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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:58 pm 
Bishop

Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:45 pm
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You should really read this Doc

EL PASO — Serbando Pineda Hernandez and his 15-year-old son, Riquelmer, were making their ninth attempt in as many days to reach the port of entry here and apply for asylum. As they approached U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers Sunday on the Paso del Norte Bridge, Pineda tried something new. He presented a handwritten sign saying they sought protection from dangerous gangs in their native Guatemala.

Joined by four immigration activists who helped create the sign, Pineda and his son straddled the boundary dividing Mexico and the United States. But their path was blocked by two officers who told them that the port of entry was at capacity and couldn’t handle asylum applicants. It was the immigration equivalent of a “no vacancy” light over the Rio Grande.

Trump administration officials have, in recent weeks, adopted a carrot-and-stick approach to asylum applicants. They have told those who cross the border illegally and make asylum requests that they will face criminal prosecution, but that if they go through the official border crossings, their applications will be processed. Yet in several cities along the border, asylum seekers who follow those instructions are turned away and told to return later. At some crossings, applicants camp out for days.

Ruben Garcia, one of the activists assisting Pineda, said his strategy is to help him exercise his legal rights as clearly as possible. “I wanted them to be face to face with someone who is categorically saying, ‘I am afraid and I’m asking for asylum.’ ”

Garcia is the founder and director of Annunciation House, a nonprofit organization in El Paso that has provided shelter and other services to immigrants and refugees for more than 40 years. He provided The Washington Post with an edited video showing Pineda’s encounter with customs officials.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have been turning back asylum seekers, most from Central America, for several weeks at El Paso and other ports of entry on the Mexican border. They don’t tell the migrants they can’t apply for asylum, just that they can’t apply right now because the port of entry is at capacity.

Migrant advocates and others have scrambled to respond to what they think are illegal attempts to block migrants from making asylum claims. CBP officials dispute that, saying they have a duty to operate the ports of entry in a safe, orderly fashion.

“When our ports of entry reach capacity, when their ability to manage all of their missions — counternarcotics, national security, facilitation of lawful trade — is challenged by the time and the space to process people that are arriving without documents, from time to time we have to manage the queues and address that processing based on that capacity,” a CBP spokesman said in a statement.

Applying for asylum at a port of entry is a legal means — for many Central Americans and others, it is the only means — of seeking entry into the United States. The Trump administration says the nation’s asylum laws are lax, and on Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a ruling limiting claims from those seeking protection from gang violence and abusive spouses. Asylum is for those fleeing persecution because of their religion, political beliefs or membership in a social group, Sessions said, not fleeing crime.

Still, immigration lawyers say CBP’s attempts to block applicants at border crossings are illegal because the agency is required by law to process anyone seeking asylum, not just when the agency finds it convenient. The agency has not responded to multiple requests to cite the legal authority that grants its officers the right to turn back people asking to apply for asylum.

Astrid Dominguez, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Border Rights Center, said the ACLU has received reports all along the Texas-Mexico border of would-be asylum seekers being turned away after being told there’s no capacity. The American Immigration Council filed a lawsuit last year challenging alleged efforts by CBP in California to prevent asylum seekers from applying. She said this effort is tied to the administration’s new “zero-tolerance” policy of prosecuting anyone entering the United States illegally.

“We have this administration that’s saying, ‘Come to the port of entry; we’re going to prosecute everybody who doesn’t come to the port of entry seeking asylum.’ And now we have CBP agents turning them away. So in reality, they don’t want anybody to come,” Dominguez said.

Officials at Annunciation House said they’ve been hearing stories for weeks about asylum seekers being turned away at international bridges, before they can reach the port. They’ve been able to help a few gain access to the El Paso port, but most are told to come back another time.

On Sunday, Garcia and three Annunciation House volunteers interviewed Pineda in Ciudad Juárez, the Mexican city adjoining El Paso, as he and his son prepared to cross the bridge. He told Garcia that they fled Guatemala because of violence and gang attempts to recruit Riquelmer and that they feared returning home. Those are the basic requirements for requesting asylum, a process that usually takes months or years to complete.

The vast majority of Central American applicants are denied asylum protections in the end, but once they are living and working in the United States they often disregard court orders to leave the country and remain illegally. That is the “loophole” the Trump administration says it is seeking to close by tightening asylum rules.

