The nightmare at the border continues, where children continue to be separated from their parents at unforeseen rates due to the policy introduced by Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice in April. The total number of children taken from their families now exceeds 2,300, and is expected to top 4,000 soon.
It seems like new soul-wrenching stories emerge every hour, and it’s incumbent on us to bear witness to them all, painful as it may be, because disengaging is a victory for those who perpetrate these atrocities.
Here are the five most recent updates you missed Tuesday afternoon and night.
1. We now know that toddlers and infants are being held in “tender age” facilities.
Here’s Rachel Maddow breaking the news last night on MSNBC. Well, attempting to break the news:
The story came from the AP:
Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other young children forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border to at least three “tender age” shelters in South Texas, The Associated Press has learned.
Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the Rio Grande Valley shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis. The government also plans to open a fourth shelter to house hundreds of young migrant children in Houston, where city leaders denounced the move Tuesday.
Here's the sentence Maddow couldn't finish:
And here's a picture of one such detainee—a 12-month-old girl.
2. It has been confirmed that some of the family separations will be permanent
Due to the combination of cruelty and rank incompetence on the part of Homeland Security and the DOJ, we suspected all along that many of these children would be lost in the system. Now, courtesy of NBC News and former ICE director John Sandweg, we know.
While a parent can quickly move from detention to deportation, a child's case for asylum or deportation may not be heard by a judge for several years because deporting a child is a lower priority for the courts, Sandweg explained.
“You could easily end up in a situation where the gap between a parent's deportation and a child's deportation is years,” Sandweg said.
As a result, parents may find themselves back in their home countries struggling to find their children. Many do not have access to legal counsel or understand the U.S. immigration or judicial systems.
Again, this happened at the best of times, and now that family separation is enshrined in policy, we're seeing the effects Sandweg predicted:
But already, immigration lawyers in the U.S. and Central America say many parent immigrants who have been deported are having a hard time locating their children. The Trump administration's “zero tolerance” policy was announced in April.
This jives with what we already know about the systemic failures, where the “alien number” assigned to children and parents by Homeland Security becomes extremely difficult to track once the kids are released into Health and Human Services and the parents are moved on to the Department of Justice.
Under the zero-tolerance policy, border crossers are arrested and charged with a crime before being placed in immigration detention. If they came with their children, the children are turned over to O.R.R. and treated as though they travelled to the U.S. alone. No protocols have been put in place for keeping track of parents and children concurrently, for keeping parents and children in contact with each other while they are separated, or for eventually reuniting them.
“No protocols.” Great.
3. DSA activists interrupted Kirstjen Nielsen's dinner and chased her from a Mexican restuarant
While chanting slogans like “If kids don't eat in peace, you don't eat in peace,” activists in Washington, D.C., confronted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen while she ate at a Mexican restaurant Tuesday night.
Nielsen tried not to respond, but was eventually chased from the restaurant:
Afterward, the most Nielsen would do is retweet a compliment Donald Trump paid her about her performance at a press briefing.
4. Soon, children will be packed 20 to a tent in 100-degree weather
You can watch the MSNBC report here. DHS and Border Patrol are trying to hide the tents from the media, of course.
5. A national day of protest has been planned for June 30
Everyone has to make their own choice, but personally, I find this mandatory. Visit that link to see where a protest near you will be held.
To conclude, here's a thread by Michael Avenatti featuring a letter written by a mother to her six-year-old son—a “gentle” boy who was “very attached” to his mother, and hasn't seen her in more than two weeks.
Here's the translation: