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American Immigration: Many Contingencies

Trump discusses the border.

Trump discusses the border.

Five years since thousands of children were separated from their families at the Mexican-American border, their horror still lives on. We must keep their stories alive lest we forget.

What's the real national emergency?

What's the real national emergency?

A History, A Present: One Goal

Many European settlers came to America to escape religious persecutions and royal authority. Refusing to pay taxes to a government where they had no representation was a call for battle. Many families seeking refuge from southern border nations at present, are seeking life without cartels, poverty, corrupt politicians and certain death. Each group has an adequate cause. But one group entered without finding "...liberty and justice for all".

Settlers, Colonizers, Conquerors or Immigrants

American history does not paint a very stellar picture of non-native Americans who came to the shores of this country to seek a better life. The colonization of America created an entire population of displaced native Indians. The arriving colonists were all immigrants. The European settlers who landed at the feet of the Statue of Liberty were all immigrants. But today, the term immigrant has taken on a negative connotation. Immigrants are often unwanted and ridiculed for "taking jobs from true Americans".

Immigrants seeking refuge in American from Mexico and other southern border nations have been displaced at an alarming rate and the off-springs of this population, under the Trump Presidency, have been scarred and permanently traumatized.

As spelled out in Mariam Webster’s Thesaurus of similar terms, immigrants are also settlers, colonizers, or conquerors. Utilizing Webster’s glossary of terms presents a very interesting scenario for the current picture. Likewise, Webster also indicates that the opposite of immigrant is native (like Native American).

The immigrants coming from the southern border are here to settle in America, colonize America, or conquer America. Yet, the point often overlooked is the historical recorded data that substantiates the present-day European-American forefathers as settlers, colonizers, and or conquerors; thereby making them immigrants. And the native Americans were not immigrants, but just the opposite. Then again, after the colonization, settling, and or conquering of America by the Europeans, the true natives became some of the most impoverished persons in America.

Trumps Divisive Plan

Trump's emergency plan to deter illegal immigration from southern border nations was a signal that America is all filled up. No more immigrants, especially people of color. Yet, the concept of illegal was not applicable to the colonists and other refugees from various nations during the great migration of the early 20th century.

The Trump administration’s family-separation policy was one phase of U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration policy. The policy was presented as a "zero-tolerance" approach intended to deter illegal immigration. It was adopted across the whole U.S.-Mexico border from April 2018 until June 2018. However, later investigations found that the practice of family separations had begun the previous year.

Infants and toddlers were among the children who were put into foster homes or shelters, often hundreds or thousands of miles away from where their parents were detained. The victims of the "illegal immigration" movement were voiceless minors. They could not be charged with a crime so they were held accountable in other ways.

President Trump’s “national emergency” [was an] attempt to obscure the severity of the consequences dealt to children who [were] separated from their parents at the southern border of the United States.

For Trump, a "national emergency is anything he says it is . . .” according to Washington Post’s David Nakamura.

Trump presumed that separating children from families would deter the immigration of persons from southern nations. But as gleaned by one observer seen on NBC, "These people [Mexican immigrants] do not have media coverage to see what is in store for them nor do they have previous knowledge of what lies ahead. Many of them have heard that America is where they will find safety and a better way of life”.

Lest We Forget

On June 11, 2022 Lee Gelernt stated "We believe that more than 1,000 families are still not reunited". Gelernt is the lead ACLU attorney who sued to stop the Trump administration policy and represents separated families suing the U.S. government for damages and other types of relief (Aline Barros).

Some of the children are in foster care; others are with relatives they had never seen before.

Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union believe the number of children yet to be returned to their parents is much higher.

"I've been doing this work for 30 years, and this is by far the worst thing that I have ever seen," said Gelernt. "We're talking about really a historic wrong by this country because it wasn't an accident. It wasn't a few mistakes. It was a deliberate policy at the highest levels of the United States government sitting down and saying, 'Let's take children away from their parents so that the parents say, 'Let's just give up our asylum claims.' And no one ever tries to come in."

A Flawed Emergency

After the Trump administration announced it would end its practice of separating families in early June 2018, it materialized that the policy did not include measures to reunite the families that it had separated (Tal Kopan, CNN).

March 2019, an official government report showed that more children have been removed from their families, in some cases without clear documentation to track them in order to reunite them with their parents.

