St. Cloud, Somali Refugees, Border Patrol Two-Step, and What You Can Do

Refugees welcome

After last week’s New York Times article, the St. Cloud Times fired back with an eloquent editorial and call to action. The Star Tribune chimed in with an explanation of how Somali refugees came to Minnesota. On the national scene, the  Border Patrol moved around children and directors on Tuesday. If you were horrified by the reports of detention conditions for children, get in line—and learn how you can help.

Spotlight on St. Cloud

Last week, the New York Times featured St. Cloud racists in a long article that also included comments from Center for the American Experiment vice president and general counsel Kim Crockett about  how “visible” refugees are because “They aren’t coming from Norway.”

The St. Cloud Times published an extremely strong and well-written editorial:

“St. Cloud, we have a problem. And it’s costing us dearly in respect, dignity and treasure.

“Our problem is not refugees….

“Our real problem is that there are too many cowards in our midst.

“Cowards who blanch at the idea of Somalis “just walking around” on a public trail….

“Cowards who are too afraid to shop, dine or relax in contrived “no-go zones” also used by people “not from Norway” who like to shop, dine and relax….

“America is struggling with its original sin — racism — more openly now than it has in decades. St. Cloud just became a poster child for the wrong side. Again.  

“That is because of the un-American cowardice of the minority who hide their deep-seated insecurities behind the bravado of false patriotism — a milquetoast patriotism that venerates the flag and Lee Greenwood songs over the bedrock principle of America: All men are created equal.

“Prove your courage. Speak up.”

The Center for the American Experiment suspended Crockett for 30 days and she said her quotes did not represent what she thought. An interesting position, to say the least.

Border Patrol Two-Step

The Border Patrol started by transferring 300 children out of the miserable detention center in Clint, Texas, where lawyers reported children being told to care for babies, and denial of adequate food, toothbrushes, soap, and showers. But then, in a neat little two-step move, the Border Patrol brought 100 of the children back. Lawyers and advocates said that the detention centers to which the children were moved were also overcrowded and lacking in basic necessities.

“The lawyers’ accounts prompted a significant public backlash, after which all but 30 of the roughly 300 children who were being housed in Clint were transferred elsewhere. Some 249 were placed in a shelter network for children run by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, while others were moved to a tent facility in El Paso run by Customs and Border Protection.

“But on Tuesday, the C.B.P. official said that those moves had alleviated overcrowding in Clint, and allowed for the return of more than 100 children there. The spokesman said that no additional resources had been provided to the children who were sent back.”

That wasn’t the only significant move by the Border Patrol: the acting chief, John Sanders, resigned on Tuesday.

“Chaos intensified on Tuesday inside the agency responsible for securing the nation’s borders as a top official was replaced by an immigration hard-liner and former Fox News contributor who last week pushed for nationwide deportations.

“Mark Morgan, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director who pushed for raids to deport undocumented families, will lead Customs and Border Protection, administration officials said Tuesday.”

What You Can Do Right Now to Help Immigrant Families

Want to help the kids? A lot of people have offered everything from teddy bears to homes, but the Border Patrol is turning away donations and offers of help:

“A slew of other sympathetic people, advocacy groups and lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have expressed a desire to lend a hand to the kids housed in the facilities. But after purchasing items like toys, soap, toothbrushes, diapers and medicine — especially as news reports circulate of facilities having drinking water that tastes like bleach and sick children without enough clothing — they’ve been met with a common message: No donations are being accepted.

“It makes me feel powerless knowing there’s children taking care of toddlers and little kids,” said Gabriel Acuña, who grew up in Clint and attempted to visit the facility in his hometown Sunday morning. “Knowing what’s happening in your community and that you can’t give these kids supplies to clean or clothe themselves — it’s heartbreaking.

“For God’s sake, they’re kids, man.”

You can help: the best way is by getting the kids out of detention. For those with parents in the United States, that may mean raising funds to bond their parents out of immigration detention. In Minnesota, that means the MInnesota Freedom Fund.

For other kinds of help, see the great list of humanitarian organizations helping families on the border compiled by the Texas Tribune.

Other how-to-help pages:

And if you want to show your anger about the injustices, you don’t  have to go as far as the religious leaders who shut down the Milwaukee ICE office. Instead, you could  join others in a protest at Lake and Nicollet on Sunday, June 30.

And in other news

The House passed the “emergency supplemental”  appropriations bill sending more money to ICE and the Border Patrol and other immigration-related agencies by a 230-195 vote. The only Democrats voting against the bill were Representatives Ocasio, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib, who oppose any additional funding for immigration agencies.. Republicans and the White House back the Senate version of the emergency supplemental appropriation.

“The backdrop for the vote is not only the humanitarian concerns about the surging numbers of migrants but also Trump’s threats — delayed but not canceled Saturday — to begin a mass deportation of illegal immigrant families. Democratic lawmakers has expressed concerns about passing a border aid bill that would not address both of those issues.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.) unveiled changesto the bill Tuesday morning that would require CBP to establish new health and safety standards for migrants in its custody, as well as protocols for dealing with migrant surges, within 30 days. The changes would also limit children’s stays at “influx shelters” used by the Department of Health and Human Services to no more than 90 days and require the department to report to Congress on their use.

“Additional changes Lowey unveiled Tuesday afternoon would bar HHS shelter contractors who do not provide adequate accommodations, food and personal items, such as toothbrushes, as well as routine medical care, schooling, leisure activities, and other basic services.”

 

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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