I recently met a professor who left a predominantly white college to teach undocumented youth in Souther California. When I asked him how it was going, he said, “Best move I ever made. My previous students felt entitled and demanded to be entertained. My undocumented students are hungry to learn, hard working, and courageous enough to keep moving beyond their comfier zones.”
America will be renewed by people with those qualities. And if we who have privilege and power will welcome them, collaborate with them, and help remove the obstacles in their way, the years ahed will be full of promise for all of us.
-Parker Palmer, On the Brink of Everything
Susan Jones/Sept. 12, 2018
On Sept. 7, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) issued a proposed regulation that would make it easier for the government to detain adults along with their children — but even that family unity plan is controversial.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on Tuesday night accused the Trump administration of intending to “establish internment camps to lock up children behind barbed wire.”
“So we’re going from the horrendous policy of ripping children out of their parents’ arms, and of course we’re still trying to reunify all those families — to a new strategy of building internment camps that would be funded through…I.C.E.”
Merkley told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow he has obtained a document showing that the Department of Homeland Security is taking $10 million out of the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) budget and is transferring that $10 million to ICE to support detention centers where children could stay with their parents or legal guardians.
Until recently, the Trump administration was essentially arresting the adults, then putting their children in custody of centers run by the Health and Human Services Department.
Merkley and Maddow noted that the $10 million cut out of FEMA’s budget happened at the start of hurricane season, and now, with all eyes on the approaching Hurricane Florence, they criticized the transfer:
“So $10 million comes out of FEMA when we’re facing a hurricane season, knowing what happened last year,” Merkley said. “And then look what we’ve had since, a hurricane just barely missed Hawaii; a tropical storm that almost became a hurricane hit Mississippi; and now we have this hurricane Florence bearing down on the Carolinas.”
Merkley said he finds it “extraordinary” that the Trump administration would take money from FEMA’s response and recovery budget to build what he calls “family internment camps.”
“And we haven’t done anything like that since World War II,” Merkley said. “It absolutely comes from a dark and evil place in the heart of this administration. They’re going from one strategy of inflicting trauma on children to a new strategy that they’re trying to implement to inflict trauma on children, all to send, as Jeff sessions says, a message of deterrence to discourage people who are fleeing persecution from ever considering arriving on the shores of the United States of America.”
(Merkley said much the same thing on CNN Wednesday morning.)
“We have been taught that in the annihilation of a mail, the ancient virtue of the family is destroyed. And in the destruction of the virtue and traditions of a people, vice and impiety overwhelm the whole race.”