Trump administration's brutal war on migrant kids escalates
The Trump administration has steadily been using immigrants’ children, regardless of legal status, as pawns in its racist, mass deportation dragnet. This is traumatic. ICE has allegedly used deplorable tactics like using children as “bait” in order to arrest their undocumented immigrant parents, something that happened to last year to Mynor Espinoza:
According to his lawyer, Espinoza first attempted to enter the U.S. illegally in 2009. He was caught at the border and returned to his native country, but later that year successfully managed to get into the U.S. with his wife, Dulce. Espinoza has been working as a mason and living in West Haven, and he and his wife now have three young children who were born in the country and are U.S. citizens.
His 9-year-old son, a fourth child who was not born in the country, is also undocumented and was picked up about a year ago attempting to enter the U.S. unaccompanied. Federal officials turned the boy over to his father after Espinoza promised to bring the child to any scheduled immigration hearings and to cooperate with requests from ICE officials.
Rodriguez said Espinoza was requested to come to ICE offices in Hartford to sign some papers for his son, and was immediately arrested when he did so and transferred to detention in Massachusetts.
ICE has also flouted their own “sensitive locations” policy to stalk and arrest immigrant parents, like Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, as they drop their kids off at school. “A 13-year-old girl on her way to school wailed as immigration agents took her handcuffed father away in a black car”:
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents pulled Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez’s vehicle over Tuesday about a half mile from a school where the undocumented immigrant from Mexico had just dropped off one of his daughters.
The dad, 48, was driving daughter Fatima Avelica to another school in the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park when ICE stopped them. Left behind in the car with her mother, Fatima wept inconsolably as she captured video of her father’s detention. Rosary beads hung from the rearview mirror. A palm-frond cross rested on the dashboard.
In March, a draft proposal obtained by the Washington Post also revealed that the administration was considering targeting “immigrants who accept almost any form of welfare or public benefit, even popular tax deductions” for their U.S. citizen kids, in a quest to deny them permanent legal status:
Current rules penalize immigrants who receive cash welfare payments, considering them a “public charge.” But the proposed changes from the Department of Homeland Security would widen the government’s definition of benefits to include the widely used Earned Income Tax Credit as well as health insurance subsidies and other “non-cash public benefits.”
The changes would apply to those seeking immigration visas, or legal permanent residency, such as a foreigner with an expiring work visa. While it would make little difference to those living illegally in the shadows, it could affect immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — whose termination has been blocked by federal courts — if they attempt to file for full legal residency.
The administration’s proposal making it harder for migrant kids to be placed with people they know is a “blatant disregard for the best interests of these children,” said Kids In Need of Defense’s Megan McKenna. “This is so expansive. It’s not only checking the sponsors, but anyone in the household. The effects are enormous, and it would just serve to drive people further underground and harm children in deep and permanent ways.”