Trump's War on Immigrants: The Latest

[Content Note: Nativism; abuse; misogyny.]

Donald Trump's war on immigrants — migrants, refugees, undocumented, documented, and naturalized citizens — continues to expand in scope with each passing day and is doing untold harm to countless immigrant families. Here is some of the latest news.

1. This morning, before Trump departed for Brussels, he made remarks on the lawn of the White House, during which he admonished migrants and refugees at the southern border to solve the problem of family separations by not seeking refuge in the United States, a message he communicated in the cruelest and most dishonest way possible.

Transcript: Well, I have a solution: Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That's the solution. Don't come to our country illegally. Come like other people do. Come legally.

[reporters shout questions]

I'm saying this very simply: We have laws; we have borders. Don't come to our country illegally. It's not a good thing.

And as far as ICE is concerned, the people that are fighting ICE, it's a disgrace! These people go into harm's way; there is nobody under greater danger than the people from ICE. What they do to MS-13, and everything else, so, we oughta support ICE, not do what the Democrats are doing.

Democrats want open borders, and they don't mind crime. We want no crime, and we want borders where borders mean something, all right?

And remember this: Without borders, you do not have a country. Thank you, everybody. Thank you.
Absolutely chilling. In just over a minute, the president lied that immigrants are approaching the border "illegally," when in fact Border Patrol is denying asylum-seekers access to ports where they can legally request refuge; lied that he welcomes "legal" immigrants, when his administration is in the process of setting up an office to strip documented immigrants of their citizenship; lied about what the Democrats want and support, while casting us as enemies of the state; and generally using rank nativist and vile othering language.

2. Josh Gerstein at Politico: Judge Rejects Trump Request to Alter Agreement on Release of Immigrant Kids. "A federal judge has turned down [Donald] Trump's request to alter a decades-old legal settlement to allow long-term detention of children who entered the U.S. illegally with their parents. Los Angeles-based U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee dismissed as 'tortured' the Trump administration's legal argument to get out from under the so-called Flores consent decree agreed to in 1997, dictating that children in immigration detention not be held more than 20 days."

That's good news, except for the fact that presumably the Trump administration will just ignore this ruling and conceal evidence of their lawbreaking. Which, if exposed, would result in no consequences, anyhow, because who's going to hold them accountable?

3. [CN: Loss of wanted pregnancy; misogyny; abuse] Ema O'Connor and Nidhi Prakash at BuzzFeed: Pregnant Women Say They Miscarried in Immigration Detention and Didn't Get the Care They Needed. "The new ICE directive states that women are not to be held into their third trimester and that ICE is responsible for 'ensuring pregnant detainees receive appropriate medical care including effectuating transfers to facilities that are able to provide appropriate medical treatment.' But BuzzFeed News has found evidence that that directive is not being carried out. Instead, women in immigration detention are often denied adequate medical care, even when in dire need of it, are shackled around the stomach while being transported between facilities, and have been physically and psychologically mistreated."

Fucking hell. There is much, much more at the link.

I am so filthy fucking angry. So, apparently the idea is to force detained teenage girls to carry to term pregnancies they don't want, because every sperm is sacred, but not so sacred that they're willing to provide adequate medical care to detained women with wanted pregnancies. And any baby that is born to a detained woman will be immediately separated from her, because "zero tolerance," unless they are sent together to a family internment camp, possibly in the roasting desert heat.

None of that is hyperbole or alarmism. That is what is happening, in this country, right now.

4. Lara Seligman at Foreign Policy: Pentagon Says It Won't Pay for Housing of Immigrants. "The U.S. Defense Department made clear Monday that it would not foot the bill for the housing of some 32,000 detained immigrants whom the Trump administration wants sheltered at military installations as part of its 'zero tolerance' enforcement policy on America's border with Mexico. A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, said the department would also not be involved in caring for the migrants."

