United States, HHS and Obama Administration discussed on Diane Rehm: On My Mind


Support for WMU comes from Shakespeare theater company, presenting learner and lows. Beloved classic musical Camelot. The legendary story of king Arthur's round table and doomed romance comes to light through a stunning score ticket information at Shakespeare theater dot org. Hi, it's Diane great to be with you on my mind this week another. We jam packed with news from Washington, but I wanted to pocus on changes. The Trump administration is made and is seeking to make to you as 'immigration policies in particular, the policies affecting families with children coming doors, outhern border, and seeking asylum, not even letting the parents know where the children are not even giving them a chance to say goodbye. And in some cases, these children are infants and cobblers. Then Joanna Coles former editor of cosmopolitan on dating in the digital age. An app can help you create more connections, but it can't fast forward love it can't microwave the process of getting to know someone. But first, here's Cecile. Moon news of the new America foundation. She was director at the domestic policy council during the Obama administration. Are you ready to goes? I sure him. Okay, great. So Cecilia over the weekend President Trump tweeted that Democrats need to change what he called a horrible law that the person said, mandated separating children from parents who entered the country illegally. So if you can explain to us the laws and policies dictating what happens to children at the border and what is different under the Trump administration. Well, thank you for for asking the question. There is no such log, but what the president's tweet is just holy false. There is a law requiring that unaccompanied children, people children who come by themselves and. There tend to thousands of them who do every year be released from the border patrol to the department of health and human services within seventy two hours. And then HHS is responsible under the law for releasing the children to the least restrictive setting. And at least in the years that I was in government, the vast majority of those kids had close family members, usually parents in the United States, and so that that those are actually the legal requirements with respect to unaccompanied kids with respect to the parents who are coming with their children and crossing the border, there is no law requiring that they'd be separated. There is now a policy announced by attorney general sessions that the Trump administration will. And in fact, is separating these parents from their children because they're hoping that that will be such a terrible experience that it will deter other people from coming at what is it actually doing well effectively. They are taking children into custody and handing them over to HHS and and detaining the parents in very frequently, not even letting the parents know where the children are not even giving them a chance to say goodbye. And in some cases, these children are infants and cobblers Cecilia. This is horrible. I can understand how any administration could allow this to happen. When you think about it, it puts us in league with the most brutal regimes in the history of the world. It is an unthinkable thing that the this administration is doing in in our name and the name of the people United States and think about it. What we know about what's happening at the border is that by and large, the number of people seeking to cross the border is low. It's actually historic lows what the people who are coming are frequently adults coming from Central America with their children. And in many cases they're coming, they're fleeing for their lives. Story that we frequently heard when I was in government and this is why a number of these families are getting asylum. They were winning their asylum cases, is that the violent gangs in Central America will say to a fourteen year old, we want you to transport drugs, and if you don't do it, we will let you out and they follow through on those threats. So if you were a parent in that situation and your child was at risk in that way, I suspect you would move having enough to get that child to safety. And these families are taking an arduous journey all the way across Mexico to get to the United States. And the response at the moment of the United States is all right. Now we're taking your kids in the hopes that more people won't do the same thing. It's a violation of our responsibility under the law to protect people in need of protection, and it's also just horrifying. You know, honestly, I don't mean to exert, but it puts me in mind. Of the Jews who were transferred to Nazi concentration camps where the children were sent one way and the parents were sent another. It has commonalities in a way which I guess, you know, I hear people say, this is not who we are, and I believe that it's not who we should be, but at the moment, Diane, it is who we are. It is what our country is doing. What our government has chosen to do. Now, some senior administration officials had said that gang members and smugglers are using loopholes in the current system just to exploit the children. Is that a concern you share? Yes. I mean, there we know. And again, when I was in government, we worried vitally about the smugglers who were lying to families in Central America and saying the doors opened in the United States. You can just go. And here give us your children, pay us the money, and we'll get them there safely. And we did hear stories of children being kidnapped and being held for ransom and other, you know, horrifying things. This is not a an easy journey and it is not a safe journey and there are smugglers involved. But look the the, the posture of this administration is we must keep foreigners out at all costs and we will do anything including horrifying things to keep people out of the United States, our responsibility, what our laws and our policy should do at the moment. Our laws are not adequate to the task is recognized. We ever refugee crisis in our hemisphere. We need to assert leadership because we were gonna states of America to make sure that there is a response to this refugee crisis across the hemisphere. It look, it is not an easy thing to address the situation Central America. I accept that the answer to the situation. In Central America can't be that everybody danger gets to come to the United States, but this is why it's such a tragedy that we have abdicated our moral authority and our ability to create a regional response, which is something the Obama administration was was attempting to do, and which has been blown to smithereens by this administration's posture towards immigrants won't. Why is President Trump saying that Democrats need to fix this problem? I mean, I it's hard for me to get in the president of head. I know that he is just went out wrong when he says, there is a law which requires this, it's his own administration's policy, and it may be that he recognizes that this is horrifying and it's trying to place the blame somewhere else. But the blame is squarely his shoulders, the shoulders of his attorney general who announced this policy just weeks ago, what are members of congress saying and doing well. So there has been, I think, a. A cry of outrage, and I'm hopeful that there will be congressional oversight and that it will be bipartisan oversight. We should never arrive at a point where the comparison that you just made to Nazi Germany applies to the United States. Seem to be something that attorney general sessions did state did want to be a policy and is being carried out what has to be done. Now, I think there there are two or three kinds of things. I know that advocacy groups all over the country are organizing and mobilizing and there's a day of action. Actually this week on Friday. I know that there will be litigation that the administration is we'll be if if not already being sued, we'll be sued over this horrifying actions, and congress should step up and make sure that we forbid this kind of of action by the administration, but also it's time to step up and make sure that we renew that. We were the Indian vestments that we have been making to reduce violence in Central America in the first place, take an approach to the border, which recognizes what the situation in the border actually is the only conversation we're having about the border. Right now Diana's about building a wall and, and that is just not the conversation that we need to have about what is actually presenting itself at the board or what we have at the border are largely women and children who in many cases are fleeing. Last question, what's happening with these fifteen hundred missing children. And so then that's a separate group of kids. Those are the unaccompanied kids that I described at the beginning of rice is came alone. They replaced with HHS and HHS placed them in the vast majority of cases with their parents who were illegally in the United States. Now AJ just revealed in a hearing that they did a series of phone calls to reach back out to those families if they needed additional services and they couldn't locate many of them in many cases, the likely explanation for that is that these are undocumented families who are living in terror of any civic authority. Because this administration is pursuing them and they don't want to be in contact with the federal government. So while it is absolutely concerning that AJ just can't say that they know where these kids are. It's important to understand these kids who replaced with their own families as required under the law. And these families have good reason to be going off the grid because of this administration's approach since moot news. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for having this conversation. No,

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