The volunteers working with Pineda helped him create a sign that made clear he was seeking asylum, and they accompanied him and Riquelmer to the top of the Paso del Norte Bridge. That’s where CBP officers intercepted them.

Garcia said he was struck by the CBP supervisor’s explanation of why they couldn’t take in Pineda and his son. “This supervisor started using the word ‘humane,’ ” Garcia said. “He said, ‘You know, we have space capacity, we want to treat the people humanely; it is not humane to simply pile people up on top of each other.’ ”

The decision meant that Pineda and Riquelmer have slept for days on the streets of Ciudad Juárez, a place they do not know, Garcia said.

Historically, people crossing into the United States from Mexico at ports of entry don’t encounter CBP officers until they reach port facilities, which generally are several hundred feet from the international boundary. In recent weeks, CBP has placed officers feet or inches away from the boundary at El Paso and other crossings.

Annunciation House plans to train volunteers to monitor CBP actions at international bridges and attempt to escort asylum seekers to the port of entry, Garcia said.

Two aides to Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.) witnessed Pineda’s attempt to reach the port of entry Sunday. O’Rourke said CBP lacks the desire to find additional capacity to handle fluctuations in asylum applications. “It’s a matter of U.S. law and it’s a matter of international law, and it’s a matter of doing the right thing. And it’s also, in the long view, what’s made this country great in the first place,” said O’Rourke, who is challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in the November election.

“So part of what I want to do is find out what additional resources or authorities or direction the Department of Homeland Security needs to ensure it is following the law,” he said.

CBP has refused to provide data on how many asylum applications it is processing at ports of entry in El Paso and elsewhere along the border, so it’s difficult to assess the agency’s claim that ports are at capacity.

New deportation cases in El Paso, which include asylum claims, are on pace to be the lowest in at least 27 years, according to numbers from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, which compiles data on federal court filings. Apprehensions in the El Paso sector — which includes West Texas and all of New Mexico — are down 11 percent for the first eight months of the fiscal year compared with the same period a year ago, although there has been a spike this spring to levels not seen for more than a decade.

During the Obama administration, Customs and Border Protection officials responded to occasional surges in asylum requests by opening temporary processing facilities. The Trump administration has not taken such steps.


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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:16 pm 
God
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Thanks for posting that. You backed my assertion nicely. I appreciate the olive branch.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:25 pm 
God
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Hawkeye wrote:
“We have this administration that’s saying, ‘Come to the port of entry; we’re going to prosecute everybody who doesn’t come to the port of entry seeking asylum.’ And now we have CBP agents turning them away. So in reality, they don’t want anybody to come,” Dominguez said.


Surprise. Not.

Hawkeye wrote:
Still, immigration lawyers say CBP’s attempts to block applicants at border crossings are illegal because the agency is required by law to process anyone seeking asylum, not just when the agency finds it convenient. The agency has not responded to multiple requests to cite the legal authority that grants its officers the right to turn back people asking to apply for asylum.


Oh, the law. That old thing ... Next thing you know Trump will be talking about 'Fake Law'. Remember: you heard it here first.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:40 pm 
God
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honorentheos wrote:
Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
So, again (god I'd love some honesty out of the Leftists for once), instead of applying for a route to citizenship lawfully and with respect for our laws, they instead just show up, claim a fear for life, and attempt to circumvent immigration.

Anyone just going to admit this is being done?

- Doc

Clearly there is going to be a percentage of asylum seekers who are doing so when they know they would not qualify. Turns out people cheat on tests, evade paying taxes, steal from their employers and defraud clients, too. I'm still unsure why you dismiss the argument that allocating an appropriate level of resources to perform the needed vetting and processing is a necessary component of a viable solution to the problem? Again, it seems that you view all asylum seekers as illegitimate.


Yeah, seeking asylum is a legal procedure specifically permitted by US law. Those who request asylum but are found not to qualify are sent back.

Before the zero tolerance policy, less than 10% of illegal entrants were criminally prosecuted. Why not? Because there is a cheap, expedited process to send them back. Zero tolerance means a huge increase in the need for prosecutors and judges, not to mention the cost of keeping all those folks in prison. Why not continue to use the expedited removal process and devote resources to speeding up the process for hearing asylum claims?

