Insult to Injury? Trump Administration Forcing Families to Pay to Re-Unite


Were it not enough that our government forcibly separated families, parents from children, such that the government is now under a court order to re-unite families, ICE is putting up huge costs and red tape to hinder or slow the process, making it almost as painful as losing the child altogether, according to the New York Times.

One potential sponsor was rejected recently because authorities decided she could not afford the child’s medication, Ms. Desai said. A mother of two was told that her house was not large enough to accommodate a third child. Another was told that she had to move to a better neighborhood if she wanted to be approved.

A new condition requires that all adults in the household where a migrant child will reside submit fingerprints to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Such a requirement has intimidated many undocumented immigrants, who represent the majority of sponsors but fear being targeted for deportation themselves.

Of course it must be this way. Any other way would send a message counter to what Trump demands; that the United States is now a hostile and vicious country, at least toward brown immigrants from Central America seeking refuge from war and gangs. Imagine having your young child ripped from your arms, spending a month apart, then hear that your child can be reunited with you, but you must cough up $1200 in flight fees or other costs?

Brenda, a Salvadoran migrant who was separated from her 7-year-old son Kevin at the border on May 27, was charged $576.20 to cover the boy’s airfare from Miami to Virginia. His escort collected the money order at Washington Dulles airport on Friday upon handing over the child to his mother.

“I was shocked that they had to pay for the boy’s airfare,” said Astrid Lockwood, the lawyer for the mother and child, who had been held at a shelter in Florida. Ms. Lockwood said that in a decade of practicing immigration law she had never seen this requirement, but noted that she also had not encountered children placed in facilities thousands of miles from their ultimate destination, as has occurred in recent weeks.

Note the two critical things in that last paragraph. That an immigration lawyer with years of experience had never seen a requirement that the migrant pay travel costs incurred to re-unite what the government had done, and that the children would be moved thousands of miles so quickly.

Note those two details because they lead inextricably to one conclusion. For all the haphazard manner that is the Trump administration hallmark, the “make it up as you go” appearance? This was planned. 

They planned to do this, ahead of time, and knew the pain and turmoil it would cause. 

They wanted it this way all along. They want fear shooting through whispered stories down to Central America and throughout the world. They want the world to fear the United States in a way that “we” have never been feared, feared the way we associate with dictatorships and the ugliest of authoritarian governments. We’ve become the monster we used to fight.


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