Things That Matter

These Kids Were Released From US Custody But They’re Sharing The Trauma They Experienced In Their Drawings

Word has been spreading fast about the conditions migrants face inside ICE and DHS detention centers. Thanks to a recent visit by AOC and other members of Congress, the cat’s out of the bag.

There have been reports of migrants being told to drink water from toilets, abuse from Border Patrol agents, women being denied medication, and so much more.

But it’s perhaps the news of children suffering in these migrant prisons that shocks us the most. And now, one group of children who were recently released are sharing their experiences with the world – through art.

Pediatricians shared pictures drawn by migrant children after being released from ⁦US custody.

Credit: @thehill / Twitter

Pediatricians recently released heartbreaking drawings, completed by children under the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, that show the grim realities of what these young migrants are facing as they’re being separated from their parents.

Doctors with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) were given the drawings, which show people behind bars and in cages, by a social worker at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas.

The pictures were drawn last week by unaccompanied 10 and 11-year-old migrant children after being released from ⁦Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. They were obtained by NBC News which said they were provided to the AAP by a social worker in Texas.

Since being released by the CBP, the migrant children have been staying at the Catholic Charities Center.

Credit: @kylegriffin1 / Twitter

It’s run by Sister Norma Pimentel and where many families go to “get their first shower, clean clothes and a hot meal after arriving in the U.S.”

While under the center’s care, the children were asked by a mental health clinician specializing in Latino child trauma at the center last week to depict their time under CBP custody on canvases, according to the organization.

Three of those illustrations — drawn by a 10-year-old boy from Guatemala, an 11-year-old from Guatemala, and another 10-year-old child — were then brought to the attention of the AAP due to their particularly alarming content.

Here’s one of the heartbreaking pictures…

Credit: @AmerAcadPeds / Twitter

Dr. Collen Kraft, a former president of the AAP, said the drawings were incredibly heartbreaking, in part due to these children feeling like they were behind bars.

“The fact that the drawings are so realistic and horrific gives us a view into what these children have experienced,” Kraft told the outlet. “When a child draws this, it’s telling us that the child felt like he or she was in jail.”

AAP says it was not immediately clear which CBP facilities housed these children. They also mentioned in an interview with CNN that they are working with CBP officers to advise on properly screening and caring for children in their custody, but have made little progress after multiple meetings.

Reactions on Twitter have been swift and full of shock, heartbreak, and anger.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Some users took to Twitter to call what these kids went through what many are starting to call them – concentration camps.

You have Jews coming out and saying they stand by the use of the phrase because their community’s trauma from World War II helps them recognize the signs.

While others pointed out the disturbing reality that many of these kids may never be the same after the trauma they’ve suffered.

Credit: @CNN

And, unfortunately, there’s little surprise there. I mean many of these kids have literally been kept in cages, separated from their families, denied basic necessities like tooth brushes and soap.

While many just summed up how most of us are feeling about the news…

Credit: @TIME

I mean seriously, these are young children. Separated from their families. And they’re suffering greatly because of the Trump administration’s inhumane and dangerous immigration policies.

The alarming drawings come one week after a heartwrenching photograph surfaced of a father and daughter’s dead bodies washed up on a riverbank after they attempted to cross the border from Mexico to the United States together.

Like the children’s illustrations from this week, the graphic photo has been used to highlight the cruel realities that many families are currently facing as they put their lives on the line to seek asylum from the violence and poverty in their home nations.

READ: More Migrant Children Were Separated From Their Families Than The US Government Admitted To

President Trump Might Deny National Guard Benefits By Ending Deployment One Day Early

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President Trump Might Deny National Guard Benefits By Ending Deployment One Day Early

nationalguard / Instagram

One of the key elements of a response to a national crisis is the deployment of the National Guard. The servicemen and women have been working tirelessly since COVID-19 started to spread in the U.S. President Donald Trump, who touts his love of the military, delivered a saddening blow to the National Guard.

President Trump’s order deploying the National Guard to combat COVID-19 is set to expire on June 24.

Politico reported Tuesday that 40,000 National Guard virus workers will face a “hard stop” of services on June 24. The end comes after the guards spend 89 days working with the public to keep the nation safe during the deadly pandemic. Military families and advocates are not happy with the possible end to the mission of assisting states in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic after 89 days.

If troops are told to go home after 89 days, Pres. Trump will deprive them of deserved benefits.

Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, service members who serve 90 days of active duty are eligible for early retirement and educational benefits. The June 24 deadline means that the guards deployed in March will only spend 89 days on active duty. While the deadline looms and gets more attention, a National Guard spokesperson said that a decision on the deadline is yet to come.

Governors across the country are asking the Trump administration to extend the deadline to protect public health.

