It just keeps getting worse. The video and audio keep getting more gut wrenching. But the emotions they evoke are masking some very important points Every day we are being presented with fresh nightmares, and more heartbreak, while the $1 Store Caligula snideely discards them as “fake” Democratic stories. But all of these emotions are swamping some very real, and very serious undercurrents. Here are just a few of them.
Some of these kids literally have NO idea of where they are
Rachel Maddow had a nice scoop last night, if you can call something that horrible nice. She had smuggled audio and video from inside of a child shelter caring for children separated from their parents at the border. In the part I’m referring to, the worker is talking to a crying young child, trying to help her in making contact with her parents. The critical passage went something like this; “Are you here with your mother?” “No.” “Do you know where your mother is?” “She’s over in the states.” “She’s over in the states?” “Yes. In Virginia.”
Before I go on, I want to point something out. This was not an immigrant child, struggling to communicate in English as a second language. The worker was speaking in Spanish, and the child replied in Spanish, there is no language barrier here, and little room for misinterpretation. The critical reply is “She’s over in the states.”
This child literally has no idea of where she is. If she knew she was in New York, and her mother is in Virginia, when asked she simply would have replied, “Oh, she’s in Virginia.” This child has been moved exclusively under the cover of darkness, in the middle of the night. You can draw your own conclusion, but to me, the use of the phrase “She’s over in the states” strongly implies that the child thinks she’s somewhere not even in the United States. Surrounded by Hispanic children, and by aid workers all speaking Spanish to communicate with the children, it would not be a quantum leap for children this age to honestly believe that they are somewhere on the south side of the border, waiting for their parents.Which, if true, would only increase their fear, and their sense od alienation and isolation. This is what the Trump administration is doing to children.
The workers know that they’re doing something wrong
There was another tape, purely audio this time, that graphically shows that these workers, no matter their outward appearance,know that they are doing something wrong, and possibly even illegal. In the audio, the worker, speaking in Spanish, warns the children that they are not to speak to any reporters that may engage them.
In the tape, she cautions the children that (paraphrased) “right now, they are safe. They are being taken care of. But, if they speak to a reporter, they are going to end up in the news, and then, who knows what will happen to them or their case.” Without personally directly threatening the children with retribution, the meaning couldn’t be more clear, “Right now we’re looking out for you, but say a word about this, and we’ll cut you loose, and you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself.” And remember, the aid worker has now supplanted the missing parent as the direct authority figure for these children. It’s like a bad scene from “Little Orphan Annie.”
Anyone who has been a parent, or spent a lot of time around children can tell you that once a parent or adult tells a small child not to say something, two things are apparent and certain. First, the adult knows they’re doing something that others would disapprove of, :OK, I’m going to let you light the fireplace, but just don’t tell Daddy.” When an adult asks a child to hide something, the adult figures that the truth might reflect badly on them. But when an adult threatens a child to keep their mouth shut, they don’t just think, they know that they’re doing something wrong.
The second thing that any adult who spends a lot of time around small children knows just as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow is, if you ask a child not to talk to somebody about something, that child will, given the opportunity, talk about it, and sooner rather than later. Children that young will agree to almost anything to appear helpful, and then forget about it five minutes later. It’s kind of like watching Trump try to govern, he only means it in the moment in which it’s said.
The Trump administration has a real dilemma with these children
The Trump policy of separating children from their parents took a vicious blow to the kidneys a couple of days ago, when it was reported that a 15 year old boy had run away from a shelter in southern Texas, and the authorities had no idea of where he was. It only got worse when it was reported later that the youth was thought to be back across the border in Mexico, looking to return home.
The dilemma for the administration was brought into painful clarity by the manager of the shelter, who very forthrightly told the reporters that there was nothing that the shelter could do. These children are not in detention, they are in a shelter. If they choose to leave the protection of the shelter, the staff is prohibited from physically restraining them, all they can do is to call the authorities once the child has vacated the property.
This is the dilemma for the Trump administration. The parents have been arrested for entering the country illegally, but the children are not under arrest, they are in “protective custody.” Legally, what can a cop do if he finds the minor walking around the street at 1 in the afternoon, scoop him up and return him to the shelter? What law is he breaking, he’s not under arrest, or confined to home monitoring. Conceivably, the cop could follow him or her around until 10:00, and then haul them back for a curfew violation. If the cops are going to start picking them up off of the street simply for being unaccompanied, they’re going to have to spend all day snatching blonde haired, blue eyed kids off of the swings at playgrounds and returning them home to their parents. These children are not under arrest. And I can pretty well guarantee you that the longer this goes on, the more of these kids you are going to see doing a Usain Bolt down the street from these shelters. Mark my words.