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To separate children from families is not a policy but rather an act of unspeakable horrors. The Trump administration’s cavalier response to persons of color is an intentional arrangement of racial disparity. His Muslim ban, his response to Charlotville’s situation, the total disrespect for his predecessor, and his use of the phrase "shithole countries," [while] referring to Haiti and those in Africa all demonstrate a pattern of discrimination.

As of the first of 2019, the Trump administration did acknowledge that thousands of children affected by the policy remain separated from their families, and officials are uncertain of the exact number (ELLIOT SPAGAT, February 2, 2019, AP). However, according to Marian Jordan of the New York Times, the federal government reported that nearly 3,000 children were forcibly separated from their parents under last year’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy and were put into shelters or foster care.

The Children's Emergency

We know that very young children who are exposed to the type of trauma going on at the border can be developmentally delayed in speech, impaired in their fine motor skills, and suffer from various emotional disorders, according to Dr. Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In like manner, a new University of Michigan report on the implications of family separation on young children conveys that the trauma children experience when undergoing long-term separation from their parents is extremely detrimental to their development.

[The border children] were not provided with emotional support in the shelters, which leads them to experience unimaginable stress. Migrant children remained in shelters for an average of 57 days before being placed in foster care or with relatives.

When children are reunited with parents, the reintegration process is sometimes difficult. Widespread videos of families being reunified have shown emotionless children, some even avoiding their parents' embrace. A number of children do not even recognize their parents upon return, which speaks to the intense trauma that these children have experienced.

Some Cannot Remember

America is a melting pot of persons from all over the globe. However, President Trump used his power to thwart the idealism of a melting pot. Gelernt said. "It's been now five years, and there are some children who haven't seen their parents, in four years, four to five years. And so we're in this horrendous situation where the children — some of them are so young — they don't even really remember their parents."

Leftover Policies

Leftovers from a dinner might be wrapped up and stored in the fridge. If the food is not consumed within a day or so then it may be disposed of. The policies or leftovers from a president's term cannot be disposed of, the long term effects can be far reaching, costly, and can generate a trail of bitter tears.

The leftovers from the Trump administration are distasteful and bitter to anyone's palate. The long term effects have dug deep into the American soil--a ground where so many in American history have stood on for a safe refuge.

American Colonist

American Colonist

© 2019 Linda Joy Johnson

Comments

Brad on March 25, 2019:

Heather Lynn Johnson

Linda, I applaud your article as it brings to light the archaic nature of Trump's practices. He is tearing families apart under the guise of a national emergency. This country is full of immigrants that have entered legally and illegally.

B: Linda and you are missing the issue. Once again, if the parents didn't bring their children, they wouldn't be separated.

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Everyone is here on the backs of Native American's who were killed, raped and displaced by Euro immigrants. If these were blue eyed blonde haired immigrants I doubt you would be authoring this eloquent article.

B: Then complain to Spain, Mexico and Central America was under the Spanish Empire.

You didn't make any point here? You need to read the history, and James Watkins has done an excellent set of articles that would enlighten you.

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I dare say, that the countries these people are fleeing must be horrific if they are risking being separated from their children. As a mother, I would risk death to save my children from a life of hell on earth.

B:

We are not the repository of the world, we have limited resources and limited money? Every country has immigration laws, and president Trump didn't write them, he is just enforcing them. Complain to congress to change the law.

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It is reprehensible that a country built on illegal immigration wants to band those seeking a better life in America.

B:

Again, the people that populated this country came through legal US immigration.

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None of the devastation and mass shootings we are experiencing are being committed by those crossing the border seeking a better life.

B:

The US jails and prisons are filled with illegal immigrants. And California protects these Convicted Illegal Alien Felons". You have the emotion now get the facts.

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Furthermore, I doubt if these babies/children have caused any harm. These parents want what any parent wants, even Trump I imagine, to give their children a fighting chance.

B:

Again, this is a congress problem, they wrote these laws.

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Brad on March 25, 2019:

Linda

I have already commented on this comment, but I don't see it here?

"You say, "The difference is that most of us came through the legal immigration process. We were never aliens in the sense of being illegal aliens"

But the operative term here is that "you came". Why did you come? If this country was ever to become a country it took colonists to come, take over and create laws. The new immigrants want to make changes in their lives by coming, too. The laws were created by the former founders of this country---did they follow laws when they came? Did the native American impose immigration laws on them? Why you say do I dwell on the past---because America is a country of past generations coming together for various freedoms. This country began with the immigration of people and hopefully, it will not further divide and fall because of the end of the immigration of people. Yes, there are laws, but laws have changed---that is why the Constitution has amendments. Jim Crow laws and segregation laws have plagued this country for decades---but they did change"

Heather Lynn Johnson on March 25, 2019:

Linda, I applaud your article as it brings to light the archaic nature of Trump's practices. He is tearing families apart under the guise of a national emergency. This country is full of immigrants that have entered legally and illegally.

