Members of Klobuchar’s office met with the group [of protesters] Wednesday morning and told them the Senator shares their concerns and has called for an investigation.”

Rep. Erik Paulsen is the picture of a loyal Republican in the House. So why has he joined the revolt on immigration policy? (MinnPost, 5/30/18)

Paulsen joined a group of 23 House Republicans, most of them centrists or top targets for Democrats in this fall’s midterm elections, who have signed on to what’s called a “discharge petition,” a parliamentary maneuver that requires a simple majority of the House to force a vote on legislation….

“Before Trump’s DACA moved sparked public outcry, however, Paulsen was less willing to buck his party’s leadership on immigration. In 2010, he voted against the DREAM Act when it came to the House floor; in 2014, he voted in favor of a measure to undo temporary protections from deportation for Dreamers put in place by the Barack Obama administration.

“In that light, Paulsen’s support of the discharge petition was viewed with cynicism from Democrats. Javier Morillo, head of Minnesota’s chapter of the Service Employees International Union, said Paulsen has repeatedly failed immigrant communities in Minnesota. “This deathbed conversion is welcome, but his otherwise blind support for Trump makes it a day late and a dollar short,” Morillo said.

“Paulsen may be wagering that supporting the discharge petition will improve his standing among swing voters more than it diminishes his reputation among core GOP voters…

And in other news

Amid crime drop, Trump calls to toughen immigration laws (PBS Frontline, 5/24/18)

Since his election, Trump has zeroed in on violence in the area from MS-13, using the gang’s often vicious tactics to underscore his call to tighten immigration laws across the board.

“In The Gang Crackdown, FRONTLINE reported on how Long Island has seen a spate of gruesome murders by MS-13 — a street gang formed by Salvadoran refugees in Los Angeles during the 1980s. In 2016 and 2017, 25 people were killed by gang members across Suffolk and Nassau counties. …

But at the roundtable with the president yesterday, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said “there has not been an MS-13 murder in Suffolk County since April 2017.” A spokesperson from the police department later told FRONTLINE that violent crime in Suffolk County has dropped by 23 percent over the past year.”

Despite the drop in crime, the president’s rhetoric about “animals” leads a hard-line policy that targets Central American teens who have no actual gang connection at all.

“FRONTLINE reviewed about a dozen cases where minors arrested by ICE due to incidents that occurred at school. Some were labelled as gang members or associates after writing the number “503,” the area code of El Salvador, in a notebook at school; wearing black Nike Cortez sneakers; a Brooklyn Nets hat; and being seen affiliating with “known MS-13 gang members,” according to ICE memos and legal documents.”

For immigrant students, a new worry: a call to ICE (New York Times, 5/30/18) For a Houston high school senior, trouble started when “a schoolyard scuffle with a girl who he said had called him a racial epithet had gotten him arrested by his high school’s police officer.”

“The case of the “quiet kid who was good at soccer” hauled from high school to a deportation center turned Mr. Rivera-Sarmiento into a cause célèbre in Houston, a textbook case of what immigration advocacy groups fear could happen as schools tighten discipline in the wake of school shootings, the police ratchet up sweeps for gang members and local law enforcement draws closer to the federal immigration authorities.”

A transgender woman who was part of the migrant caravan has died in ICE custody (Buzzfeed, 5/30/18)

“[Roxana] Hernandez asked for asylum at the San Ysidro port of entry on May 9, according to Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which organized the caravan. The group said she was first detained by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in holding cells known as “iceboxes” because of how cold they are.

“In addition to being cold, Pueblo Sin Fronteras said, Hernandez lacked adequate food and medical care and was held in a cell where the lights were turned on 24 hours a day. On May 16, she was then taken to a transgender unit at the Cibola County Correctional Center, a federal prison facility in Milan, New Mexico, that contracts with ICE.

“The following day Hernandez was admitted to Cibola General Hospital and was later transferred via air ambulance to Albuquerque’s Lovelace Medical Center, where she remained in the intensive care unit until she died on May 25. The preliminary cause of death was cardiac arrest, according to ICE….

“Four months before joining the caravan, Hernandez said, she was walking home when MS-13 gang members started screaming “We don’t want you in this neighborhood, you fucking faggot” at her before gang-raping her.”

‘I’ll be killed if I go back’: Undocumented immigrant refuses to board flight at JFK (Washington Post, 5/27/18)

“ICE agents opened the van’s door and ordered him out. But Gbohoutou, with shackled hands, said he held fast to the seat. He was afraid to return to the Central African Republic, where he said his mother had been killed.

“As suitcase-toting bystanders looked on, Gbohoutou said, an ICE agent struck him on the legs with a baton while others tried to yank him out of the van.

“Eventually, the ICE agents cut the seat belt with a knife — nicking Gbohoutou’s hand — before handcuffing him to a wheelchair and taking him to his flight, he claimed. But the airline refused to take an unwilling passenger, Gbohoutou said, and ICE was forced to return him — at least temporarily — to his cell.

“Justine W. Whelan, an ICE spokeswoman, said in a statement that “all allegations of physical abuse and mistreatment by ICE officers in this case are patently false.”

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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