Pili Tobar: Trump and Miller Are Fine with Ruining the Lives of Children in Their Effort to Keep Out/Kick Out Immigrants

WASHINGTON, D.C. August 19, 2019 – The Trump administration’s immigration radicalism and cruelty is taking a toll on children. Just look at the implications and examples from immigration stories from the past few days:

  • Stephen Miller and allies intent on blocking immigrant children from attending school. As Bloomberg reports in a piece titled, “White House Looked Into Ways to Block Migrant Children From Going to School,” Miler has been a “driving force” behind an effort “to give states the power to block undocumented immigrant children from enrolling in public schools … Ultimately, they abandoned the idea after being told repeatedly that any such effort ran afoul of a 1982 Supreme Court case guaranteeing access to public schools.”
  • Mississippi raids separated children from parents and continued spreading fear: As CNN reports, a number of children whose parents were detained in immigration raids in Mississippi on August 7 still do not have at least one parent with them, as of last Friday. Meanwhile, a Slate piece on the aftermath of the raids highlights that, “the sudden disappearance of hundreds of working adults has pulled hundreds more into new and unfamiliar roles. A teacher spent the hours after school watching two girls, ages 4 and 7, who hadn’t seen their mother in a week. A woman arrived at the grocery store with 11 kids in tow, their mothers detained hundreds of miles away. A frantic father left his engine running in the school parking lot, afraid that in picking up his children he was driving into a trap…”
  • Trump rule likely to mean sicker immigrant families, including U.S. citizen children. An AP story highlights how the public charge rule will harm immigrant families’ health, including that of U.S. citizen kids. Dr. Deanna Behrens, “a pediatric critical-care physician in suburban Chicago…said non-citizen parents might hesitate to apply for their children who are U.S. citizens, mistakenly fearing that if their children get benefits it will destroy their own chances of getting a green card and tear their families apart…Esperanza Health Centers, which runs four Chicago-based clinics that serve low-income and largely immigrant populations, has seen an increase in the number of uninsured children. Since a draft of the new rule was released in the fall, the clinics report having 600 children without insurance, including those who have disenrolled from Medicaid.”

The above are just the recent examples of the broader cruelty that is being inflicted by President Trump, Stephen Miller, and their allies. Others include the infamous family separation policy, which continues to this day and has inflicted lifelong trauma on thousands of children; the horrific conditions and abuse inflicted on migrant and asylum-seeking children at and along the border; and the administration’s ongoing assault against DACA and TPS protections and the accompanying fear, anxiety, and lost opportunities for DACA/TPS recipients and the country as a whole.

The depths and darkness of the Trump/Miller drive to dehumanize people of color and Latino immigrants is evidenced by the cruelty directed at vulnerable children. In their relentless effort to kick out and keep out immigrant families, these harms are not the byproduct of a misguided strategy, the cruelty is the point. They are targeting Latino and immigrant communities through their children because they believe that a cruel and sadistic approach will send a message of deterrence to those fleeing persecution and seeking safety in the United States. It’s a shocking truth that in America in 2019 our federal government is  purposely devastating the lives and futures of children as a matter of policy.

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