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Originally Posted on Immigration Orange


(Picture taken during a vigil in Chelsea, Massachusetts)

I'm fortunate enough to have had a blessed childhood with two loving parents, and vivid memories of it all. Even with all of the happy memories I can still remember how terrifying it was for me to be separated from my mother. My first day of preschool was the first time that I had to spend any significant time away from my mother, and was weeks before I could stop crying when she left me. Even as I grow older, it's difficult to be away from the boundles love and support of my mother.

I say all this not to pull on heartstrings, but just to emphasize that I can't even imagine what it would be like to be forcefully separated from my own mother, much less by an Immigration and Custom's Enforcement agent, at a young age.

It was this fear that was the chief subject of a vigil in Chelsea, Massachusetts, organized primarily by Chelsea Collaborative, Roca, and Centro Presente.

I was a horrible journalist that day. The pictures I took were bad, and my camera ended up running out of battery. I also didn't interview anyone, or take down any names. I just ended up soaking the entire scene in.

Towards the end of the vigil, three migrant mothers, who are staying in the U.S. illegally, choked out stories through tears about how they struggle to provide for their U.S. citizen children. One mother even had her baby ripped out of her arms by ICE when she was in a pharmacy. There are very few crimes that I can think of that are greater than ripping a baby from a mother's arms. The pain involved in ripping to shreds the age old bond between a mother in child is immeasurable but it happens with regularity during immigration raids.

In an raid that has now become famous, hundreds of children were separated from hundreds of mothers in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

The comments in this Youtube video are, of course, filled with the hate that characterizes the migration debate online.

You see, from the plain of a moral relativist I guess I can understand on a theoretical level the hate towards migrants that make the "choice" to come to the United States, but the hate for their children? That I can't understand. Even if parents are responsible for having put their children in a bad position, it still doesn't make sense to take out the unmerciful hate on migrant children.

There's no question that the human rights of these children are being violated. Still, in case there is any question here is a passage from the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child.

<div style="margin-left: 40px;">The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and in any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material security; a child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother.
</div>
It continues to startle me how "amnesty", or forgiveness and mercy, has become a bad word in the U.S. migration debate. Who is more deserving of mercy than children who were not responsible for their actions and have known nothing else than the United States?

This as foes are lining up to oppose the DREAM Act because its a "partial amnesty", According to the Miami Herald.

Anti-migrant advocates are free to tear down this post as another example of my emotional rather than logical appeals, but I couldn't help it with this post. I was going to try and tie this back to my post on Maxsuel Medieros, but these were the emotions I was overwhelmed with at this vigil. I left this vigil with an emotional dread that I'm trying to convey in this post. The sacred bond between a mother and her child is being violated repeatedly and without outrage in the U.S.

Even if my words have failed to touch you, as the vigil touched me, I'm going to provide a few routes to action at the end of this post. Latino Pundit has a list of names to call in support of the DREAM Act. You can also join the Facebook Group that has been extremely effective in gaining support for two migrant children, Alex and Juan Gomez. Alex and Juan Gomez have almost single-handedly put the DREAM Act back on the table. Also see this blog I enjoy by an author pushing for the DREAM Act.


 

Originally posted to kyledeb on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 10:51 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar and Recommendations (24+ / 0-)

    Let's see if we can get a pro-migrant post on the recommend diaries list.

    The U.S. "immigration debate" has lost sight of justice.

    by kyledeb on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 10:46:21 AM PDT

    •  But shall we make it less sexist? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch, marykk, Fallon

      Is there some reason this shouldn't be about children and PARENTS as opposed to MOTHERS ?

    •  So where do these kids go? (3+ / 0-)

      I know that they have the option to go with their parents back to whatever country said parents were from.  But what if the child is an infant, unable to even declare a choice? (Not that, say, a 3 year old really understands what is happening anyway.)  From what I understand, they can also be put up for adoption.  In fact, that tends to be what most anti-immigrant folks say.  "They can be put up for adoption and raised here!"

      At the risk of sounding like I'm wearing a tin-foil hat, is that sort of the plan?  "Kick the parents out who don't have American "value" and raise their kids to be just like us!"

      •  the kids (0+ / 0-)

        can go back with parents.  A child should be with family first, not society.  It's not society's job to raise the child, parents have the responsibility, it's easy to procreate but when it comes to actually raising the kid responsibly, many people don't take the time and investment into account.

  •  My only real question is... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redcardphreek

    the children don't have to stay in the US without the parents, do they?  I mean, the children can go with the parents to their home country and come back when they are adults, retaining their citizenship the whole time?

    •  Exile (8+ / 0-)

      We don't demand that any group of American citizens go into exile, why should these children be any different?

      I support Jared Polis for Congress (CO-02)

      by Colorado Luis on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 11:03:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cathy Willey, theboz, Nightprowlkitty

      if the parents had a worthwhile life to live in their home countries they wouldn't be in the U.S.  Chances are it would be very difficult to educate the children.  That would be my primary concern.

