The Michigan Department of Civil Rights issued this statement on Tuesday in regards to the inhumane child separation policy that has been plaguing the US/Mexico border since the Trump administration enacted it in late April. The bold-face type has been highlighted if you don’t want to read the entire statement.
MDCR Statement on President Trump’s Zero Tolerance Policy and its Impact on Michigan
June 19, 2018
Lansing, MI-The Michigan Department of Civil Rights today announced that the Department is actively engaged in assessing the impact of President Trump’s zero tolerance policy and the separation of children from their parents at the US/Mexico border on the state of Michigan, and the Department’s responsibilities under state law.
Historically, Michigan has served as an important site for adult and family refugee resettlement and has provided foster care placement for unaccompanied immigrant children that arrive alone at international points of entry into the US.
However, under this new policy, children who are being separated from their parents at the border are now being transported to Michigan for temporary foster care placement.
In response to this situation, Agustin V. Arbulu, Executive Director of Michigan Department of Civil Rights released the following statement:
“While the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, along with people all over the nation, decry the forced separation of children from their parents taking place on our southern border, the policy is a federal issue and beyond the scope of this department’s responsibilities under law. But for those children who have been separated from their parents and brought to Michigan, the Department of Civil Rights has a duty to make sure their civil rights are protected.”
“This week, I have been in touch with various agencies and organizations working with these vulnerable children. We have received reports and are very concerned that the children arriving here are much younger than those who have been transported here in the past. Some of the children are infants as young as three months of age and are completely unable to advocate for themselves. While we commend the work of resettlement agencies in Michigan attempting to serve these children with dignity and compassion, nothing can replace the love, sense of security and care of a parent.”
“I take very seriously our responsibility under state law to see to it that the civil rights of every person in this state, especially these vulnerable children in crisis, are protected. We will continue to monitor this situation closely to ensure the rights of these children are protected to the fullest extent.”
Agustin V. Arbulu, the Executive Director of MDCR, issued the statement that revealed that babies as young as three months old are being forcibly taken and separated from their parents on the southern border and being sent over 1,000 miles away.
On May 7, the Trump Administration announced a “zero tolerance” policy on the border which is quite simple: anybody who crosses the southern border unauthorized will be prosecuted for a federal misdemeanor, which carries up to a 180 day jail sentence for first offense, according to Time. Children cannot be jailed alongside adults, so minors must be separated and kept in juvenile facilities while their parent(s) are incarcerated.
During a six-week period between April and May, nearly 2,000 children were separated from their family. There is no telling how many children have been separated since. The children are being held in actual cages.
NBC reported on Tuesday night that a new federal tent city built just outside the city of Tornillo, Texas was preparing for 4,000 (!!!) children. 20 to a tent. The expected high temperature in that city today is a scorching 106 degrees. It’s not exactly a “summer camp,” as Fox News host Laura Ingraham and right-wing advocates have shockingly tried to justify the policy.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore) visited one of these centers and witnessed “big cages made out of fencing” while former CIA Director Michael Hayden took it a step further by comparing them to Auschwitz concentration camps.
Others, such as former First Lady Laura Bush, have compared this with the dark period of Japanese internment camps during WWII.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions rebuked that claim by going on Ingraham’s Fox program on Monday. After being asked about the comparison of this policy with Nazi Germany and concentration camps, Sessions said, “It’s a real exaggeration. In Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country but this is a serious matter.” Take that as you will, but this next Trump tweet was very telling on this administration’s feelings on immigrants:
Notice the word “infest” came after illegal immigrants but before his usual MS-13 reference. Trump said “illegal immigrants…infest our Country,” and further tied every single immigrant to organized crime as a propaganda tool for his undying supporters to believe the illegitimate fact that ALL illegal immigrants are bad people. For further context, here’s the dictionary definition of “infest:”
The Trump administration has given multiple different reasons for the policy, among them, they falsely blame Democrats for the policy (a policy which President Trump could stop any second if he wanted), reiterate the Obama Administration took similar actions, stating that THE BIBLE actually justifies this policy, and using it as a deterrent for those who may think about crossing the border illegally in the future. President Trump is also seemingly using the kids as hostages to negotiate immigration legislation and get his long-sought-after funding for a southern border wall.
Yes, as President Trump said, “we want ‘heart'” in America. And that definitely does not mean separating families who are seeking asylum. America was built on attaining freedom from relentless persecution. Persecution of religion, speech, overall beliefs, and race. America was built on being a refuge. Why would anybody want to deter a person from coming to the greatest country on Earth? No matter the situation, who implemented the policy or the extremely faulty reasoning behind keeping it in tact, if you are justifying this policy and actions by the US government you are a problem.