The US is violating the Human Rights of Children – and the UN is calling us out on it.

That is a title to a post that I never thought I would have to write.

It’s something I never wanted to write – because I didn’t want it be true.

But here’s the reality:

  • Previously, the US Customs and Border patrols would, I’ve been told, keep children with their parents when they arrive at the border unless they had significant reason to believe they were not with relatives and were at risk of being trafficked.  In that case, the child would be placed in a foster care situation while the situation was resolved or other family was located.   I don’t have the statistics but from what I understand the number was minimal.
  • The current administration, specifically Attorney General Jeff Sessions, acting under direction of the President, changed that policy.   That policy is now a zero tolerance policy.   What does that mean?   That means that if you show up at the border and want to come in to the United States, our government will take your children.  We will put you in prison in one prison and we will put your child somewhere else and we won’t tell you where.   And the place where we put your child will probably not be a nice place, probably not be adequately staffed and will definitely be highly traumatic to your child(ren).   
  • Oh and it doesn’t matter whether you are here seeking asylum or here without the proper documentation, the current administration is doing that for and to everyone.  At least everyone who is coming in through Mexico gets treated that way.

Let me make sure I’m perfectly clear – we are a country that has put economic sanctions in place against other countries because of human rights violations in those countries.   And now the UN is saying that we’re violating human rights also.

Here’s part of what the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights had to say about us:

We are deeply concerned that the zero tolerance policy recently put in place along the US southern border has led to people caught entering the country irregularly being subjected to criminal prosecution and having their children – including extremely young children -taken away from them as a result.

The practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child. While the rights of children are generally held in high regard in the US, it is the only country in the world not to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We encourage it to accede to the Convention and to fully respect the rights of all children.

The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles. The child’s best interest should always come first, including over migration management objectives or other administrative concerns. It is therefore of great concern that in the US migration control appears to have been prioritised over the effective care and protection of migrant children.

Children should never be detained for reasons related to their own or their parents’ migration status. Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation.

Read the entire briefing from Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23174&LangID=E

I would really like to think that all except for the most hardened and heartless racists would see that those who come to the border, whether they come seeking asylum or whether they come hoping to enter without documentation are coming because they have lost all hope of a decent life for them and their children in their birth country.   And that those who are coming deserve to be treated with human dignity and the human rights that every human deserves.

Apparently I am wrong.   Because if this move was truly unpopular with their “fan base” then the current administration would not be doing it.

That is truly disappointing.

I will have more thoughts and suggestions on how to let your opinion be known, hopefully later this afternoon.

Stay tuned

Tom

Haiti, TPS, 50% and What It Is

The following statements have been made about the current administration and Temporary Protected Status for approximately 59,000 Haitians who have been living and working in the United States. Most of them (I don’t know the exact number) came after the earthquake in Haiti in January of 2010.

Temporary Protected Status is a program that allows people to come into the United States when it has been declared that their country is unsafe due to political violence, genocide, natural disasters, war and ……….

A link to the stories that have these statements in them is at the bottom of this……

USCIS staff wrote a memo in October of 2017 that said that the conditions, the reasons for granting TPS for Haitians in the first place, have not improved.

Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week called for an investigation after they uncovered diplomatic cables that showed “officials at the U.S. Embassies in El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras all stated that it would be in the ‘U.S. national interest’ to renew the TPS designations for their respective countries.”

“Haiti has made significant progress in recovering from the 2010 earthquake, and no longer continues to meet the conditions for designation,” wrote USCIS Director Francis Cissna in a Nov. 3 memo for Department of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.


But in an October 17 memo, Cissna’s staff at USCIS directly contradicted this rosy picture. “Many of the conditions prompting the original January 2010 TPS designation persist,” the memo noted. (Both memos are embedded at the bottom of this post.)

In a memo distributed to staff Thursday afternoon, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—the agency tasked with processing citizenship for applicants—announced it has scrubbed a passage of its mission statement of references to the U.S. being a nation of immigrants. Oooo-kay.


Tom here – so we are no longer a nation of immigrants? And it was the son of immigrants from Peru who made that change?

So let’s take a look at all of these statements. They all appear to be from reputable sources. Many of them name names and have links or even copies of documents embedded in them.

But I’ve never heard of splinternews.com before. Have you?

So, let’s apply the Vanderwell rule of 50% to what they have said in these three articles.

Remember what that is?

Let’s assume that half of what these articles say are made up, false, exaggerated or something of that sort.

If they are……

If they are, does what they are saying still ring true?

Here’s the way I see it. People in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Department did some of the following:
• Exaggerated the improvement of the conditions in Haiti.
• Attempted to find information that could make the Haitians here on TPS look bad.
• Ignored statements by their own staff that contained a much more realistic view of the conditions in Haiti.
• Ignored statements by State Department people in Haiti and elsewhere that sending these people back would be deterimental to US national security.

Stop and read those last 5 words.

Deterimental (that means bad).

To US National Security – that means dangerous for us if we send them back.

But they ignored those statements.

What else did they do? They continued to work for the US administration after the President referred to Haiti as a #$%$$tHole and said that all Haitians probably have AIDS.

If half of this is true, we have a current administration running the government that, well, I don’t think there’s any other conclusion for it.