Lest you think the Pentagon is taking a principled stance, nope! They just don't want to use their war machine money to care for human beings, and so they expect to get paid back: "If we are using [Defense Department] people, our machinery, then the expectation is DHS or HHS will reimburse us,” Davis said.

And, in the meantime, much of the housing will continue to be outsourced to private prisons and various other despicable mercenaries.

5. AP at WTOP: Maryland County Jail Profits from Housing Detained Immigrants. "A western Maryland county is turning a profit on its contract with the federal government to house detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Frederick News-Post reports that the county sheriff's office receives $83 per inmate per day to house immigration detainees at the county jail."

Which is a pretty little penny since a "county audit found that the cost of housing the inmates is anywhere from $21 to $53 per day, depending on how the costs are calculated," and, according to Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, the jail houses "anywhere from 35 to 52 ICE detainees" at any given time.

6. Alex Marquardt at CNN: U.S. Army, Citing Security Concerns with Recruiting Program, Discharging Immigrants.
In June, a young Pakistani student studying in Minnesota managed to get his hands on the documents that explained why he wouldn't be allowed to join the United States Army.

The electrical engineering student, who didn't want his name revealed because of fear of reprisals if he goes back to Pakistan, "has the potential to present a security risk" the now unclassified document reads.

But it's not clear exactly what that risk is. The document simply notes "incomplete data and records checks." And in the section "Foreign Ties," the interviewer notes that the student's "cell phone case is an American flag and he has a US Army bumper sticker on his car."

...Exactly how many foreign recruits have been rejected or discharged is unclear, but a number of them have filed lawsuits around the country to contest the decision. The Pentagon says 10,000 people were initially recruited as part of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program, designed to bring in talented and specialized recruits who could not only provide essential expertise in foreign campaigns, but also help fill gaps at a time when the US military is struggling to meet recruiting goals.

"I found [joining the Army] the most honorable way to become a citizen of a country I've loved since I was five," the young Pakistani man told CNN in a telephone interview. He had signed up to the Army in April 2016, applying to be a power generator mechanic. "I had this deep loyalty toward the US since I was a kid. It was like a fairyland for me," he said.

Like many others, this young man was kept in limbo with little or no information until finally being told he was being rejected. Now, the student not only won't be able to enlist, but his path to citizenship is blocked as well, with a visa expiring in six months and potential deportation looming.
Trump complained bitterly and relentlessly that President Obama was undermining America's reputation and safety around the world, but he is inviting resentment and hatred and mistrust of America more than any other president in history, including George W. Bush, which is really saying something.

And I'm not saying this young man resents or hates or mistrusts this country now. I'm just observing that, if he did, it would be entirely understandable, given how he's been treated. And he is one of many people with good reason. Here and around the world.

7. Michael D'Onofrio at the Philly Tribune: African Immigrants Not Immune to Trump's Aggressive Immigration Policies. "When it comes to [Donald] Trump's aggressive immigration policies, [chief executive officer for the nonprofit African Cultural Alliance of North America] Voffee Jabateh said they are not unexpected. 'One good thing about this president, you don't get no surprises,' he said. 'He tells you outright what he's going to do: Promises made; promises kept.' ...Jabateh said he has noticed negative changes to the immigration system under Trump, which have resulted in an overall more stringent process and increased the level of suspicion from federal officials. 'Any little trigger — things that were not previously part of the process — are being used to put stress and pressure on an immigrant,' he said."

Make noise. Make your calls. Make a plan. Please support immigrant families, in whatever way you can.

* * *

On a related note, I am relieved and glad to hear that all 12 Thai boys, and their coach, who were trapped in a cave system for over two weeks have been rescued.

That said, while I understand why people need something to celebrate (although I find it odd how widely this is being treated as a straightforward feel-good story, despite several divers having lost their lives in the rescue), I am deeply disturbed by the amount of attention this story is getting in the U.S. and the outpouring of concern I have seen for those children relative to the attention and concern I see directed toward children being detained at the southern border in our own country.

Those children need saving, too. Urgently.

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