Thursday, June 21, 2018

Why It Matters

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, - That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Unalienable.  It's a funny word.  One that most everyone has memorized, but likely give little thought to its meaning.  "Incapable of being alienated, surrendered or transferred."  "Unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor."  A right that belongs to a person that cannot be destroyed.  Regardless of gender, age, race, color, creed, orientation, or nationality.  Something imbued in the person by God that man cannot diminish.  We recognize these are not rights of American citizens only.  They are by nature human rights.  They are part of that great moral code that supersede every country and law.  The higher authority we answer to.

We recognize certain additional human rights that belong to children, for we appreciate the vulnerable state they are in. As citizens of the world, we have codified these in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a human rights treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social, health, and cultural rights of children (any human being under the age of eighteen, unless the age of majority is attained earlier under national legislation).  The United States played an active role in drafting this Convention and signed it on February 16, 1995, but has not ratified it.  We are the only United Nations member state that is not a party to the treaty.

This distinction is important because we are committing a human rights violation under the Convention against children at the border by separating them from their families.

Article 9
1. State Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child.  
4. Where such separation results from any action initiated by a State Party, such as the detention, imprisonment, exile, deportation or death (including death arising from any cause while the person is in the custody of the State) of one or both parents or of the child, the State Party, shall, upon request, provide the parents, the child or, if appropriate, another member of the family with the essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent member(s) of the family unless the provision of the information would be detrimental to the well-being of the child.
{emphasis added}

We are separating babies and toddlers from their families to send them to a "tender care" facility.  A TrumpCamp. 

Children separated from their families are ending up in Michigan, clear across the country.

Children have been forcibly injected with medicine and force fed pills, with the children saying they were "held down and injected" with drugs that "rendered them unable to walk, afraid of people, and wanting them to sleep constantly."  One child's prescription cocktail included Clonazepam, Duloxetine, Guanfacine, Geodon, Olanzapine, Latuda, and Divalproex - medications used to control depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, bipolar disorder, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and seizures.

A former head of ICE has warned that if families are not reunited soon, there will be potentially hundreds of children that will never see their families againRead that again carefully.  If we do not reunite them soon, the United States government has played a role in creating orphans.

This is far bigger than a political issue.  This is a moral issue.  And we as a nation failed by instituting this policy in the first place.

Thankfully, as of this writing the President has "found" the authority to put an end to this practice and to end the policy of separating families.  It seems we have a lot to thank our living first ladies for, including the current First Lady, Melania.

There is, however, still work to be done.
  • Write, call, email, pester, hound your Congressmen and women to let them know this policy was unacceptable and that laws should be enacted to prevent it from ever occurring again.
  • Let them know we should ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.  
  • Let them know we should remain a part of the Human Rights Council.
  • Let them know the value of asylum.
  • Donate to Kids in Need of Defense.
  • To the ACLU.  Here.
  • To The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES).  Here.
  • Volunteer with the Texas Civil Rights Project, particularly if you speak Spanish.  Here.
  • Foster.  If you are able to offer a foster home to an undocumented child caught up in this process, find out from your state authorities about how to become licensed to do so.

The enforcement of this policy may be ending, but the battle is not over.

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
Desmond Tutu

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out - 
Beacuse I was not a Trade Unionists.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me."
Martin Niemoller

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