Separating children from their parents: terror, despair, suicide

IMG_0816Today’s email brought news of a distraught Honduran dad who killed himself in a U.S. jail after his three-year-old son was taken from him. 658 children were taken from their parents from May 6-May 19. That’s an average of 47 children every day, one child every 30 minutes. .

While I am on vacation this week, I cannot ignore the continuing cruelty and chaos caused by our deadly anti-family immigration policies. Please read at least one of these articles, send it to your friends, and call your Congress members.

A family was separated at the border and this distraught father took his own life. (Washington Post, 6/9/18) After Muñoz, his wife, and their three-year-old-son crossed the border May 12, border agents separated the family. When Muñoz refused to give up his son, they forcibly pulled the child from his arms. He killed himself in jail.

“The death of Marco Antonio Muñoz, 39, has not been publicly disclosed by the Department of Homeland Security, and it did not appear in any local news accounts. But according to a copy of a sheriff’s department report obtained by The Washington Post, Muñoz was found on the floor of his cell May 13 in a pool of blood with an item of clothing twisted around his neck.”

Separating children from their parents is a new low for our immigration system (The Nation, 6/9/18)

“They arrive at the border with nothing, stripped of their money, their homes and often, their dignity. Now the United States is robbing them of the one thing they’ve miraculously clung to through their journey: each other.” 

People are breaking U.S. law at the border, but it’s not asylum seekers—It’s the U.S. government (Advocates for Human Rights, 6/8/18)

Everyone has the right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution. This is the law – both under international law and federal statute. Recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and spelled out in the 1951 Refugee Convention , the United States made good on its commitment to the this principle in 1980 when the Refugee Act was signed into law.

“This right ensures that people fleeing persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group have a chance to make their claim before being returned to death, torture, imprisonment, or other human rights violations….

“We need zero tolerance for human rights violations, not for people seeking asylum.

“We need zero tolerance for public policy based on hate, racism, and xenophobia. ”

Dem Congresswoman: Imprisoned, asylum-seeking women have no idea where their children are (The Hill, 6/9/18) Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) reported what she discovered by speaking to detained migrant women:

“A huge number of them are mothers whose children were taken away from them when they were apprehended at the border or when they turned themselves in,” Jayapal said.

“They literally never had a chance to say goodbye to their children. Some of the children are as young as 6, perhaps younger. These women have no idea, in the vast majority of these cases, where their children are,” she added.

Dem Congresswoman: Imprisoned, asylum-seeking women have no idea where their children are (The Hill, 6/9/18) Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) reported what she discovered by speaking to detained migrant women:

“A huge number of them are mothers whose children were taken away from them when they were apprehended at the border or when they turned themselves in,” Jayapal said.

“They literally never had a chance to say goodbye to their children. Some of the children are as young as 6, perhaps younger. These women have no idea, in the vast majority of these cases, where their children are,” she added.

‘They just took them?’ Frantic parents separated from their kids fill courts at border (Washington Post, 6/9/18)

For the first time, federal courtrooms here and across the Southwest are being flooded with distraught mothers and fathers who have been charged with misdemeanor illegal entry and separated from their children — a shift in policy touted by the administration as a way to stop families from trying to reach the United States but decried by critics as traumatizing and inhumane. Last month a Honduran father separated from his wife and 3-year-old son killed himself in a Texas jail cell, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

immigration Court Backlog Jumps While Case Processing Slows (TRAC-Syracuse University, 6/8/18)

“The Immigration Court’s backlog keeps rising. As of the end of May 2018, the number of cases waiting decision reached an all-time high of 714,067. This compares with a court backlog of 542,411 cases at the end of January 2017 when President Trump assumed office. During his term the backlog has increased by almost a third (32%) with 171,656 more cases added.”

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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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