These kids literally ARE being held hostage, for ransom
It broke from civil rights, and immigration attorneys over the weekend that parents being held in detention awaiting court proceedings, and separated from their children are being offered a “deal” by the prosecutors. Sign away their rights to go through the process and claim asylum, in exchange for expedited reunification with their children, and immediate deportation. These parents have traveled more than 1,000 miles, and suffered untold hardships to get here, and now they’re being told that they have to choose between being reunited with their children and being immediately deported back to their country of origin, or they can continue to press their legitimate asylum claim, and risk losing their children to the system forever. I wonder, how many of these parents being represented by legal counsel are being offered this same deal?
The Trump administration has just become a crime cartel. In Mexico, the cartels are snatching migrants, and holding them ransom, demanding money from friends and family members to release them to continue their journey. Trump and KKKeebler the Elf’s DOJ is snatching babies, toddlers, and children from their mothers and fathers arms, and then holding them hostage. “Sign the goddamned paper if you ever wanna see your kid again pendejo!” The only difference between the two is that the cartels are honest enough to admit it’s kidnapping, so at least they can maintain their integrity. And considering the fact that it has been reported that medical personnel have been administering “behavioral control drugs” to some of these children without their parents consent, you could even argue that the Trump cartel is trafficking in controlled substances, just like the Mexican cartels.
Blarah Flackabee Slanders herself confirmed the practice in her daily briefing yesterday, accidentally admitting under questioning that there are many times where a case is resolved without the immigrant appearing before a judge in a formal hearing. She was actually attempting to justify Trump’s unconstitutional demand that immigrants be dispatched back to their fate lickety-split, with no due process, but in doing so she confirmed exactly how these cases are being “settled out of court.” And yet she wonders why she can’t get served a meal in public.
GOP incumbents can’t even plausibly defend the order anymore
A funny thing happened on the way to the quorum. When this whole meshugas started, GOP incumbents, as docile as dairy cows, defended the policy, thinking it would be short lived. But as it has dragged on, and the consequences have become more damning, they can no longer defend the indefensible. Over the weekend, GOP lawmakers started half heartedly defending the policy, but stating that personally, “They disagreed with (or were uncomfortable with) the outcome of the policy. They still won’t directly condemn Hair Furor, but neither will they personally support the policy in the face of rising resistance.
Oklahoma GOP Senator James Lankford was a poster child for the weak kneed toadyism that has infected the Republican party. When pressed about the administration not knowing where all of the kids were, he made a total cock up of it, saying something like, “That’s not true, they know where every child is. These aren’t politicians, they’re seasoned career professionals, and they know exactly how to handle this situation.”
In a word, bullshit! Soldiers are highly trained professionals, and spend their careers practicing for worst case scenarios. But when faced with overwhelming odds, no matter how heroic their efforts, they will be overrun. Paramedics, doctors, nurses, and support staff regularly drill for mass casualty events, I know, I was once a paramedic. But when a mass casualty event like the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, or the music festival massacre in my adopted hometown of Las Vegas occur, the sheer numbers overwhelm the ability of highly trained staff to cope at top efficiency.
The migrant childcare system, and the childcare support system have simply been overwhelmed. And if what has been reported is true, unlike mass casualty events, where hospitals are given warning of incoming casualties, these systems have been overwhelmed with little to no prior warning. While the system may in fact know where every single child physically is in the system, what they don’t know is who in the hell every child is, nor who each of their parents are, or where those parents are. And nothing that silk undies little sleazeballs like Jim Lankford says can change that simple fact. It is a total nightmare, and it’s a totally unnecessary one created solely by Trump and Sessions.
So, while the sights, images, and stories are heartbreaking, and must be seen, heard, and told, they are not enough. It has already become apparent that shame alone will not stop Trump, nor will it turn the GOP against him. But, when those images, and words, and stories are portrayed as either overtly immoral, or quite possibly even criminal acts, then and only then will self preservation start to kick in among GOP incumbents. Show the images, and tell the stories, but highlight and define the brutal immorality and possible criminality that created those images. Remind people every day that we are now the Banana Republic of Trump. We stifled the Muslim ban, saved Obamacare, and kept funding for sanctuary cities through public pressure, and the courts. Apply the pressure, and find legally compelling legal arguments. Our democracy is at stake.