Tuesday, June 05, 2018

We Cannot Allow This To Happen

Last week I wrote about something truly evil: the US government as been literally tearing crying children, even infants and toddlers from the arms of their asylum seeking parents at our border, separating them for days, weeks, and even months at a time, housing them in "detention" centers that sound for all the world like concentration camps for children. Government officials have alternatively asserted that this is what the law demands (a flat out lie) and that their policy as an intentional "deterrent" against people attempting to cross the border "illegally" (there is nothing illegal about seeking asylum in our country). They are snatching children from their parents, parents who have in many cases done nothing more than to knock on our door seeking refuge, and housing them often hundreds of miles away from their parents who are denied any contact while their cases are being adjudicated. As I said before, this is evil.

Over the past couple days, the administration has gone from denying these assertions to admitting them, pivoting instead to the talking point that these children are "very safe" and "properly cared for," yet no proof of this as been offered. Setting aside the abject cruelty of separating children from their parents (a huge set-aside, I'll admit), at the very least we the people deserve to know for certain that these children who have been taken in our name are being treated humanely.

Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon has for days been attempting to tour one of these facilities to see with his own eyes, as an elected representative of we the people, the conditions in which these children are being kept, yet he has been denied at every turn. Over the weekend, he even went so far as to show up at an abandoned Wal-Mart in Brownsville, Texas where hundreds of these kids are being held to demand entry. Not only was he again denied, but they called the police on him. He has posted a video of the encounter online which you can see here. Since then other members of congress have attempted to tour facilities, also to be denied.

What are they hiding? From the outside, the Brownsville facility is a grim place with its windows blacked out. We've all been inside big box stores: they are designed for in-and-out shopping, not living. Even assuming that the children are being provided beds, healthy food, changes of clothing, and basic healthcare (and we absolutely do not know that this is the case), who is caring for the other big needs of these children who are without a doubt suffering from extreme trauma. In many cases, they have already gone through hell to even get to our border. They have been taken from their parents and dumped into abandoned Wal-Marts with hundreds of other children who are likewise suffering. Who is caring for them and how are they being cared for? Where do they play? Do they ever get to see sunlight? Breath fresh air? From where I sit, I can only imagine that they are in a living hell, an experience from which they will likely never fully recover.

This is a national nightmare and anyone who is not outraged is as heartless as those who are inflicting this policy on innocent children. Lord, I hope that my fears are wrong, that somehow, behind those blacked out windows, there are caring, loving, nurturing caretakers, that there is some joy, some light, some love, but . . . Well, we have no way of knowing because we the people are being denied. What are they hiding? My fear is that what is happening to these children is worse than my fears. I can't even imagine what these children, these human beings, these children of trauma are going through.

I don't care where you sit on the political spectrum. If you read this blog you care deeply about doing right by children. We must demand the truth. We must demand access. Please call your representatives right now, especially if you are represented by someone from the President's party. Maybe he'll listen to them. Please do this for these children. Demand to know what is happening in our name. It's already evil, but I fear it may even worse: those blacked out windows are keeping me awake at night. Please call now, call often, and demand that they open their doors at least to our representatives, if not the media. We cannot allow this to happen -- not in our name.

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