Everyone is here on the backs of Native American's who were killed, raped and displaced by Euro immigrants. If these were blue eyed blonde haired immigrants I doubt you would be authoring this eloquent article.

I dare say, that the countries these people are fleeing must be horrific if they are risking being separated from their children. As a mother, I would risk death to save my children from a life of hell on earth.

It is reprehensible that a country built on illegal immigration wants to band those seeking a better life in America. None of the devastation and mass shootings we are experiencing are being committed by those crossing the border seeking a better life. Furthermore, I doubt if these babies/children have caused any harm. These parents want what any parent wants, even Trump I imagine, to give their children a fighting chance.

Thank you for shining light on this national crisis and I hope there can be some remediation for these families soon.

Linda Joy Johnson (author) from Detroit, MI on March 22, 2019:

You say, "The difference is that most of us came through the legal immigration process. We were never aliens in the sense of being illegal aliens"

But the operative term here is that "you came". Why did you come? If this country was ever to become a country it took colonists to come, take over and create laws. The new immigrants want to make changes in their lives by coming, too. The laws were created by the former founders of this country---did they follow laws when they came? Did the native American impose immigration laws on them? Why you say do I dwell on the past---because America is a country of past generations coming together for various freedoms. This country began with the immigration of people and hopefully, it will not further divide and fall because of the end of the immigration of people. Yes, there are laws, but laws have changed---that is why the Constitution has amendments. Jim Crow laws and segregation laws have plagued this country for decades---but they did change.

Linda Johnson on March 22, 2019:

Brad, as I indicated before, I appreciate your comments. I really do, and intelligent discussions like we are engaging in is something our leaders in Washington could learn from. And why impute the Trump administration, because they are the leaders of this country. Not me and not you.

Brad on March 22, 2019:

Linda

"A Flawed Emergency

After the Trump administration announced it would end its practice of separating families last June, at least 245 children have been separated from their parents, according to a new court filing. By early June 2018, it materialized that the policy did not include measures to reunite the families that it had separated (Tal Kopan, CNN). "

Here is the real question. If the parents didn't take their children with them when they illegally cross the border would there be a problem of separating the children?

Why shouldn't these people go through the legal immigration process?

Do you condone these parents when they endanger their children crossing into the desert into the US? Do you think it is an escorted school trip into the desert? Or do you think it is dangerous, too dangerous to take kids? Many illegal aliens have died making that trip, but you are OK with the parents making this decision. And you want to impute their endangerment to president Trump,why?

Linda Joy Johnson (author) from Detroit, MI on March 22, 2019:

The only way we will truly communicate is for each of us to be able to express ourselves. I appreciate your perspective, but as indicated in my article, we are all aliens in a distant land so why all of the dissonance. The Trump administration allegedly banned the separation after establishing it, so the ball is in their court. And how far would any of us go to escape inhumane conditions? Chances are your forefathers and mothers came here from another country for a better life, unless you are native American. I don't fit either mode, as I can trace my great great grandparents back to slavery.

Brad on March 22, 2019:

"President Trump’s “national emergency” appears to be another attempt to obscure the severity of the consequences dealt to children being separated from their parents at the southern border of the United States"

Instead of blaming president Trump, why not blame the problem on the parents that take their children illegally across the border. It is like taking their children to trespass against private property like going to Walmart when it is closed. This is a crime, and if parents take their children when they commit a crime any crime and they get caught what happens. They get arrested and they go to jail. What happens to the children, they go to protective services.

This scenario would happen to US citizens in the US, why should it be any different an foreigners commit a crime.

In fact, I submit that the parents that take these children with them are endangering the lives of those children. And, again child endangerment even in the US committed by US citizens is still grounds to take their children away from them, to protect the children.

But for these parents taking their children with them, there would be no separation, no danger to the children.

So, why are you blaming president Trump, and no these parents? This separation started during Obama's presidency, and they are part of the then and still existing immigration laws.

If you want a different result, then blame congress both parties for not writing better immigration laws.

You as well as all the others that say these things should be blamed for condoning the action of these illegal aliens. That think nothing of our laws, and nothing of their children's safety.

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