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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:51 pm 
Bishop

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Yep. Screw the law and screw the need for more judges. Due process matters not at all. We're just going to make things up as we go along. The only law that matters is the imaginary one Obama supposedly violated by not separating families.

Trump rejects calls for more immigration judges: 'We have to have a real border, not judges'

“Thousands and thousands of judges they want to hire. Who are these people?” - Donald Trump

Also:

Donald Trump's false claim about 'thousands' of immigration judges


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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:48 pm 
God
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meanwhile consumer protections become clouded behind huge hair fire smokescree......

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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:47 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:24 pm 
God

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One of the chief architects of Trump's infamous "Zero Tolerance Policy" was apparently Stephen Miller, a xenophobic racist, who makes no effort to hide his contempt and hatred for all immigrants, whether legal or not. At least one GOP lawmaker has called on Trump to fire Miller over the family separation snafu.
Quote:
A Republican lawmaker is calling on President Donald Trump to fire White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, who played a significant role in the administration’s contentious “zero tolerance” immigration policy, in which families have been separated at the southern border.

“The President should fire Stephen Miller now,” Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) posted on Twitter on Thursday afternoon. “This is a human rights mess. It is on the President to clean it up and fire the people responsible for making it.”


ETA: The Outrage Over Family Separation Is Exactly What Stephen Miller Wants,
Quote:
For President Trump’s senior adviser, the public outrage and anger elicited by policies like forced family separation are a feature, not a bug.

When the news stories began to surface last month of sobbing young migrant children being forcibly removed from their parents at the border, many close White House watchers instantly suspected Stephen Miller was behind it.

Though he keeps a relatively low profile compared to the cast of camera-muggers and Twitter warriors in President Donald Trump’s orbit, the 32-year-old speechwriter and senior adviser has cultivated a reputation as the most strident immigration hawk in the West Wing. So, it came as little surprise when The New York Times reported over the weekend that Miller had played a key behind-the-scenes role in advancing the new border policy:
“No nation can have the policy that whole classes of people are immune from immigration law or enforcement,” he said during an interview in his West Wing office this past week. “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.”

… Privately, Mr. Miller argued that bringing back “zero tolerance” would be a potent tool in a severely limited arsenal of strategies for stopping migrants from flooding across the border … And in April, after the border numbers reached their zenith, Mr. Miller was instrumental in Mr. Trump’s decision to ratchet up the zero tolerance policy.

But while Miller’s influence on this issue is a matter of documented fact, his motives remain somewhat murkier. Why exactly is he using his perch to champion a measure that’s so unpopular that it’s opposed by fully two-thirds of Americans? Theories abound, of course—ranging from ideology to incompetence to xenophobia—but they are almost all products of distant speculation.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:30 am 
God

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‘Stephen Miller Should Be Fired,’ California Congressman Says
Quote:
Democratic Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-California) called for the firing of White House aide Stephen Miller over his spearheading of family separation and the bungled “zero-tolerance” immigration policy.
Lowenthal — whose district covers Long Beach, just south of where Miller grew up in Santa Monica — called for the conservative firebrand’s ouster on June 22, two days after President Donald Trump buckled to pressure and rescinded his family separation policy while House Republican leaders were still trying to secure enough votes to pass an immigration bill.

“Separating children and their parents is traumatic, brutal, and un-American. The images of detention facilities, of cages and chain link fences, are heartbreaking. As a community psychologist, I know just how harmful it can be. Family separation is wrong, and the American people know it. It’s inhumane. And in spite of the President’s efforts to stoke fears of mass immigrant crime, it’s unnecessary,” Lowenthal told the Forward in a statement.

Stephen Miller’s Third Grade Seat Mate Recalls A Little Boy With Problems
Quote:
Stephen Miller’s third grade classmate vividly remembers sitting next to him in school — divided by a piece of tape Miller put down to separate them.
In an essay for Politico, John Muller recalls how it was hard to get through to young Miller, now a senior White House adviser known widely as the harsh face of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which has separated children from their parents at the border.

“He was frequently distracted, vacillating between total disinterest in everything around him … and complete obsession with highly specific tasks that could only be performed alone,” Muller wrote.

