My Facebook feed is alight with hysterical headlines regarding the Federal government’s treatment of undocumented immigrants who are younger than age 18. The worst horror described in the headlines is separation from parents, but also there are some articles about abuses suffered in what are essentially government-run short-term orphanages.
My stupid question for today is How does our government deport any person young enough to credibly claim to be under age 18?
Suppose that a young-looking person shows up in the U.S. and says the following:
- “I am 14 years old”
- “I grew up in a small village, but I don’t know what country we were part of.”
- “My name is Santiago, but I never was told about a last name.”
- “Adults brought me here against my will.”
How would our government go about deporting such a person? By definition this undocumented immigrant has no documents. It wouldn’t make sense to deport him to a specific country and there would be no reason for any specific country to take him.
Minor children are entitled to food, shelter, health care, and education, right? So Santiago would have to be provided with all of that for $50,000(?) per year in a government-run facility or maybe put into foster care (table of rates by state). He would have to be given education through age 18, perhaps at about $25,000 per year including the capital cost of building a school.
He can’t be imprisoned for the crime of breaking U.S. immigration laws, can he? He says that it was an adult who brought him here.
What actually happens in the above case?
[Separately, what is happening with the separation of children from parents that the headlines are screaming about? One article that I saw was about a father who came here from Central America as an asylum-seeker. He brought one child with him and left the wife and two or three additional kids back home to face whatever violence and oppression qualified him and the apparently favored child for asylum. He and the child (10 years old?) were separated for four days and then reunited to spend a few years in the U.S. waiting for the asylum request to be resolved.
My Facebook feed is on fire regarding this, but nobody mentions that separating children from parents is a common commercial activity in the U.S. We have boarding schools. We have summer camps. We spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a family law system whose primary function is separating children from one parent (see the “Children, Mothers, and Fathers” chapter for statistics on how 2/3rds of children report not having seen the loser parent within the preceding year). Obviously the govenrment-run orphanage is not an elite boarding school or a lakeside summer camp, but of all of the bad things that the Federal government does, why are people obsessed with this one?]
Related from Facebook:
- From our Native American senator, Elizabeth Warren: “Cardinal O’Malley is right. Tearing children away from their families is cruel and unconscionable — and goes against everything our country stands for.” and “At our town hall in Newburyport yesterday, people wanted to know: how can we stop the horror of the Trump administration ripping children from their parents? #KeepFamiliesTogether” (Warren sued her own husband and successfully separated two children from the person who had been their father; she also advises other women to keep a divorce litigation fund at the ready)
- “By now you’ve likely seen all the headlines about the children being separated from their parents at the border. It makes me sick, and sad, and I don’t know what to do. I’ll admit to writing this post in anger, but I know I’m not the only one with these emotions. When we hear that 2,000 children are being taken from their parents, what can we do?” from Mayim Bialik, an actress who sued her husband for divorce in 2012, thus separating her own children (age 4 and 7) from their two-parent family.
- “There is no excuse for inflicting these abuses and trauma on children. The Administration must immediately reverse course. #KeepFamiliesTogether” and “I’m standing in solidarity with the activists and families standing up to our government’s human rights abuses along the southern border. Government should be in the business of keeping families together, not breaking them apart.” from California Senator Kamala Harris. Wikipedia says “The family lived in Berkeley, California, where both of Harris’ parents attended graduate school. Harris’ parents divorced when she was only 7 and her mother was granted custody of the children by court-ordered settlement. After the divorce, her mother moved with the children to Montreal, Québec, Canada…” (i.e., the government of California was in the business of separating what had been Kamala’s own family; see Promise of divorce ruined by children (Australia parental relocation study) for how this kind of complete separation of children from the loser parent is getting tougher)
- “As a father, as a parent, I can not in good conscience abide this removal of children from their families. It is a cruel and inhumane action.” over “Here’s How You Can Help Fight Family Separation at the Border” (Slate). (Other than posting on Facebook, he is not personally doing anything to help. He lives in New York so if his wife decides that she wants to spend more time having sex with new friends, he will be separated from his own children except for every other weekend.)
- The above Slate article was also linked-to by a divorce, custody, and child support litigator here in Massachusetts. As we are a winner-take-all state when it comes to family law, she will spend nearly every working day separating children from a loser parent.
- direct post from Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse: “Catch-and-release – combined with inefficient deportation and other ineffective policies – created a magnet whereby lots of people came to the border who were not actually asylum-seekers. … Human trafficking organizations are not just evil; they’re also often smart. Many quickly learned the “magic words” they needed to say under catch-and-release to guarantee admission into the U.S. Because of this, some of the folks showing up at the border claiming to be families are not actually families. Some are a trafficker with one or more trafficked children. ” (posted by a passionate Hillary supporter with “One of the only actually informative statements I’ve seen on the family separation debacle.”)
- “13 Facts the Media ‘Pros’ Don’t Want You to Know About ‘Family Border Separation’” (from a Deplorable via private message; he noted “And if you intended to seek refugee status, why break in, why not just go to the border guard and say you want to be a refugee? If you do that, there is no arrest and no child separation. That means that the people who are arrested only lie about being refugee after they are caught.” He added “at least the anti-gun kids are out of the news”)