They want to get as many people of color out of the United States as they can.

(If you have another conclusion to why these actions are happening, feel free to lay out your theory in the comments below.)

And they will falsify, ignore and attempt to malign people to make that goal happen.

Remember – the 50% rule – and we still have a disturbingly convincing case that the decision to end Temporary Protected Status was not done because Haiti is now a great place to live. Instead it was done for more sinister and uncomfortable reasons.

And as I have friends who live there, I’ve worked for organizations there, and know many Haitians, this makes me sad and angry at the same time.

Tom

The articles in question……

https://splinternews.com/immigration-agency-removes-clause-referring-to-the-u-s-1823250677

https://splinternews.com/dhs-ignored-its-own-staffs-findings-before-ending-human-1825323760

https://splinternews.com/dhs-officials-sought-negative-information-on-haitians-b-1826051056/amp

What I Know and What I Don’t – about Police Behavior in Holland Michigan

Friday morning, May 4, there was a domestic violence issue in Holland.   That’s all I’m calling it because I don’t know any more than that.   One of the parties involved, here again, I’m stating only what I’ve been told from people who I know personally and who I believe to be trustworthy, one of the parties left the scene and was believed to have a gun in his possession.

Later in the day, the Holland police officers pulled over a car in the parking lot of the Maple St. Ministries.  Watch Rev. Grier’s video that she took from her office window……

https://www.facebook.com/deegrier/videos/10160150118965447/

A couple of hours later, Rev. Grier also posted this video……

https://www.facebook.com/deegrier/videos/10160150610425447/
At 12:12 am on Saturday (so 6 hours later), The Holland Police posted this on Facebook:

 Holland Police Arrest Felony Suspect on Traffic Stop, Locate Gun Used in Domestic:

About 6:15pm on Friday evening, Holland Police officers made a traffic stop on a vehicle in the area of 17th and Maple. Officers had information that a suspect, who was involved in a Domestic involving a handgun earlier in the day, was in the vehicle and was believed to be in possession of the gun. There were four people between 19 and 23 years old in the vehicle that were ordered out at gunpoint. The suspect was arrested and charged with Domestic Assault, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and had an unrelated warrant for his arrest. The driver was arrested, cited and released for a driving offense, and the other two passengers were released approximately 20 minutes after the stop.

(Bold print is mine)

There are three things that I don’t know that I would like to have the Holland Police answer for the public:

1.  Their statement says that they “had information.”   What information was that – was it a positive ID that it absolutely was the guy from the assault Friday morning?   Or was it a matter of, “here are four people from about the same age who are all people of color, driving around…..  Hmmmm…..”  If they had a reason beyond racial bias, they should share it with the community to restore trust.

2. The suspect was believed to be in possession of the gun – why did they believe that?  Did he flash it at someone while driving down 16th st?   Or did they assume?    If they had a reason beyond racial bias, they should share it with the community to restore trust.

3. Regarding to the guns to the head – after all four of the occupants of the car were out, searched, handcuffed and lying on the ground, the police officers not only still had their guns out but had them pointed directly at these four people’s heads.  What I would like to know, what I believe we need to know is a two part question:  a) Why did they feel they needed to continue to actively aim their guns at their heads when the police officers were no longer at risk from them?   b) Can the Holland Police provide documentation of another case with a similar pursuit and arrest involving white people where they kept their guns aimed at the occupants of the car even after they were out, searched and handcuffed?  If the police claim (and they do) that they were following standard protocol, then I would urge them to show information where they used that same protocol in a similar situation and the only thing that was substantially different was the color of the skin of the people in the car. 

It can’t happen in our neighborhood.  The way it looks right now, racial bias and execessive violence did happen in our world.

And we can not let it go quietly.

Tom

Once upon a time there was a family.

In this family, there was a Dad. Dad went to work every day to provide for his family.

In this family, there was a Mom.

Mom took care of their children.

As the children grew up, life was busy but it was good.

And if you went down their street, they were part of a community.

But……

Dad and Mom weren’t born in their town.

They were born elsewhere.

But this was their town.

They were raising a family…

They were making a difference….

They were part of their town.

Until one day, the government decided they weren’t part of their town.

Dad went to work one morning.

And he didn’t come home.

Not because he didn’t want to come home.

He didn’t come home because the government said that wasn’t his home and that this wasn’t his town.

The government decided that he was no longer allowed to live there and no longer allowed to be part of that community or to be with his family.

Shock, grief, horror ran through the community, how could this happen?

Mom carried on, even in her grief and shock.

She had to – they have children who needed her – more than ever.

Dad was gone – she had two roles to play.

And then it happened.

The unthinkable again.

Mom went to the store.
And.She.Didn’t.Come.Home
The government decided that she didn’t belong in that town either.

That town where they were raising a family.

That town where many people considered them neighbors and friends.

Why? You might be asking that question. A lot of people asked that question.

Ask a different question – “If Dad and Mom were born there, if Dad and Mom were part of the majority culture and race in the town, do you think they would be hauled away by the government and told they can’t be there?”

So what happened to Dad and Mom?

I don’t know.

I have another question that you and I and we all need to think about……

What town did/does this story take place in?

Berlin Germany in the 1930’s?

Or Grand Rapids Michigan in 2018?

TJV