His obsessions, Muller noted, included tape and glue. Miller had placed a piece of white masking tape down the middle of their shared desk, “explaining that it marked the boundary of our sides and that I was not to cross it.”

Muller details the tape as a grimy distraction, with Miller constantly picking away at it until it was time to lay down another, repeating instructions not to cross it.

Today, in the midst of the crisis at the border, Miller is still advocating to build a wall on the Mexican border to keep out immigrants.

“He thought he was trying to keep out the chaos of the world,” Muller writes, “when really he was looking for a way to explain away the chaos on his own side of the desk. For that was where chaos had always been.”

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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:23 am 
God
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Quote:
Before the zero tolerance policy, less than 10% of illegal entrants were criminally prosecuted. Why not? Because there is a cheap, expedited process to send them back. Zero tolerance means a huge increase in the need for prosecutors and judges, not to mention the cost of keeping all those folks in prison. Why not continue to use the expedited removal process and devote resources to speeding up the process for hearing asylum claims?



I'm still perpelexed as to why we have to permit illegal immigrants a foothold in the country with judges, jails, and legal arguments. Build the wall! Then you won't have to pay for lawyers, judges, jails, or separate children from parents. The wall certainly worked for Israel.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:32 am 
God

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ajax18 wrote:
I'm still perpelexed as to why we have to permit illegal immigrants a foothold in the country with judges, jails, and legal arguments. Build the wall! Then you won't have to pay for lawyers, judges, jails, or separate children from parents. The wall certainly worked for Israel.

That is not nearly as perplexing as your irrational, blind faith that the wall will be anything close to an effective deterrent against determined, illegal immigrants.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:39 am 
God
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ajax18 wrote:
Quote:
Before the zero tolerance policy, less than 10% of illegal entrants were criminally prosecuted. Why not? Because there is a cheap, expedited process to send them back. Zero tolerance means a huge increase in the need for prosecutors and judges, not to mention the cost of keeping all those folks in prison. Why not continue to use the expedited removal process and devote resources to speeding up the process for hearing asylum claims?



I'm still perpelexed as to why we have to permit illegal immigrants a foothold in the country with judges, jails, and legal arguments. Build the wall! Then you won't have to pay for lawyers, judges, jails, or separate children from parents. The wall certainly worked for Israel.


A person seeking asylum is not an illegal immigrant. They are using a legal process specifically approved by US law. The modern asylum process was enacted after World War II in response to people fleeing the Nazis. Of course, we don’t have to do any of this. After all, the US turned a ship full of Jews away when they were fleeing the Nazis, and that turned out just fine. Well, unless you were on the ship.

I wasn’t aware that the wall in Israel was built to keep folks from illegally immigrating to Israel.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:35 am 
God
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Image

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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:54 am 
Bishop

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Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Image

- Doc


Yep. And?

From CNN on June 12:

Quote:
Agents were searching people before they were taken into vans to be driven to a processing center. John Moore, a Getty photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner, took the picture after the toddler’s mother set her down.

“One of the last people to get on the bus was the mother of this child and her daughter together” he told CNN’s Ana Cabrera. “And when they went to body-search (the mother) against the vehicle, they asked her to put down her child. And right then, in that moment, the little girl broke into tears.

“It’s not unusual for toddlers in any circumstance to have separation anxiety. But I think this particular situation with the separation of families leads and gives a new meaning to that phrase.”


From USA Today June 19:

Quote:
Moore, who speaks Spanish, spoke with the girl’s mother briefly before border patrol agents took them away. The mother told Moore they are from Honduras and traveled over a month before rafting over the Rio Grande from Mexico to arrive at the U.S. border in Texas, according to CNN.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed on [19 June 2018] that the mother and child are together.


From USA Today June 21:

Quote:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed earlier this week that the mother and child are together, but the photograph has become a national symbol of the heartbreak some families are facing as they enter the U.S.

Time staff said in a statement the image was selected to become part of the July 2 magazine cover to illustrate “the most visible symbol of the immigration debate in America.”


From Snopes:

Quote:
Although Moore said that his intent was to capture a “picture that conveyed the emotional impact of family separations,” neither he nor the outlets reporting his work claimed the mother and child were separated. From the beginning, Moore and news sites said outright that the mother and child had departed the checkpoint together.


