This past Tuesday was the day federal courts set for the Trump administration to unify all children under the age of five who were forcefully separated from their parents and then traumatically shipped out all over the country to at least 21 different states with complete strangers for no reason other than cruel and unusual punishment.
Of course, that deadline wasn’t be met. It wasn’t even close. And of course, the Trump administration is not really bothered by this failure. The entire ordeal was designed to strike fear into immigrants of color who may dare attempt to enter this country.
New numbers released by the DOJ yesterday show that of the 102 children under the age of 5 taken by the Trump administration, many of them simply cannot be unified with their parents.
Because many these little kids have been farmed off to nearly 20 different states and their parents have already been deported. The Trump administration admitted yesterday that it has already deported 12 parents of the 102 youngest children. If these numbers hold up for children all age groups, with about 3,000 children now in custody, we could reasonably conclude that about 250 of them now being housed with complete strangers have parents who’ve already been deported.
How in the hell are those deported parents supposed to reconnect with their children?
The Trump administration has also admitted that other children under the age of five who’ve been separated from their parents are unlikely to be unified with them. 4 of those parents are in local jails where reunification is not possible. 8 are in federal criminal custody where reunification is not possible. And the unthinkable has happened – the Trump administration openly admitted on Tuesday that they don’t even have any information at all on the parents of one of the young children who has been separated. How old is that child? How did this happen? What are they going to do about this? It’s an abomination.
Is this child related to a family whose records were already destroyed by the government?
I know that we are frequently overwhelmed with bad news in the Trump era, but this isn’t simply bad news – this is a human rights catastrophe. And it was completely avoidable.
Of the 102 youngest children we have the most basic date for, we now know that it will be outrageously difficult, if not impossible, to reunify at least 22 of them.
And we’ve seen this happen before in a case that each and every one of us should be familiar with.
Know this name – Bail Romero.
I must admit that I had not heard what this country did to her until Monday.
In 2007, Bail, a Guatemalan immigrant, was arrested in Missouri during an immigration raid. Her young son, Carlos, was just 11 months old, and was sent away by the government to live with complete strangers.
What happened next is completely unthinkable. As a father of five myself, I have to fight back the tears as I think about what this government did to Bail Romero.
The family whose home the government placed Carlos in changed his first name to Jamison, changed his last name from Romero to Moser, then fought in the courts for Bail to never see him again. And they won.
The courts declared that when Bail Romero was jailed for her simple immigration violation, she abandoned Carlos, and lost her parental rights. I kid you not, she even lost her rights to see Carlos. They revoked her visitation rights. For years on end Bail Romero fought to regain custody of Carlos, but was denied at almost every turn. When she finally appealed to the Supreme Court, they refused to even hear her case.
Carlos Romero, now called Jamison Moser, lives with his adoptive white parents in rural Missouri. He just turned 12 years old.
Mind you, Bail Romero was working as a migrant farmer in Missouri. She was providing for her family. But even if she wasn’t, poverty and unemployment are not legitimate excuses to basically kidnap someone’s child, rename them, and terminate the rights of the birth parents.
With thousands of immigrant children forcefully separated by their parents, it would be naïve for us to assume that many aren’t on the path of Bail and Carlos Romero.
I’ll close with this thought – what we are witnessing is one of the worst human rights abuses by the federal government of our lifetime. I said this on air many times, but injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, and we must continue to speak up and speak out against this.
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