Presidential Order to End Family Separation Policy Won’t Fix the Problem

The president of the United States has just signed an order to put a stop to a policy that government officials recently claimed was an unchangeable law.

UPDATED 06/22/18 11:04 A.M. PST: The military is preparing military bases in Texas and Arkansas to house up to 20,000 immigrant children and families. Read more →

Only two days ago, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was denying that the family separation policy even existed. Hours later, she was blaming the policy on “loopholes” in the law that supposedly only Congress could fix.

Then she defended the entire scheme, claiming to have visited the detention centers and talking up just how wonderful they were.

Today, she stood beside the president of the United States as he signed an order to put an end to the policy that didn’t but did exist and was but now isn’t the law.

“We’re signing an executive order. I consider it to be a very important executive order. It’s about keeping families together, while at the same time being sure we have a very powerful, very strong border.”  — the 45th president of the United States

This is as close as we will probably ever get to getting this administration to admit that its policies are shortsighted, dishonest, and oftentimes illegal or even unconstitutional, and its only because they tied themselves up in so many lies that it eventually expanded beyond their control.

As Aaron Blake wrote for The Washington Post, “It’s the political equivalent of waving the white flag and the legal equivalent of confessing to making false statements.”

However, the order will not reunite families that have already been separated. In fact, the order doesn’t even guarantee that future families to cross the border will remain together, instead saying that families will be detained together “where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.”

Aside from allowing Southwest Key CEO Juan Sanchez to continue profiting off of the detention of entire families, the order will also expand the use of military facilities as detention centers.

Its only somewhat positive attribute is that the order will require the prioritization of cases involving families in immigration court and will allow adults facing prosecution to remain with their children in detention rather than being held separately — to the “extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations.”

Senate Democrats are holding the Senate floor this evening in protest of the revision.

This executive order that reverses what was supposedly a nonexistent yet uncontrollable policy certainly won’t solve the monster of a problem this administration has created for itself.

According to Congressmember Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who visited the SeaTac Bureau of Prisons where 200 asylum seekers are being held, the government’s system for keeping track of families is to distribute pieces of paper to the parents with the names of their children on them.

Jayapal spoke with some of the detainees and at least one woman told her that the names on the piece of paper she was given were not the names of her children.

“But one woman pointed to the slip of paper and said to me, “These are not my children.” So there is a real question also about whether these agencies—because there’s the U.S. Marshals, there’s Customs and Border Protection, there’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, there’s DHS, there’s the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Nobody knows—and we have not been able to get the answers to—whether or not these agencies are coordinated and whether or not they actually know where these children are.”  — Jayapal

A 1-800 number has been set up by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) which is supposed to allow parents to determine the status and location of their child or children, but the vast majority of these people do not and will not have access to a phone as they are processed for deportation.

The Intercept reports that more than 3,700 children have been separated from their parents by the U.S. government from the policy’s inception through June 9.

Imagine how many of those children were assigned to the wrong parent or guardian.

Imagine how many of those children’s parents have already been deported.

Even if the family separation policy ends today, there are still some 3,700 children who don’t know where their parents are, many of whom are too young to speak for themselves — what will happen to them? What will the government do with them? When will the government issue a plan to reunite these families? Will it?

And more importantly, what is the order really even worth when there are so many people in this country who were actually excited to see immigrant children being locked up like animals?

Former campaign manager to the president Corey Lewandowski’s response to being told that a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome had been separated from her parents was, and I kid you not, “Womp, womp.”

In audio recordings published by ProPublica, you can hear the cries of children begging for their mothers and fathers. An unidentified Border Patrol agent can be heard joking in Spanish, “Well, we have an orchestra here. What’s missing is a conductor.”

If you go to any article or video on Facebook and comb through the comments, you’re bound to come across more than a couple enthusiastic proponents of the policy.

Take this post for example:

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Here are some of the comments people made in response:

“We need organ donors. Let em become american. One piece at a time….”

“I’ll give you 50 bucks for it. Can it paint a living room?”

“Smash his little fingers with a bat so he won’t hold the cage damn it!!”

“OK with it??? Hell where do I sign up to put these illegals in a cage.”

“Fuck no this is horrible why aren’t those gages. Electric shock that little border hopper.”

“Yea I do, what’s that thing doing without a muzzle?”

What do we do at this point, when our country’s populace has reached this level of callous inhumanity?

What good is a presidential order when this kind of mentality exists among our people?

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