I'd be more concerned about fake news created from whole cloth. The point of the "Left" remains valid and well substantiated. We know for a fact that children were suffering and many were torn from their parents under Trump's zero-tolerance policy.

A photograph from Drudge showing Syrian refugee boys playing with toy guns, suggesting they are Mexicans at our border, would be a prime example of fake outrage and deceptive tactics.


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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:32 am 
Bishop

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This Alternative To Detaining Immigrant Families Works. Trump Just Won’t Use It.

There are much better options than taking kids from their parents or locking them up together.

The way the Trump administration talks about it, you’d think there are only two ways to respond to families crossing into the U.S. illegally: either separate kids from their parents while the adults are tried as criminals or put entire families into indefinite detention.

But there’s an alternative approach that’s cheaper, more humane and incredibly effective. The Trump administration just doesn’t want to use it.

The Family Case Management Program, which President Donald Trump ended several months after taking office, was meant to keep track of immigrant parents and kids in removal proceedings without having to keep them locked up. It was relatively small ― about 950 families in five locations. But it was hugely successful: More than 99 percent of families in the program showed up for their court dates, and 97 percent participated in required check-ins with their case managers, according to a report from Geo Care, the private prison company that operated the program. And it reportedly cost the government just $36 per family each day, versus $319 per bed per day in a family detention center.

Now, as the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress seek to expand the government’s ability to lock up immigrant families long term, Democrats and immigrant rights advocates are asking why they don’t bring back the alternative program in an expanded version.

“In both bills the plan is to incarcerate families,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) told Huffington Post. “To put mothers in cages with toddlers, as if that’s the only alternative, which clearly it is not. Unless your intention is to be punitive and harsh and punish people before seeking asylum.”

The FCMP was meant for people deemed too vulnerable for detention, such as pregnant or nursing women or families with special needs children. It required families to be briefed on their responsibilities in the immigration court process, which can be complicated, and to check in regularly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and their case manager. Case managers referred families to services — such as lawyers and children’s school enrollment — and, if they received a deportation order in court, helped them prepare to return to their native country.

It was a success story for alternatives to detention, according to experts who served on an advisory committee for the program.

“The message is if you do this kind of frequent and fairly intensive case management, you can get almost 100 percent compliance,” said Randy Capps, the director of research for U.S. programs at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. “You don’t have to detain people.”

ICE abruptly shut down the program last June with little explanation for advisory committee members, some of them said. They were simply told at a meeting that it would be their last.

Agency spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez said in a statement that ICE discontinued the program after determining that other alternatives to detention “proved to be a much better use of limited resources” with similar rates of compliance. She added that “removals of individuals on [alternatives to detention] occur at a much higher rate” than the FCMP.

“There are no plans to reinstate the FCMP at this time,” she said.

That method for assessing the program doesn’t make sense, said another former member of the FCMP advisory committee, Michelle Brané, the director of the migrant rights and justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. The FCMP wasn’t in effect long enough for many of the participants to complete their removal proceedings, she said. She added that the program’s purpose was to ensure immigrants went to their removal hearings and that whether those hearings resulted in relief or deportation was irrelevant.

“The program’s efficacy shouldn’t be assessed by removals because if people are getting legal help and qualify [for relief], then that’s not a removal, but it is full compliance,” she said. “That means their system works.”

Another ICE spokesman, Matthew Bourke, said in an email that removals were “a relevant way to determine the program’s effectiveness” because a key reason ICE created the program “was to promote participant compliance with immigration obligations which included final orders of removal.”

He said that immigrants monitored under other alternatives to detention comply with court hearings more than 99 percent of the time and with check-ins almost 98 percent of the time.

But it’s unclear whether expanding alternatives to detention is part of Trump’s plan to address the issue of families arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s certainly not one he has boosted. His executive order this week, which he said would stop routine family separations for unauthorized immigrant families, presented only detention as an option.

Immigrant rights advocates are pushing for policymakers to remember that detention isn’t the only p.

“ICE has a whole range of alternatives to detention,” said Ashley Feasley, a former advisory committee member and the director of policy at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ migration and refugee services. “These are existing programs that could be implemented now in lieu of building large-scale family-child detention facilities.”


