The Flores Agreement protected children from prolonged incarceration. The Administration just ended that.

The Trump Administration will not follow the Flores Agreement (which limited to 21 days the amount of time that children were to be held in detention), and instead intends to hold migrant families until their asylum application process has been adjudicated. This could be months. And this is the Administration which has refused to provide flu shots, soap or toothbrushes, clean clothing, medical care, schooling or recreation to children.

It will also result in many more for-profit detention centers being opened and filled, at huge expense to taxpayers. (This is a feature, designed to enrich a few companies — one of which is now run by former Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly.)

Please, again, call or email your Congress members to express your opposition to this policy.

Tweet: mom, three small children drown trying to enter US

We now live in a world where we read tweets like this one:

Here’s how it happens: mom presents with her children at the border to ask for asylum. Either (a) she is given a number that will be called months from now, and she must stay in a hellish migrant camp in Mexico the meantime, or (b) she presents for asylum and is returned under the misnamed “Migrant Protection Protocol,” to wait in the hellish migrant camp in Mexico in the meantime. Having no food or clean diapers for the babies, and facing danger where she is, she decides to put them on a raft to cross into the Rio Grande. The raft flips, and she and her babies drown.

If we had provided an orderly and prompt process to this lawful asylum seeker and her family, they would be alive now. That’s all there is to it. It is our purposefully cruel and chaotic system that has killed them.

Torture: the ABA has a new report on trauma to children separated from their parents

Putting children in concentration camps, away from their parents, in harsh conditions has been described by medical inspectors as torture. The American Bar Association’s Children’s Rights Litigation Committee has published (May 2019) on the harm caused to children when they are separated from their parents, the lifelong effects of toxic stress on children, and resources for children and parents facing removal.

2019 – Parent-Child Separation Trauma Memo-1

How much does it cost to incarcerate children?

We, through our tax dollars, are spending over $700 per night per child to hold immigrant children in concentration camps without their parents. $700+, and no toothbrush, no soap, no bed. You could stay at the Benson Hotel and order caviar and champagne for dinner for less than $700 per night. And you’d get soap and a bed, and probably a toothbrush if you asked at the desk.

No soap, cold temperatures, mylar blankets is “safe and sanitary” says the Administration

Under the Flores Agreement, reached several years ago, the federal government has agreed (among other things) to house detained migrant children in “safe and sanitary” conditions. Last week, the current Administration argued to the 9th Circuit that they were complying with this while keeping children in conditions without soap, toothpaste, clean clothes, beds or wholesome food. Instead, the children are crowded together, sleeping on concrete floors with mylar blankets, for weeks at a time. You can read about the conditions, and the lawsuit, here:

The rest of this week, OWLS will be highlighting the detention of children, and what you can do to help.

The reality of the so-called “Migrant Protection Protocol”

A few months ago the Administration started returning asylum-seekers to Mexico to wait (for months, at least) for their asylum case to be heard. This program is given the Orwellian name of “Migrant Protection Protocol,” sometimes called the “Remain in Mexico” program. There is nothing protective about returning migrants to wait in Mexico, without access to lawyers or adequate shelter. Read about the reality of the MPP here:

900 people in the space for 125

A watchdog group inspecting migrant detention centers in El Paso Texas report that they have found people so overcrowded that some “stand on the toilets in an attempt to get breathing space” — and thereby block access to the toilets. Read about this unsafe, inhumane treatment here:

And remember to contact your elected officials to voice your concern.

US takes newborns from their mothers

Yes, it’s as awful as it sounds. Pregnant migrants in the Western District of Texas are being forced to give birth in USMS custody, and then hand over their newborns to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Reuniting with their babies hinges on their release from federal custody and whether they can access legal help to navigate the US child welfare system. Read the whole heartbreaking story here:

Five children die in US custody in 6 months

A sixteen-year-old Guatemalan boy died yesterday, after being denied release from detention for more than a week. This is the fifth child death at the southern border since December 2018. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is calling for an investigation. You can support this by calling Oregon’s Congressional Delegation to object to the maltreatment of children.