Undocumented Americans

Fairly long article, but well reported.

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Every day.


Parents and children detained at the US border can be separated and fall into very different legal tracks.

And completely different bureaucratic systems. (Listen to that interview with Senator Jeff Merkley I posted above.)

Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian replied that once a parent is in ICE custody and the child is taken into the Health and Human Services system, the government does not try to reunite them

Hell, they probably have no way of reuniting because the two bureaucratic systems have no linking records connecting the parents and the kids.

This sounds like a violation of the whole notion of custody and habeas corpus, for a start.


And shits all over the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

But, of course, the US is the only country that refused to sign that…because it forbids executing children.


Point of fact. Illegal entry is a crime in much the same way staying 30 minutes in a 15 minute parking zone is: a civil offense.

So let’s apply your logic to a parking violation. Should the recipient of a parking violation be detained and their children remanded to CPS?


An excellent reason to separate parents from their children, don’t you agree? Let’s do this to every person who double parks or stays too long in a parking place. I mean, the law basically says we have to, right? It’s basically their own fault? /s


100 miles, Mr. Expert:

[map does not include zones around international airports in the interior]

For someone so concerned about protecting this country, it’s interesting that you’re so willing to surrender the rights that define it in large geographic areas of it.


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Really? (Dubious face) Then they need to get in sync with Boumediene v. Bush.

The Nation’s basic charter cannot be contracted away like this. The Constitution grants Congress and the President the power to acquire, dispose of, and govern territory, not the power to decide when and where its terms apply. To hold that the political branches may switch the Constitution on or off at will would lead to a regime in which they, not this Court, say ‘what the law is’.


Sorry I mistyped and should have been 100 miles. The fact is that there are no absolute rights in our Constitution. For example a cop can break into your home without a warrant given exigent circumstances. Allowing that hardly voids the Constitution or our rights.

That decision referred to the right of habeas corpus which can only be suspended in case of civil insurrection or invasion. It in no way voids the right of police to use probable cause to enter a place without a warrant for example. Laws against libel and slander do not void the rights in the First Amendment either. The power of ICE to enforce immigration laws does not void our constitution either.

You’re moving the goalposts. My original post was about habeas corpus.


@Arthur_Randolph_Erb-- i quote myself from the earliest days of this thread. many of the objections you raise have been dealt with far upthread. meanwhile, you have not dealt with the numerous objections to your positions that have been raised, unless you consider invective a a tool of rational discourse.


In the border zone “exigent circumstances” are considered a permanent and on-going situation by ICE, obviating the need for the 4th Amendment for citizen and non-citizen alike. Other rights that define this country are similarly suspended in the large and ever-growing border grey zone. You may be comfortable with that, but as a citizen who respects the Constitution I’m not.


Your assertion that we must have all the answers before we can have a meaningful discussion about immigration is ridiculous. Answers to difficult questions are arrived at through discussion, that’s kind of the point.

And while I may not be able to articulate the finer points of immigration quotas and border policies, I can still express the opinion that the way in which the Trump administration is treating undocumented minors is reprehensible.

The treatment of undocumented minors is governed by the Flores Settlement. From Flores:

12. Whenever the INS takes a minor into custody, it shall expeditiously process the minor and shall
provide the minor with a notice of rights, including the right to a bond redetermination hearing if
applicable. Following arrest, the INS shall hold minors in facilities that are safe and sanitary and that are
consistent with the INS’s concern for the particular vulnerability of minors. Facilities will provide access to
toilets and sinks, drinking water and food as appropriate, medical assistance if the minor is in need of
emergency services, adequate temperature control and ventilation, adequate supervision to protect
minors from others, and contact with family members who were arrested with the minor.

Note that Flores explicitly states that undocumented minors have rights relative to the court system, and that they should be held in a manner that is consistent with their vulnerability as children. The Trump administration has been working to revoke that right to legal recourse, with mixed results (Flores v. Sessions, a setback for them, and Jennings v. Rodriguez, a huge win from the SOTUS). It’s possible that the interior of that blacked out Walmart visited by Jeff Merkley is a nurture-filled wonderland designed to meet the developmental needs of small children, but I doubt it. That goes double for the prisons where they are warehousing some of the detainees. They sure as hell aren’t facilitating contact with family members.

Flores further states:

  1. Where the INS determines that the detention of the minor is not required either to secure his or her
    timely appearance before the INS or the immigration court, or to ensure the minor’s safety or that of
    others, the INS shall release a minor from its custody without unnecessary delay…

For a breakdown of the many ways which ICE is abrogating the terms of the Flores Settlement, read through this summary from the Women’s Refugee Committee. It’s thoroughly depressing. For starters though, Flores requires that ICE transfer minors to the care of ORR or a legally mandated agency within 72 hours of arrest. According to the National Immigrant Justice Center, the average length of ICE detention of undocumented minors is between 100 and 240 days (varies with location). And mind you, that is not to say that children released by ICE fare much better, the ORR has a pretty troubling record on losing those in its care, or worse, turning them over to human traffickers. See upthread for details on that shitshow.

Flores became law in 1997. It was supposed to be superseded 45 days later by a comprehensive set of rules governing the treatment of undocumented minors. Twenty years later, those rules have yet to be written. One can only conclude that it suits the aims of the US government to surround their actions with a fog of ambiguity. All the more reason to demand the light be let in.


If you bother to read the decision is says that they must release minors from ICE custody. So simply turning them over to other agencies fulfills that obligation. Given the flood of such kids, it does not address that problem. It used to be that ICE allowed the kids to stay in family facilities, but that does not apply to those who are criminally charged. Then the fact is that it is standard practice for US citizens who are arrested to lose custody of their minor children. They are given to either relatives, a family friend who is responsible, or a social agency. So what should ICE do with the kids of those who have been arrested for illegal entry? Think that the kids should join them in jail? In the case of these folks who have no relatives available, they are placed in foster care. If they are placed with relatives, those relatives make damn sure that they are lost since many of them are here illegally as well. If you are so concerned about trafficking which I doubt, it also takes time to determine whose kids they are. If they have no papers or ID then they cannot just take the word of the person who brought them. Randy

Oy gevalt.

I wrote:

Be careful with those stones your throwing.

The points I tried to make, at some length and apparently without sufficient clarity are:

  • There are rules in place that protect undocumented minors arrested in the US, whether accompanied or unaccompanied.

  • Those rules were not intended as a permanent solution and are not sufficient to address the crisis that is being created by the current administration.

  • ICE has a long history of ignoring the rules and mistreating the people it detains. The Trump administration is doing nothing to address the culture of abuse at ICE, and is actively pursuing litigation that will dramatically worsen the predicament of those in ICE custody.

In your replies you make the assertion that what the Trump administration and ICE are doing is legal. At best, that’s only partly true. But even if the way immigration law is being enforced is legal, is it also right? I don’t think it is.The US needs meaningful, bipartisan immigration reform. Instead, we are saddled with an ignorant man-baby, spewing bigoted nonsense, stoking racial animus, and pretending that all our problems can be solved if we will only build a wall to keep out the “bad hombres.”


how about NOT this shit:

It’s inexcusable. You may think that being tough on borders is the way to go, but this is beyond the pale, I’m sorry. These are actual human beings, young children, being treated this way. Its inhuman and it’s a CHOICE that the administration is making, no matter how they blather on about authoritarian bullshit like the rule of law. Given that the previous administration DID NOT DO THIS INHUMAN SHIT, there are FUCKING OPTIONS which do not include putting children into these sorts of situations.


GITMO Jr. I bet they never turn down the lights.