The Latest American Tragedy.

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In the blazing heat of summer in the desert, 2,300 children are still in cages along the United States-Mexico border.

President Trump may have reversed his decision on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 to separate children from their parents, but the reuniting of those already separated is now difficult to impossible.

Why? Because those in the “infant rooms” and toddlers in “tender age shelters” are too small to know the full names of their parents.

Even many of the older Spanish-speaking children are too frightened to try to understand the English question, “What are the names of your parents?” and for many of those who manage to understand, they are about to be crushed with the news that their mother or father or aunt has already been deported.

For these children—most of whom are from Central American countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras fleeing from violence—their fate is to become wards of the state.

In short, there is no immediate system in place to facilitate the reuniting.

Spanish speaking border patrol agents can be hired, but so much damage has been done and continues. Most of the children are still in cages, 20 to a cage, with only mattresses and foil sheets to serve as blankets. The emotional cost is far greater than the estimated $700 per child thus far.

To any human with a heart, it is obvious that a child needs love and security, and to any pediatrician it is clear that toxic stress and anxiety, the shock of separation, disrupts both brain and emotional development. The sad truth is that much of the ongoing trauma in these de facto mass prison camps is irreparable.

Along with the wave of national and international protests, there were some heroic resisters: a few airlines refused to transport separated children to the designated cities where makeshift cages awaited them. And one Texas sheriff refused to let his men moonlight as extra border patrol personnel to be employed in the act of separating children from their parents.

What the tsunami of national and international protest and wave of corporate and individual American resistance revealed is that Americans do not have to abide by Trump’s latest “laws.”

Americans still have a moral conscience.

In spite of the president’s favorite tactic of dividing to conquer, pitting Republican versus Democrat, America versus the world, this time not only did world leaders like Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau speak out against Trump’s decree, but many Republicans, including Trump’s wife and daughter, could not acquiesce, and spoke out against separating children from parents.

But the blight is still on America, for the damage has been done, and the majority of children are still in cages.

This should haunt all Americans and put all on red-alert, ready to find their voice, ready to protest and resist again the actions of this most erratic and morally unstable president.

~

author: Linda Lewis

Image: U.S. Customs & Border Protection/Flickr

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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Linda Lewis

Linda Lewis met the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1972 and, following Rinpoche’s invitation, immediately moved to Boulder, Colorado to be a part of his young and vital sangha.

The predominant themes in her life have been teaching in contemplative schools–Vidya, Naropa, and the Shambhala School in Halifax, Nova Scotia–and studying, practicing, or teaching his Shambhala Buddhadharma wherever she finds herself.

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Linda Lewis Sep 21, 2018 2:14pm

September 2018: sadly ICE is continuing to separate children from their migrant/refugee families and Latin Americans are being incarcerated in American prisons. ICE must be abolished! Trump is indeed the "Chaos President". One might also add that he is the most cruel in American history. He cares nothing about environment, wildlife, or human lives. He salutes dictators and is more willing to work w/ the leaders in North Korea and Russia--nations w/ huge human rights violations-- than w/ America's traditional Allies. i hope and pray that the FBI will indeed reveal his collusion w/ Putin and Russia, thereby deligitimizing not only his election win, but all his hurtful policies!

Linda Lewis Jul 17, 2018 8:08pm

America could take a fresh page from the French victory in the World Cup. The French team was 80% of African descent and most of these were Muslim. In short, immigration made the French team victorious! (Of course France as a whole could be inspired by and learn quite a bit from this too!)

Linda Lewis Jul 10, 2018 5:56pm

As of today, July 10th, about 100 refugee children under the age of 5 remain; 1/2 of these may be reunited with their families today, the deadline which was suppose to be for these youngest to be reunited. The deadline for children older than 5 years of age is July 26th. The Trump Administration has broken so many promises and is not meeting its own deadlines. Also in the news today, immigrants who volunteered to serve in the US military in the hope of eventual US citizenship have suddenly been discharged without explanation. The thin and frayed veil of "American First Patriotism" is continuing to reveal cruel and unreasonable racism.

Linda Lewis Jun 27, 2018 1:11pm

As of Tuesday, June 26th, there remain 2,047 children separated, but 17 states including California, New York, and the state of Washington have now sued the Trump Administration for the separations, forcing the Admin. to track parents and really reunite these children w/ their parents.

Linda Lewis Jun 27, 2018 1:07pm

And asylum seekers are NOT criminals!

Linda Lewis Jun 25, 2018 12:51pm

Thank you. You are so right-- many of those children from Guatemala seeking asylum with their parents would be speaking Mayan. Stripped of their land by mining companies, industrial agriculture (mono-crops for export) etc., they are often killed in the process of resistance, so this separation and incarceration adds more trauma and suffering to those hoping for asylum.

Khara-Jade Warren Jun 25, 2018 7:38am

Thank you for adding your voice, Linda Lewis. These babies are on my mind night and day. What they are going through is utterly inconceivable and I feel helpless thinking of them alone and afraid. For anyone looking to help, this article has all the links to organizations to donate to at the end: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2018/06/this-is-what-we-do-poem/ and this mom is working on organizing pumped breastmilk to be delivered to the so-called "tender age" facilities, and is looking for donations of stores from pumping mamas: https://www.instagram.com/loveofalittleone/

Michelle Margaret Jun 24, 2018 10:42pm

Cheryl Stoelting Brash , one of them is Raices.

Travis May Jun 24, 2018 9:50pm

Very well said! I think so many of us think the problem is over now that he made the executive order to stop the practice of separating children from their families. But, there is much to do still. Thanks for bringing this into our awareness again. <3

Cheryl Stoelting Brash Jun 24, 2018 8:01pm

do you happen to know the name any of those organizations, Michelle Margaret

Michelle Margaret Jun 24, 2018 6:25pm

Thank you for this clear and concise update on the situation. It's also worth mentioning that many of the children do not even speak Spanish but rather indigenous Mayan languages. There is an effort in place to connect people who speak these languages with the organizations trying to help bring families back together.