Trump's Sadistic Nativism Must Be Stopped

[Content Note: Nativism; cruelty; child abuse; sexual assault.]

Today, as yesterday, there is a whole lot of stuff I want to recommend, so I'm going to link all of it here. Please feel welcome to share additional links in comments and use the thread for discussion of this subject broadly.

Ginger Thompson at ProPublica: Listen to Children Who've Just Been Separated from Their Parents at the Border. "The desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children, separated from their parents one day last week by immigration authorities at the border, makes for excruciating listening. Many of them sound like they're crying so hard, they can barely breathe. They scream 'Mami' and 'Papá' over and over again, as if those are the only words they know. The baritone voice of a Border Patrol agent booms above the crying. 'Well, we have an orchestra here,' he jokes. 'What's missing is a conductor.' Then a distraught but determined 6-year-old Salvadoran girl pleads repeatedly for someone to call her aunt. Just one call, she begs anyone who will listen."

The audio of the children was recorded last week inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility. The anonymous recorder then gave it to Jennifer Harbury, a civil rights attorney, who passed it on to ProPublica. It is devastating.

While I was listening to it, this happened:

There was a moment in which I was actually not sure I was ever going to stop crying at witnessing my dogs care more about children than the U.S. president.

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[The story behind this photograph at the Washington Post.]

Adolfo Flores at BuzzFeed: The U.S. Isn't Just Separating Children from Their Parents; It Also Has No Plan to Reunite Them. "HHS was unable to provide any specific instance of a child being reunited with a parent who'd completed their sentence under the zero-tolerance policy or to provide general numbers on such reunions. Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, who is the lead lawyer suing the Trump administration for separating immigrant parents from their children, said immigration authorities are not reuniting children and parents even after the parents have served their time, which is usually two to three days. 'Kids are just languishing for months in foster families or government facilities,' Gelernt told BuzzFeed News. 'If the government is saying there is some process for reuniting them promptly, we haven't seen it.'"

William Wan at the Washington Post: What Separation from Parents Does to Children: 'The Effect Is Catastrophic'. "This is what happens inside children when they are forcibly separated from their parents. Their heart rate goes up. Their body releases a flood of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Those stress hormones can start killing off dendrites — the little branches in brain cells that transmit mes­sages. In time, the stress can start killing off neurons and — especially in young children — wreaking dramatic and long-term damage, both psychologically and to the physical structure of the brain. 'The effect is catastrophic,' said Charles Nelson, a pediatrics professor at Harvard Medical School. 'There's so much research on this that if people paid attention at all to the science, they would never do this.'"

That, of course, presumes that the people doing it actually give a fuck about the harm they are doing to other human beings — and, indeed, that they even regard undocumented immigrants and refugees as human beings. Which they don't.

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[CN: Sexual assault]

This was among violations uncovered over the last two years. We have no idea when exactly this happened. We also have no idea whether the child was sexually assaulted at the detention center (by either another detainee or by a guard) or before they left for the U.S., which could be the reason why that child, with or without their family, had fled their home.

Sexual assault is one of the many reasons why there are people seeking asylum at the southern border. But it's one that Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions do not find compelling.


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Michael D. Shear and Katie Benner at the New York Times: How Anti-Immigration Passion Was Inflamed from the Fringe.
Jeff Sessions and Stephen Miller spent years on the political fringe in the nation's capital as high-decibel immigration hard-liners, always warning about the dangers of open borders but rarely in a position to affect law or policy.

Now, Mr. Sessions, the attorney general and former senator from Alabama, and Mr. Miller, the president's top policy adviser and former Senate aide to Mr. Sessions, have moved from the edges of the immigration debate to its red-hot center. Powerful like never before, the two are the driving force behind [Donald] Trump's policy that has led thousands of children to be separated from their parents at the nation's southern border.

It was Mr. Sessions who ordered prosecutors to take a new "zero tolerance" attitude toward families crossing into the United States, part of his plans to reshape the country's law enforcement priorities to limit immigration. It is Mr. Miller who has championed the idea inside the White House, selling Mr. Trump on the benefits of a policy that his adversaries have called "evil," "inhumane," and equivalent to child abuse or the internment of the Japanese during World War II.

"The U.S. government has a sacred, solemn, inviolable obligation to enforce the laws of the United States to stop illegal immigration and to secure and protect the borders," Mr. Miller said in a recent interview. Asked if the images of children being taken from their parents would eventually make the president back down, Mr. Miller was adamant.

"There is no straying from that mission," he said.

Nancy Cook at Politico: Trump Aides Plan Fresh Immigration Crackdowns Before Midterms. "Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and a team of officials from the departments of Justice, Labor, Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget have been quietly meeting for months to find ways to use executive authority and under-the-radar rule changes to strengthen hard-line U.S. immigration policies, according to interviews with half a dozen current and former administration officials and Republicans close to the White House. ...Among the fresh ideas being circulated: Tightening rules on student visas and exchange programs; limiting visas for temporary agricultural workers; making it harder for legal immigrants who have applied for welfare programs to obtain residency; and collecting biometric data from visitors from certain countries."

Like I said yesterday: There is no reason — none — to hope that things will not get worse if U.S. statespeople with the visibility and influence to pressure Trump remain silent. To the absolute contrary, there is every reason to believe that Trump will continue to escalate, increasingly empowered to commit acts of atrocity against children in the vacuum of accountability abetted by that silence.

He must be stopped. Now.

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