“A migrant mother said her 14-month-old son was “full of dirt and lice” after being separated from his family for months by the Trump administration.
Olivia Caceras’s claims are included in a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s immigration policy separating families that was filed by 17 states and the District of Columbia, PBS News Hour reported Thursday.
Caceras’s testimony is one of many in the nearly 1,000-page court filing.
Caceras said she was separated from her son for roughly 12 weeks before they were reunited.
“He continued to cry when we got home and would hold on to my leg and would not let me go,” Caceras said in her testimony, as reported by PBS. “When I took off his clothes, he was full of dirt and lice.”
“It seems like they had not bathed him the 85 days he was away from us,” she added.” (A)
“The Trump administration asked a judge Friday for more time to reunite families who were separated at the border under its “zero-tolerance” policy to prosecute every person who enters the country illegally.
Hours before a hearing in San Diego, the Justice Department filed papers seeking an extension of the deadline, which is July 10 for all parents with children under 5 and July 26 to reunite everyone else.
The administration says federal law requires it to ensure that children are safe and that requires more time. Administration officials also say that they won’t be able to confirm a child’s parentage by the deadline if DNA testing is inconclusive. They will need more time to collect DNA samples or other evidence from parents who have been released from government custody.” (B)
“Government lawyers said Friday that they cannot locate the parents of 38 migrant children under the age of 5, as a federal judge indicated he is open to extending the deadline for reuniting nearly 3,000 children separated from their mothers and fathers while crossing the US-Mexico border.
In a status hearing with U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw of the Southern District of California, who ordered the reunification, government lawyers said the Health and Human Services Department would only be able to reunify about half of approximately 100 children under the age of 5 by the court-ordered deadline of July 10.
For 19 children, their parents have been released from custody into the U.S. and their whereabouts are unknown. The parents of another 19 children have been deported.
“The way [a family separation] is put in the system is not in some aggregable form, so we can’t just run it all,” said Sarah Fabian, the Justice Department attorney representing the government before Sabraw.
Sabraw said he would agree to delay the deadline for reunifying the youngest children if the government could provide a master list of all children and the status of their parents. Sabraw ordered the administration to share a list of 101 children with the American Civil Liberties Union by Saturday afternoon.” (C)
“Records of the separated children are embarrassingly spotty, a Health and Human Services (HHS) spokesperson admitted on a July 5 call with press. HHS is charged with reuniting the children, who were originally separated and processed by agents from another federal agency, the Department of Homeland Security. Its own records must therefore be cross-checked with data from other sources, including records from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (which reports to DHS) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
Cross-referencing may not be enough, said the spokesperson. As the New York Times reported, hundreds of files have already been deleted by border patrol staff. HHS secretary Alex Azar has additionally “ordered a hand audit of the records of every single child in our care,” but that’s more than 12,000 children, only some of which came to the border with their families.
That’s right: The HHS needs to review thousands of case files by hand for clues to which children were taken from their parents—just the beginning of a process that would also require talking with case managers to verify information and then trying to locate their families. The task is so massive that the agency is asking staff to work overtime reviewing the records, according to the Times, which obtained an internal email stating that “[e]veryone here is now participating in this process, including the Secretary who personally stayed until past midnight to assist.” (D)
“How is President Donald Trump dealing with that crisis? By tweeting, of course.
Trump unleashed a trio of tweets Thursday morning — all dealing with immigration.
“Congress must pass smart, fast and reasonable Immigration Laws now,” he tweeted. “Law Enforcement at the Border is doing a great job, but the laws they are forced to work with are insane. When people, with or without children, enter our Country, they must be told to leave without our Country being forced to endure a long and costly trial. Tell the people ‘OUT,’ and they must leave, just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn. Hiring thousands of ‘judges’ does not work and is not acceptable – only Country in the World that does this!”
For good measure, Trump added: “Congress – FIX OUR INSANE IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW!”
What you may have noticed in Trump’s tweets is that there is a) no mention of the children already separated from their parents due to the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy and b) no clear directive to Congress about any sort of comprehensive immigration reform proposal aside from “FIX OUR INSANE IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW,” which is, um, sort of non-specific…
By July 26, all children separated from their parents at the border have to be reunited.” (E)
“Felicia Baez teaches English as a second language at a shelter in South Florida where anywhere from 30 to 100 migrant children in federal custody live at one time. Most stay about two months, but some leave after only a few days.
“It’s always like the first day of school,” Ms. Baez said of the turnover at the shelter, His House Children’s Home, in the suburb of Miami Gardens. And the wide range of academic ability among her students — some haven’t been in a classroom in years, while others graduated from high school in their home countries — means she is constantly making adjustments.
These are just some of the challenges of educating the thousands of migrant children now housed in youth shelters and family detention centers across the country.
Federal law requires that all children on American soil receive a free public education, regardless of their immigration status. As the Trump administration expands the number of people detained at the border, shelters and detention facilities are ramping up their roles as makeshift schools, teaching English and civics classes, offering cooking lessons and setting up field trips to art museums.
But according to lawyers and educators with firsthand knowledge of the child detention system, the education offered inside the facilities is uneven and, for some children, starkly inadequate.
Teachers at the schools are sometimes not state-certified as teachers, according to these accounts. Some shelter instructors cannot communicate effectively in Spanish, and in other cases the curriculum is so limited and classes are so wide-ranging in age groups that students seem bored and disengaged.” (F)
(A) Lawsuit: Migrant child returned to parent with lice after 85 day separation, by Morgan Gstalter, http://thehill.com/latino/395752-lawsuit-trump-dhs-returned-lice-ridden-migrant-child-after-85-days
(B) Trump Administration Wants More Time to Reunite Families Separated at the Border, http://time.com/5332091/trump-reunify-families-extension/
(C) Trump admin lost track of parents of 38 young migrant children, by Julia Ainsley, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/trump-admin-asks-more-time-reunite-kids-parents-separated-border-n889301
(D) The scramble to reunite immigrant kids with their families is a case study in poor project management, by Annalisa Merelli & Heather Timmons, https://qz.com/1322700/how-will-hhs-and-dhs-reunite-separated-immigrant-children-with-parents/
(E) Donald Trump has no answers for the border crisis. And things are about to get worse, by Chris Cillizza, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/05/politics/immigration-separation-border-trump/index.html
(F) In a Migrant Shelter Classroom, ‘It’s Always Like the First Day of School’, by Dana Goldstein and Manny Fernandez, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/06/us/immigrants-shelters-schools-order.html