Sessions’ Zero Tolerance “Offspring” Take Keeps Families Separated

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By the time they hear the siren,
It’s already too late,
One goes to the border and the other to jail,
One guy’s called racist and the other’s lost the race.

It goes down the same as the thousand deported before
No one’s getting farther,
No one’s learning from the poor,
The people’s never ending spree of rhetoric and division as of late
Is gonna tie America’s own rope, tie America’s own rope, tie America’s own…

Hey – man, that immigrant talkin’ back to me?
Take him back
Session’s gotta keep ’em separated

~***~

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said 1,995 minors were separated from 1,940 “alleged adult guardians” from April 19 to May 31 at the southern border.

Over a six week period, that number is an estimated 46 children a day.

This mass separation follows the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy, which was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on April 6.

The policy mandates U.S. officials refer all adults that enter the country illegally to prosecution, while existing law ensures migrant children be housed separately while their parents face trial.

Around 700 children were separated from their families between October and April before the policy was implemented, but the number has gone up since.

Around 10,000 children are currently in shelters run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which was run by acting Assistant Secretary Mark Greenberg under the Obama administration. Greenberg claimed there was a careful process to determine how to place these children.

“The agency initially seeks to determine if the child has a parent in this country; and if not a parent, a close relative; and if not a close relative, a more distant relative or a family friend,” Greenberg said regarding the office’s policies.

Until a sponsor is found, the office relies on 100 shelters in 14 states to house the children.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 650 children were separated from parents during the period. In response, the U.N. human rights office has called on the Trump administration to “immediately halt” the separations.

The U.N. saying “detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation” in regards to why they must stop the separations.

The separation is a topic of much debate.

“There’s such a thing as discretion, and before zero tolerance was implemented, that was the case with immigrant families,” Univision news anchor Enrique Acevedo said after explaining that other crimes do not result in separated families in the same way.

“We don’t need to separate immigrant families… just to make a point and use that as a deterrent, as Chief of Staff Kelly and Attorney General Sessions have said,” Acevedo added.

While Acevedo holds that approach, Sessions stands by the policy and cited a bible verse in its defense.

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said in Indiana during a speech directed at police officers.

Another religious individual did not follow that logic.

“The parents are definitely not perfect, and they shouldn’t be crossing illegally, but the government has to figure out what we’re going to do for the sake of these children,” Jonathan Morris, a Roman Catholic priest and religious analyst for Fox News said.

One compared the separation to the Holocaust.

Trump did not compare it to anything, however.

Trump insisted the policy is a “Democrat law” in a tweet, despite the separation being due to the fact Session decided to prosecute first-offenses as felonies and not misdemeanors – as the Obama and Bush administrations had done.

The law he might be referring to is a 2008 law by former President George W Bush, that is focused on children who illegally cross the border without a guardian, and are known as unaccompanied minors.

That law calls for releasing children into the “least restrictive setting,” often to a government shelter or into the family’s custody while their cases go through immigration court.

It is unlikely Trump was referencing that particular law, but until the president clarifies the law he referred to is unknown.

Still, debate goes on, regardless of whether it was started recently or long ago.

Tammy Bruce, president of the independent women’s voice claimed that “we effectively subsidized this kind of an approach” in regards to illegal immigration.

“People found out that if you had a child you’re going to be caught and released, versus not having a child. The New York Times reported in April that in fact people are admitting this, that families brought children knowing that there is a better chance that they would get through and be released,” Bruce said in a discussion on the topic.

It is uncertain if Bruce was referring to this article, where the author attributes Jessica M. Vaughan, the director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, as having said that “some migrants were using children as ‘human shields’ in order to get out of immigration custody faster.”

Due to this line of thinking, some praise the move for its enforcement practices.

White House adviser Stephen Miller would go on to explain his support and refer to the practice as a “simple decision.”

“No nation can have the policy that whole classes of people are immune from immigration law or enforcement,” Miller told the Times in an interview.

“It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period. The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law,” Miller added.

An important distinction to make is that despite rhetoric, no law mandates that parents must be separated from children at the border. Session’s policy has no mention of separating families, but under U.S. protocol, children are separated from jailed parents.

They are separated because the children are not charged with a crime, and because the law requires the children be housed.

Others are worried that the “zero-tolerance” policy will make people less likely to provide information.

Director of migrant rights and justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, Michelle Brane, said sharing information with the Department of Homeland Security is “going to discourage people from coming forward to pick children up and take them into their care.”

Brane also said children may be discouraged from giving all the information they have to social workers and employees who are trying to reunite them with their family.

Those are expected of the effects of the policy, but a primary reason it has made it back into the public eye is through suspect reporting.

Backlash to the policy escalated following an NBC report that detailed conditions inside a Texas immigration detention center, but the CNN report would make more headlines.

DHS officials complained of exaggerated and inaccurate reports about the policy, after a CNN report that a mother had her infant child taken from her arms while she was breastfeeding.

“We do not separate breastfeeding children from their parents. That does not exist, that’s not a policy, that’s not something that DHS does,” a Department of Homeland Security official said.

The officials also said they had “no choice” but to separate parents and children at the border.

Their only other option was to ignore the law they said when pressed, though previous administrations found other methods.

Those methods were not elaborated on in the reference article.

The opinion held on the issue depends on where the individual stands.

Session holds to the policy he enacted, Morris holds to the opinion he holds.

“If you cross the southwest border unlawfully, then the Department of Homeland Security will arrest you and the Department of Justice will prosecute you. That is what the law calls for — and that is what we are going to do,” Sessions said.

“We’re taking advantage, and there are children who are growing up right now who have been here in the country for their whole lives..but they can not become full members of our society and its not helpful,” Morris added.

In either event, no legislative fixes have passed yet, with Congress having missed a March 5 deadline Trump set for replacing DACA.

While Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was established in 2012, with a new law to protect the Dreamers, lawmakers were unable to bridge differences around it.

Feel free to fact check this article by cross referencing it with the sources used, including the Haaretz article, NPR article, first NBC article, second NBC article, FOX News video, and Independent article.