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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:45 am 
God
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Hawkeye,

The point I was making is she is a crap mother to drag her kid away from her family, place her kid in mortal danger, then claim she feels unsafe, and then lie about her reasons to ask for asylum which underscores just how ridiculous the whole asylum angle is.

It'd be nice if we could just, for once, get a Leftist (besides me), to tell the truth for once. The Left exists in deception in order to advance it's agenda which is a HUGE reason why Trump won.

- Doc

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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:44 am 
Bishop

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Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Hawkeye,

The point I was making is she is a crap mother to drag her kid away from her family, place her kid in mortal danger, then claim she feels unsafe, and then lie about her reasons to ask for asylum which underscores just how ridiculous the whole asylum angle is.

It'd be nice if we could just, for once, get a Leftist (besides me), to tell the truth for once. The Left exists in deception in order to advance it's agenda which is a HUGE reason why Trump won.

- Doc


Ok, well I wasn't sure what your point was. But at least two of us on this very thread have already admitted what you say hasn't been admitted. But it is worth mentioning that this woman didn't try to claim asylum while presenting herself at the border. She only said that when she got caught floating on a raft while crossing the Rio Grande. This is like people claiming self defense only after they're identified as a murderer.

This woman actually lived in Texas previously but was deported in 2013 so this isn't her first rodeo either. When dealing with masses of tens of thousands of people, you're always going to have some who are highly irresponsible, immoral, etc. Probably a few sociopaths too. But the point is she's the exception, not the rule. Her husband was pissed as all get out. Unlike most Hondurans, he has a good job and makes good money, but she had the American life before and she wanted it again for her and her daughter.


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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:48 am 
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She Got Asylum After Her Partner Shot Her. Now The U.S. Would Turn Her Away

Aracely Martinez Yanez fled Honduras after surviving severe domestic abuse. A new ruling will shut the door on other women like her.

BALTIMORE, Md. ― Aracely Martinez Yanez, 33, knows she’s one of the lucky ones. A deep scar that carves a line through her scalp, from crown to cheek, is proof of that fortune.

She got lucky when her abusive partner shot her point-blank in the head, and she survived.

She got lucky when she escaped her tiny village in Honduras. Local villagers blamed her for her partner’s death; he killed himself and their two young sons after he shot her.

She got lucky when she wasn’t harmed as she made the treacherous 2,000-mile journey to America.

And she got luckiest of all when she was granted asylum after she got here.

If she were to make her journey to America now, she would likely be turned away. Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ruled that immigration judges generally cannot consider domestic violence as grounds for asylum. Sessions overturned a precedent set during the Obama administration that allowed certain victims to seek asylum here if they were unable to get help in their home countries.

Domestic abuse of the kind experienced by Martinez Yanez is endemic in Central America. In Honduras, few services for victims exist, and perpetrators are almost never held criminally responsible. One woman is killed every 16 hours there, according to Honduras’ Center for Women’s Rights.

For many victims, the United States is their best shot at staying alive.

While the exact numbers are not available, immigration lawyers have estimated that the Trump administration’s decision could invalidate tens of thousands of pending asylum claims from women fleeing domestic violence. Advocates warn it will be used to turn women away at the border, even if they have credible asylum claims.

“This administration is trying to close the door to refugees,” said Archi Pyati, chief of policy at Tahirih Justice Center, a nonprofit organization that works with immigrant women and girls who have survived gender-based violence. They represented Martinez Yanez in her asylum case. Travel bans, increased detention and family separation are all being used as a tools to deter individuals from coming here, Pyati said.

Still, that will not stop women from coming. Because there are thousands of women just like Martinez Yanez, and their stories are just as harrowing.

A Violent Start
Martinez Yanez grew up in a tiny village in Honduras with her parents and seven siblings. Her family made a living by selling homemade horchata, a sweet drink made from milky rice, and jugo de marañon, cashew juice. They also sold fresh tortillas out of their house. Her childhood was simple and happy.

But after she turned 15, a man in her village named Sorto became obsessed with her. At her cousin’s wedding, he tried to dance with her. She pushed him off: He was 15 years her senior, and gave her the creeps. A few days later, Martinez Yanez said, he waited outside her house with a gun and kidnapped her. He took her to a mountain and raped her repeatedly.

