Family Separation Is Human Trafficking Without the Duct Tape

With the new revelations of the extensive emotional violence done by the Trump administration's family separation policy, where children of migrants, including those legally seeking asylum, were taken from their parents, it's pretty goddamn ludicrous to hear President Trump and his spokesworms talk about "human trafficking" across the southern border. Because I may be a poor city blogger, but I sure as hell know what you call it when you yank kids from their families and place them "into foster homes or migrant children shelters" far away from their parents, all while the administration "made it difficult for relatives other than the children’s parents to take the children into their own homes."

If duct tape were involved, there would be no question what this is.

An assistant inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services said that "thousands of children" more than those already known were, well, let's not mince words here, kidnapped by the American government. They don't know how many, though, other than that vague and gut-churning "thousands" because there are "no efforts underway to identify that. It would take away resources from children already in care."

So, just so you grasp this, you could have taken your children to get out of your shitty El Salvador town where gang members were threatening to kill you and your baby son and rape your daughter if she didn't become their leader's girlfriend (and, essentially, his sex slave). You could have headed north, in a caravan because there's safety in numbers, walking the miles upon miles, until you reach a port of entry on the U.S./Mexican border to ask for asylum, and then some ICE stormtrooper can drag your children away and you'll likely never hear from your baby again, and maybe you'll get your daughter back. Or you could stay and let your family suffer.

And millions of people who we still are forced to call our fellow Americans are totally fine with this.

Back in July of last year, Commander Jonathan D. White of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the part of HHS that's supposed to reunite the kids, told a Senate committee, "There’s no question that separation of children from parents entails significant potential for traumatic psychological injury to the child." So that's what we did, you and I and our government, to unknown thousands of children. Thank goodness someone recognized how awful an act that was. Way to go, Commander White, right?

Yeah, not so fast.

In a court document that was a response to the HHS inspector general's report on the separations, White said that we should all just forget about the children who are already placed with sponsors because, and, no shit, he really said this, "It would destabilize the permanency of their existing home environment, and could be traumatic to the children." Now, to be sure, some of the "sponsors" are parents who are already in the United States or other relatives. But at least 10 percent of the thousands, which could also be thousands, but is at least hundreds, were placed with "distant relatives, family friends and others." In other words, strangers who will essentially become the adoptive parents of separated children because we either lost track of who their parents are or we coerced the parents to sign away their right to reunification or we just didn't give a shit about them because they're brown.

But let's get this fuckery correct: The same official of the U.S. government, who is a longtime HHS administrator and not some Trump appointee, said it was traumatic to separate the children in the first place and that it would also be traumatic to reunite them with their parents who brought them to the U.S. In other words, no matter what, our government is admitting that it has traumatized children. And, you know, a fucking large number of adults, too.

Yeah, the ACLU and other groups are in the midst of a storm of lawsuits on this matter, but whenever Trump talks about the victims of human trafficking across the border, Democrats should be hammering home that the president did everything but throw children in the back seat and drive them across the desert.