States like Texas are quickly reopening their economies and the result has been a noticeable increase in cases and the highest single-day death count for the state. States like New York and New Jersey are seeing their numbers fall after months of social distancing and self-isolation.

According to Politico, states are concerned that the Trump administration removing the troops from the states could lead to a second wave. Many of the state leaders are asking for the Trump administration to extend the deadline by months.

The National Guard is involved in the hard work of keeping communities safe and stopping the spread of COVID-19.

The soldiers have been disinfecting and cleaning nursing homes, building and working field hospitals to manage influxes, and providing testing to people. National Guards service members are eligible for retirement at 60 with a full pension is they serve for 20 years. For every 90 days, they can move up retirement by three months and are eligible for 40 percent off tuition with the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Critics argue that the Trump administration intentionally set the deadline for 89 days to prevent the soldiers to collect the benefits owed to them.

“It seemed kind of weird to me,” retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, president of the National Guard Association, told Politico. “It’s a Wednesday. And it also coincides with 89 days of deployment for any soldiers who went on federal status at the beginning. I was getting all kind of calls about it and I said, ‘It’s probably just a coincidence.’ But in the back of my mind, I know better. They’re screwing the National Guard members out of the status they should have.”

READ: Tributes To Nurses Flood Social Media In Honor Of National Nurses Day

Trump Uses Coronavirus Pandemic To Announce He’s Suspending All Immigration To The U.S. And Here’s What You Need To Know

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Trump Uses Coronavirus Pandemic To Announce He’s Suspending All Immigration To The U.S. And Here’s What You Need To Know

Win McNamee / Getty

Donald Trump ran on a campaign pledge to severely limit the rights of migrants and refugees attempting to reach the United States. In office, he wasted no time restricting authorized and unauthorized immigration, with travel bans for citizens of a number of Muslim-majority nations, cutting the numbers of refugees the U.S. accepts, and pushing ahead with plans to build a wall on the southern border.

Now amid a global health pandemic, the president is looking to scapegoat migrant and refugee communities by banning all applications for immigration to the U.S. The move is largely seen as symbolic, however, since the U.S. has already largely stopped processing immigration applications due to reduced capacity.

The White House on Monday announced that President Trump would be signing an executive order to temporarily ban all immigration to the U.S.

President Trump tweeted on Monday that he will pass an executive order to suspend immigration to the United States, claiming that he is seeking to protect jobs in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Democrats were quick to criticize it as a “dumb move” and pointed to testing as a safe way to reopen the economy. Not to mention that the U.S. is already home to the largest number of cases around the globe.

Trump tweeted: “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”

Obviously, since he made the major announcement over Twitter, there is very little clarity over what immigration programs might be impacted. And the White House still hasn’t offered any guidance on what Trump meant by the tweet.

Trump has taken credit for his restrictions on travel to the U.S. from China and hard-hit European countries, arguing it contributed to slowing the spread of the virus in the U.S. But he has yet to extend those restrictions to other nations now experiencing virus outbreaks.

Although the announcement has left many in shock, the U.S. was already severely limiting immigration due to the pandemic.

Already, much of the immigration flow into the country has been paused during the coronavirus pandemic, as the government has temporarily stopped processing all non-worker visas. And, the executive order in its current form will exempt seasonal foreign farm worker visas, one of the largest sources of immigration at the moment.

The administration has already restricted foreign visitors from China, Europe, Canada and Mexico, and has paused processing for immigrants trying to come into the U.S. on non-worker visas because of office closures.

But given the usual chaotic roll out of Trump Administration directives, we still don’t know how long this suspension will last nor what will happen with the applicants already being processed.

Thomas Homan, Trump’s former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told Reuters: “It’s really not about immigration. It’s about the pandemic and keeping our country safer while protecting opportunities for unemployed Americans.”

And it seems the fact that the U.S. already has the largest number of cases on Earth is completely lost on the president.

As of early April, the United States is now home to the largest number of confirmed Covid-19 infections on the planet. There are more than 800,000 cases confirmed by testing and more than 44,000 deaths associated with the virus. In fact, the U.S. now makes up for nearly a third of all Covid-19 infections and a quarter of all deaths.

If Trump wants to make an impact and help flatten the curve in the United States, he should stop promoting the anti-lockdown protests instead of scapegoating immigrant and refugee communities.

Democrats and migrant right’s groups quickly slammed the president’s proposal as xenophobic and counter-productive.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California, also a former 2020 presidential candidate, responded to Trump’s tweet as well, saying the move was “shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda.”

“Trump failed to take this crisis seriously from day 1,” she wrote. “His abandonment of his role as president has cost lives. And now, he’s shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda. Enough, Mr. President. The American people are fed up.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, a Democrat who ran for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination, said in response, “We don’t need to protect America from immigrants. We need to protect her from you.” Now that’s a pretty legit clapback.