“I wanted to die,” she told Huffington Post through an interpreter at her home in Baltimore on Tuesday. “I felt dirty. He said that I was his woman, and that I would not belong to anyone else.” As she told her story, she rubbed her legs up and down, physically uncomfortable as she recalled the terrible things that had happened to her.

Over the next six years, she said, Sorto went on to rape and beat her whenever he pleased. In the eyes of the village, she was his woman, just like he said. She got pregnant immediately, giving birth to her first son, Juancito, at 16, and her second son, Daniel, at 18. Sorto would come and go from the village, as he had a wife and children in El Salvador. But when he wasn’t there, she said she was watched by his family.

As for help, there were no police in her village, she said. She had seen what happened to other women who traveled to the closest city to report abuse: It made things worse. The police did nothing, and the abuser would inevitably find out.

“I felt like I was worthless, like I had no value,” she said.

A few years after her sons were born, she became friends with a local barber who cut her children’s hair. He was sweet and respectful, nothing like Sorto, she said. They began a secret relationship. Sorto had been gone from the village for a few years, and Martinez Yanez hoped she was free of him. Then she got pregnant. Scared that Sorto would find out, she fled to San Pedro Sula, a city in the north of the country. She didn’t tell anyone where she had gone.

But Sorto found her anyway. He called her on the phone and told her if she did not come back to the village within the next 24 hours, he would kill her family, she said. Martinez Yanez got on the next bus back.

A few days after she returned, she said, Sorto told her that he was taking her and their two boys to the river. He brought a hunting rifle with him. The family walked through the mountainside. Martinez Yanez recalled handing her children some sticks to play with, and crouching on the ground with them. Then she felt the rifle pressing into her head. The rest is a blank.

Sorto shot her in the back of the head, and killed her two sons, before shooting himself. Juancito was 6, Daniel was 4. Somehow, Martinez Yanez, five months pregnant, survived. She was hospitalized for months and had to relearn to walk and talk. She is still deaf in one ear, and has numbness down one side of her body.

When she returned home to the village, she said, people threw rocks at her and called her names. Someone fired a gun into her house. Someone else tried to run her over with a bicycle. The community blamed her for the killings because she had tried to leave Sorto, she explained. His family wanted to avenge his death.

“The whole village was against me,” she said. “Children, adults. I couldn’t go anywhere by myself.”

A few months later she gave birth to a girl, Emely, but she was overwhelmed with stress. On top of grieving the death of her two sons, learning to live with a traumatic brain injury, and caring for her newborn, she was constantly worried about being killed by people in her village.

It was too much. She eventually fled to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, but Sorto’s family found her there too, she said. In a last-ditch effort to save Martinez Yanez’s life, her family paid over $7,000, an enormous sum for the family, to a coyote, a person who helps smuggle people across the border to the U.S. Emely, who was now 2, had to stay behind. They couldn’t afford to send her, too.

Martinez Yanez made the heartbreaking decision to go alone.

The Journey To Freedom

She left in the middle of the night, traveling with a group of four or five people. They were transported in a van for part of the trip, and then in taxis.

There was very little to eat or drink, she said, and she barely slept. Her stomach was upset and she suffered from debilitating headaches. In Mexico, she almost turned back.

“I missed my parents and my daughter so much,” she said. “But the threats and the conditions that I knew were waiting for me in my village gave me the motivation to continue to the U.S. to be safe.”

It took them two weeks to get to the U.S. border. Then they waited two days before attempting to cross, she said. She was terrified that she would be caught by immigration officials and sent back. She crossed the border illegally in February 2009, and went to her uncle’s house in Houston, Texas before traveling on to Annapolis, Maryland, where her brother lived.

Martinez Yanez didn’t know that she could apply for asylum as a domestic violence victim until a few years later, when she sought medical care for her head injury in Maryland. There, she was referred to Tahirih Justice Center.

Kristen Strain, an attorney who worked on her case, wrote the legal brief arguing that Martinez Yanez should be granted asylum.

Generally, applicants must show that the persecution they have suffered is on account of one of five grounds: race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Strain successfully argued that being a female victim of severe gender-based violence in Honduras counted as a particular social group for purposes of obtaining asylum.

“There simply aren’t laws in place that protect women like Aracely,” she said. “They have no recourse. It is accepted in their communities that women can be treated like men’s property.”

