“Abolish ICE” is becoming more than just a protest cry

Hundreds of women protested against family separation and detention on Thursday in Washington, DC. They were also calling for the abolishment of ICE.

Calls to “abolish ICE” have been building in recent weeks, as the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” border policies have pushed the platform into the mainstream among some Democrats.

ICE is shorthand for US Immigration Customs and Enforcement, and many activists on the left see the agency as emboldened and out-of-control under Trump. (It’s also separate from US Customs and Border Protection, which acts as the border patrol; ICE acts as an interior patrol.)

Just this week Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) announced he was introducing a House bill to dismantle ICE in favor of a more “humane” border enforcement. In New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — who upset Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) in the 14th District’s congressional primary — has called for the abolishment of ICE, and she’ll almost certainly be elected to Congress in the fall.

Read more on Vox

Muslims grapple with SCOTUS ruling that redefines their place in America

Ramy Almansoob’s children have been asking every day for weeks: “Do we have a decision yet? Do we have a decision yet? Do we have a decision yet?”

The girls, ages 6, 9 and 13, still live in the war-torn capital of Yemen, where the seeming randomness of airstrikes has taught them to brace for a painful end. Last year, they mourned their grandmother, killed by a stray bullet through the head as she sat inside her home.

The girls knew that the U.S. Supreme Court would soon decide whether President Trump’s ban on entry into the United States by citizens of seven countries, five of them majority-Muslim, including Yemen, would stand. They knew that the ruling would determine whether they and their mother — whose visas were granted on the eve of the ban and then revoked — could finally join their father, a U.S. citizen, in America.

Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling felt like a hammer’s final blow to Almansoob’s lingering hopes. For him and the thousands of other American citizens and permanent residents who have been waiting anxiously for the court’s word, the justices’ decision to uphold the ban presented a verdict not just on the fate of their families, but also on what it means to be American.

Read more at The Washington Post

I work with children separated from caregivers at the border. What happens is unforgivable.

Helplessness. It’s what I feel when children are faced with forced separation from their parent or caregiver at the US border. Anger, sadness, uncertainty, and dismay all follow closely behind.

I work as an attorney with an organization called Kids in Need of Defense, or KIND, devoted to working with unaccompanied children. I hear firsthand stories that illustrate the severe impact of family separation on children; to say they are terrorized and completely devastated is an understatement. This new terror is compounded by the trauma already experienced by these children — the violence, persecution, and other harm they faced in their home country that caused them to seek protection in the US in the first place.

Read more at Vox

The long-lasting health effects of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border

Researchers have long looked upon wars, famines and mass migrations as grim but important opportunities to understand how adversity affects children’s health.

They’ve culled the experiences of orphans warehoused in government facilities, Jewish children dispatched to foreign families ahead of a Nazi invasion, and young refugees fleeing guerrilla warfare in Central America. They’ve conducted experiments in child development labs, taken brain scans, used epidemiological methods, examined the narratives of children torn from their parents — all in an effort to find meaning in tragedy.

Their trove of findings points to one unmistakable conclusion: Separating kids from their parents is detrimental to their physical and mental health.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times

Audio: A 6-Year-Old Migrant Girl Tries To Navigate The U.S. Detention System On Her Own

Critics have called the Trump administration’s practice of separating children and parents intercepted at the border “inhumane,” “cruel,” and “immoral” on principle.

A recording from a children’s detention facility shows what it sounds like in practice. Inconsolable children calling for their parents can be heard in the audio obtained by ProPublica. An adult man responds, apparently in jest: “We have an orchestra here.”

One girl, a six-year old from El Salvador, stands out. She insists on talking to her aunt. She eventually achieves her goal, according to ProPublica, which was able to reach the girl’s aunt.“It was the hardest moment in my life,” the aunt told the news outlet. “Imagine getting a call from your 6-year-old niece. She’s crying and begging me to go get her. She says, ‘I promise I’ll behave, but please get me out of here. I’m all alone.’”

Read more at Government Executive

Advocates Worry About Girls Held Due to Family Separation Policy

The Trump Administration has released photos of young boys being held at detention centers for undocumented immigrants, but so far it has not released any images of young girls.

That discrepancy has led to Administration critics to start a Twitter hashtag #wherearethegirls. Pressed on the question at a White House briefing Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that children are being cared for in the same way but that she would have to “look into” why no photos have been released.

Migrant rights groups say they are concerned about the risks that girls and young women face in detention, noting issues such as pregnancy, sexual assault, menstruation and psychological trauma from assault and rape they faced in their home countries.

Read more on Time Magazine

Where Are The Girls Who Are Taken From Their Parents At The Border?

Faced with a human rights disaster on the U.S.-Mexico border, the Trump administration did what it does best: duck and weave.

On Monday, the administration deployed Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to answer the press’ questions about the growing moral concern over Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ zero-tolerance immigration policy, which has led to forced family separations. Over 2,342 children have been taken from their families since May 5, according to FWD.us.

When a reporter asked her why the government has only released photos of the boys being held — “Where are the girls? Where are the young toddlers?” — Nielsen said, “I don’t know.” She added that after 72 hours (she had previously said 48), most children are transferred from DHS (Department of Homeland Security) care to HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) care, effectively washing her own hands of the matter. The DHS reportedly has limited space (only about 2,700) beds to house families together, at three detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania.

Read more on Refinery29

Here’s How You Can Help Fight Family Separation at the Border

f you’re horrified by news of families being separated at the borders, here’s a bit of news you can use.

First, the policy: It helps to be incredibly clear on what the law is, and what has and has not changed. When Donald Trump and Sarah Huckabee Sanders say that the policy of separating children from their parents upon entry is a law passed by Democrats that Democrats will not fix, they are lying.

There are two different policies in play, and both are new.

Read more at Slate

Hundreds of migrant kids separated from parents are stuck at border stations

Border agents and child welfare workers are running out of space to shelter children who have been separated from their parents at the U.S. border as part of the Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy, according to two U.S. officials and a document obtained by NBC News.

As of Sunday, nearly 300 of the 550 children currently in custody at U.S. border stations had spent more than 72 hours there, the time limit for immigrants of any age to be held in the government’s temporary facilities. Almost half of those 300 children are younger than 12, according to the document, meaning they are classified by the Department of Homeland Security as “tender age children.”

The stations, run by the Border Patrol and meant only as the first stop for children detained at the border, often lack adequate bedding or separate sleeping rooms for children.

Read more at NBC News

First glimpse of immigrant children at holding facility

Two female detainees sleep in a holding cell. Children are separated by age group and gender.

Read more on WCNC