Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, Fl, Fri. Sept. 20, 2019: The Trump administration’s family separation
policy was officially ended by court order in June 2018. But last week, as
coverage of Hurricane Dorian’s devastation continued to stun many, and hundreds
of Bahamian victims of the storm tried to flee to the U.S., a 12-year-old
Bahamian evacuee fleeing the devastation the hurricane wrought on Abaco Island
in the Bahamas, was separated from the family member she came to the U.S. with and
put into a shelter for abused or abandoned children in Florida.
how was this possible? After all, the court had ruled that the implementation
of the zero-tolerance family separation policy itself was unlawful, right?
unfortunately, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw left a loophole which the Trump
administration’s U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement agency it seems has no
problem exploiting to push their continued hard line immigration agenda.
the ruling, Judge Sabraw said that the government could continue to separate
families on a case-by-case basis in instances where a parent had a communicable
disease, when there was a determination a parent was unfit, and if the criminal
history of a parent required it.
it has continued. According to the ACLU, more than 900 additional children, at
least as of July 2019, have been separated from their families. This is in
addition to the thousands already separated when the policy began in 2018.
how did CBP agents classify a little girl fleeing a hurricane with her godmother
as fitting into this loophole and decide to snatch her away and drop her into a
home for “abandoned children” in a strange land?
to the Miami Herald, little Kaytora arrived in the U.S. with her godmother
after they flew from Nassau to West Palm Beach to escape Abaco island.
when Kaytora and her godmother arrived in Florida, U.S. CBP separated the child
from the woman because they said she was not Kaytora’s biological parent.
when Kaytora’s biological aunt went to collect her from CBP, officials refused
to release the child back to the family’s custody. And her mother, Katty Paul,
was then told that she would have to go through a long process to get her daughter
back – including providing several documents to prove their relationship.
for Kaytora, her family turned to the media and the story went viral, sparking
tremendous public outcry over the family separation. Not so lucky for thousands
of Central and South American immigrant families and their children caught up
in the Trumpian web of xenophobia.
Department of Health and Human Services, however, expedited Kaytora’s reunification
after claiming that the government was “unaware the girl was a hurricane
survivor” at the time of the separation.
Kaytora was luckily reunited with her mother and her aunt on September 12th,
after spending four days at His House Children’s Home under the custody of the
question is why was this allowed to happen in the first instance and why is it
still happening to young children at our borders?
CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan had a blatantly stupid response when asked recently
about the government’s continued separation policy. “Yeah, so what the policy
is, is that we’re going to look at, first and foremost, the health, safety, and
wellbeing of the child. And we will use
a totality of circumstances to make that decision to determine any type of
separation. And that’s our policy. It has been and it continues to be.”
for yourself – both the judge’s loophole ruling and the statement from Morgan –
and ask how CBP agents concluded that a little girl lucky to survive a category
5 hurricane should be snatched and taken from the guardian she knows?
reality is, that when it comes to black and brown foreigners and immigrants
seeking to enter the U.S., there is a different set to rules – much like the bigoted
U.S. justice system.
It is why
Donald Trump, who it is claimed has said most black nations are “s-hole”
countries, had the audacity to say last week that he won’t allow Bahamian
victims of the storm without visas into the US, since there are some are “…very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very,
very bad drug dealers” there. This even though at no time has the US State Department’s
own narco-trafficking report posited this.
And it is why
the administration has decided, despite pleas from Republican Senators like Rick
Scott and Marco Rubio, and vocal agreement from CBP Morgan on why the
victims should benefit from Temporary
Protected Status, that it will
not allow Bahamian victims of the storm any such status.
The bottom line
is the Trump administration wants no more black and brown immigrants in the
U.S. If this had happened to Norway, then it would be arms wide open; but no way
for any “S-hole” countries.
which treats many Haitians the same way, is sadly having a karmic moment at a
time when innocent victims of Hurricane Dorian are going through agony and need
help starting over. Unfortunately, many of its own are getting a taste of just
how it feels to be an immigrant in Trump’s America, and most especially, how
thousands of Central American immigrants feel when their children are snatched
from their arms.
The writer is publisher at NewsAmericasNow