“Where Have All the Children Gone?” was a blog I wrote a week ago, and it is even more pertinent now as Trump’s Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen claimed recently that separating families at the Mexico-U.S. border was lawful. She insisted that Americans should not believe media claims that immigrants have the right to seek asylum.
Nielsen’s lies along with the policy of Attorney General Sessions that those seeking asylum due to gang and domestic violence were not eligible for asylum and should be deported have made the mess of abducted children more outrageous and inhumane. If expelled, immigrant parents must make a Solomon-like decision (about cutting a child in half to satisfy a paternity case): Should the migrant parents take their children back to their homeland to face danger and possible death or leave them behind to wend their way through a complicated legal system to gain asylum and live safely in the United States?
Whatever the decision, the parents must FIRST find their kids. According to U.S. Senator Dick Durbin speaking at a July 31, 2018 hearing “more than 700 children still have not been reunited with their families, including more than 400 whose parents were apparently deported and more than 90 whose parents can’t be located at all.” The separated undocumented children are under the care (?) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. When some lawmakers have tried to visit and inspect HHS facilities they have been refused entry. HHS officials insist that the children are being treated well.
Recently the Associated Press reported that asylum-seeking parents have on rare occasions been able to meet with their children for short periods. But most have only been able to contact their children by phone calls that are restricted to 10 minutes each. Social workers at detention centers determine who among the children can call their parents and when that can happen. Parents do not have that option. As a result, many asylum seekers from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador sit by telephones waiting anxiously for calls from their kids.
Meanwhile at the Senate hearing, Senator Durbin reminded everyone that the policy of separating families “started with somebody in the White House” and he called for Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, to step down for her part in the disaster.
Republican Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa admitted that the administration and Congress had mismanaged the separation of immigrant families. He and others at the hearing expressed hope that Congress would pass federal laws to end the disastrous policy of snatching kids from their parents.
However, Congress can’t expect any help from the White House. Trump has made clear that he will continue his position against immigrants of any nationality (except Norwegians of course). And, as he has said (shouted) many times, he demands in king-like fashion that he get Congressional funding for his bigly border wall or he’ll shut down the government.
Well, if Humpty Dumpty’s (aka Trump’s) threat works and he gets his wall, climbs atop it to celebrate, what then? The nursery rhyme tells a possible tale: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall/Humpty Dumpty had a great fall/All the king’s horses and all the king’s men/couldn’t put Humpty together again.” What if…?