The cruelty of Trump's unconscionable family separation policy just keeps getting worse.
Now, Trump officials are throwing many of those parents in jail for daring to return and try to see their stolen kids again — and a group of senators is demanding answers on the administration's new act of cruelty.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), joined by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), asked Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to explain why, after more than two dozen parents came to the U.S. border on March 2 claiming asylum, most of them were tossed in jail and allowed to languish there for weeks without being allowed to reunite with their own children.
"These families have already suffered significant trauma at the hands of the U.S. government," the senators wrote in a letter on Tuesday. "Given the grave risks to the health and wellbeing of these children and families, we urge you not to prolong their separation."
The senators also demanded that "these parents be released, reunited with their children, and allowed to continue their cases in immigration court."
Since the summer of 2017, the Trump administration has separated thousands of children from their parents in a draconian attempt to convince migrants and asylum-seekers to stay away from the southern border.
During this time, many parents say they were tricked into signing papers that relinquished custody of their children. The parents were then deported without their children.
After the family separation policy came to light, a federal judge forced the Trump administration to reunite all of the kidnapped children with their parents.
Earlier this month, 29 parents were tired of waiting for the Trump administration and hoped they could see their children by presenting themselves to border agents and restating their claim for asylum. According to the Washington Post, 17 of these parents are still being detained at a federal facility, unable to see their children.
Many of the parents are suffering from "all the hallmarks of PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]," their lawyer told the Post.
The condition of their children was not reported, but in the letter to Nielsen, the senators reminded her that the childrey have likely already suffered harm.
"The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that separating children from their parents can cause 'irreparable harm' including 'disrupting a child's brain architecture and affecting his or her short-and long-term health,'" they wrote.
The ACLU, which is involved in the case, blasted the ongoing cruelty of the Trump administration.
"Given what these parents have been through, we would have hoped the government would have reunited them with their children while they wait for their hearings, or at least given them hearings promptly," Lee Gelernt, an ACLU lawyer, told the Post. "This is yet another instance of the government refusing to ameliorate the harm done by their unconstitutional and cruel family separation policy."
Kidnapping children is bad enough. And jailing their parents just for trying to see them again is a whole new level of cruelty.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.