She said it took over a year to gather all the evidence for Martinez Yanez’s claim, which included a neurological evaluation, medical documents, news stories from Honduran papers about the shooting, dozens of interviews, and statements from friends and family in Honduras to corroborate her story.

“It is not as if it’s easy,” Strain said. “In addition to having to physically get here, which is harrowing and dangerous, women have to navigate a complex legal system that is difficult to understand, especially when they don’t speak the language. It’s hard for them to even know what their rights are, let alone find an attorney who can advocate for them.”

“Women like Aracely are saving their own lives,” she went on.

Martinez Yanez was granted asylum in 2013. Her daughter, Emely, was allowed to join her in 2014. While they talked on the phone regularly, the mother and daughter had not seen each other for five years.

A New Life

In her Baltimore home, more than 3,000 miles from the tiny village in Honduras where she was raised, Martinez Yanez likes to be surrounded by photos. They remind her of those she had to leave behind.

There’s one of her sister graduating college. Another of her parents beaming happily.

And then, hanging in the entrance to the kitchen, is a photograph of her with her two deceased sons. It is the only picture she owns of them. She brought it with her when she fled Honduras. When she spoke to Huffington Post about her sons, she cried. She still doesn’t understand why they were killed.

Since she’s been in the U.S., Martinez Yanez has expanded her family. Emely, who is 11, now has two sisters: Gabriela, 7, and Alyson, 4.

“I’m very fortunate to be able to have my daughters with me,” she said. “I can’t ask for anything better to happen. I am so happy with my life.”

Martinez Yanez still struggles with the repercussions of being shot in the head. She is forgetful and can get confused easily. She said she has to put every appointment she has in her phone with an alarm, otherwise she’ll miss it.

She said she was grateful that she was granted asylum, and heartbroken for other women who may not have the same opportunity she did.

“I just feel so sad that other women in my situation, or even in worse situations than mine will not be allowed in the country anymore,” she said. “Here, I don’t have to hide or run away from anyone.”


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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:14 am 
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Just bringing a little balance to the discussion...

http://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/ ... -advocates

Quote:
Americans have been played again by open-border advocates

... the open borders lobby is fighting back by using a playbook that has served it well for many years. They just used it again with the children on the border crisis story with great success.

The playbook goes something like this: Identify an issue, in this case, the immigration laws whereby children of illegal aliens were housed separately while their parents’ cases are being adjudicated. Then spread wild misrepresentations, sensationalism and flat-out lies about the targeted policy. Next, deploy fellow travelers in the media, entertainment and the pundit class to pile on manufactured outrage at the enforcers of such a purportedly sinister policy. After several days of scathing media coverage declaring the entire nation aghast at the policy, the president calms his panic-stricken congressional allies and seeks to appease the angry mob.

... People are getting wise to the kind of manipulation that took place with the children at the border. They see the absurd exploitation in the news, such as the publishing of photos suggesting that Trump policies put migrant children at the border in cages, until it was revealed that the photos were from the Obama era or not from the border at all. Migrant children in U.S. government custody, it turns out, are housed in very comfortable facilities with better food, housing, medical care and education services than many American children in low-income families receive. They see that foreigners are being coached by lawyers from open borders groups to say the “magic words” that trigger the asylum process, even though their claims may be dubious at best.

... It is clear that the outrage being hurled at President Trump has almost nothing to do with concern for the children. It is merely the latest tactic by those who desire an open southern border, to the point that the United States can no longer be considered a nation of laws and borders. Now that migrant families will be reunited on the border, the next alleged crime against humanity will be that those families are being detained at all. Those who vilify Trump’s zero-tolerance enforcement are essentially giving a government subsidy to the child smuggling black market, which sees lucrative profits as more would-be asylum seekers are drawn to what they correctly see as an easy pass into America. Open borders do not help children, they put them in peril.


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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:07 am 
God

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ajax18 wrote:
Build the wall! Then you won't have to pay for lawyers, judges, jails, or separate children from parents. The wall certainly worked for Israel.


So why then does Israel not have walls on much of it's borders?

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 Post subject: Re: Trump's War on Children
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:22 am 
God
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We need borders to remain a sovereign state. But the borders can and should be managed humanely. Both right and left have to come together to make this work. Throwing partisan memes at eachother isn't cutting it. Same with all of the other major problems we have.

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