      The U.S. "immigration debate" has lost sight of justice.

      by kyledeb on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 11:19:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So that benefits the US how? (7+ / 0-)

      I don't know how many kids  area affected, but I'm betting it is in the hundreds of thousands. So we have US citizens growing up outside the US, probably not learning English or getting a decent education and possibly even developing hostile attitides towards the US, who can move back when they are 18.

      Will these newly returned citizens help or harm the nation?

      •  The alternative being (0+ / 0-)

        If you enter the US illegally and have a child, both you and that child are immune from deportation.

        This is the only alternative to deportation of the parent(s) and, consequently, the child.

        Which means that you, very quickly, have no immigration law at all because this precedent then quickly becomes the basis for a class action lawsuit.

        <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

        by superscalar on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 11:51:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Aside from what I said above (0+ / 0-)

          it would probably be much more humane and sensible if we gathered up children with parents and then gave the parent some period of time to figure out what to do and get their affairs settled.

          But their choices may have to be that they either take their children with them to raise or leave them here for someone else to raise.  If their home country is not chasing them as a political dissident and is not in the middle of a very dangerous war at home then we may have to present them with those choices.

          •  Path to Citizenship (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nightprowlkitty

            A path to citizenship is the only option unless the U.S. is willing to pay the hundreds of billions of dollars that it would take to deport 12 million migrants.

            The U.S. "immigration debate" has lost sight of justice.

            by kyledeb on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 12:14:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  billions of dollars (0+ / 0-)

              where's that figure coming from? the white house, perhaps, and how credible are they?

              it won't take billions of dollars... heavily fine and jail the employers of illegal aliens, really make an example of them, and the demand for illegal cheap labor will dry up.  The illegal immigrants and their families  will have to self deport, if they still have trouble, whatever money that is accrued from the fines can be used to help deport them back to their respective countries.

              It won't cost billions of dollars like the white house says (they're probably selling another no bid contract to one of their donors to have exclusive rights to deportation services), and it will take time, maybe a few years.  No one is expecting overnight of course. Actually, Arizona is reporting that a number of illegal immigrants have begun to self deport.  So, if we enforce the laws on the books, illegal immigrants and their families will have to go home one way or another.

        •  You're holding up unjust laws (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nightprowlkitty

          How about we fight for just immigration reform rather than blindly support unjust and complicated laws that hurt children like this?

          The U.S. "immigration debate" has lost sight of justice.

          by kyledeb on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 12:14:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll bite (0+ / 0-)

            What is your idea of 'immigration reform'? And please don't respond with 'we need to legalize the 12 million' because that does not 'reform' anything.

            By the way

            balance is not my interest

            This is clear from your 'lesson'

            Up until very recently, the word "illegal alien" didn't really mean anything in the U.S.

            Up until recently the term 'nuclear power' didn't really mean anything in the U.S. either. The fact that law or precedent did not exist is no basis for arguing that because it does exist today, it is therefore wrong.

            The point of this whole discussion is to say that "illegals" are generally guilty of what is essentially the equivalent of speeding on the freeway.

            This is only vaguely true if illegal immigrants are not working in the US.

            If an illegal immigrant is working illegally in the US they have in more cases than not committed as many as five or six felonies, some federal felonies, some state felonies, in order to do so.

            The overall theme in your 'lesson' seems to be a desire to somehow link a persons desire to immigrate to this country to their right to immigrate to this country.

            Yes I know that Emma Lazarus wrote a poem about the Statue of Liberty in 1880 which said "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.", but as I have written many times here, the same people who would quote this poem as somehow representative of what US immigration law should be neglect to advocate for the elimination of both federal and state income taxes, Social Security, Medicare, child labor laws, federally mandated and funded public schools, School Lunch Programs, ESL Programs, etc. In other words, if you are going to advocate for the immigration policies of 1880, advocate for the economic and social conditions which existed in 1880 as well.

            <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

            by superscalar on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 12:38:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So what? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nightprowlkitty

              You want to spend the hundreds of billions of dollars that it would require to deport 12 million migrants?

              For that amount of money you could let the people that live in Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador live like kings, and then they wouldn't have to emigrate.  Which is exactly what I advocate.

              The only way that you can stop migration is if you start giving migrants a reason to stay.

              The U.S. "immigration debate" has lost sight of justice.

              by kyledeb on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 12:42:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Immigration Reform will result when (0+ / 0-)

              the current and future administrations place a greater focus and attention on how our foreign and economic policies affect and contribute to illegal immigration, particularly as they relate to Mexico and South America.  

              Until we address those fact millions of migrants will continue to risk their lives in attempts to cross into our borders.  We must ask ourselves why millions of migrant workers choose to leave their native countries?  Why the leave their loved ones behind, go to a foreign country to take on some menial, dirty and often dangerous, minimum wage job, a job that few Americans would consider, let along actually perform.

              Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, our broken immigration policy and stricter border enforcement have contributed to migrants choosing to stay, rather than risk another perilous journey across our borders.  We have created a situation in which undocumented migrants now pay smugglers thousands of dollars to bring their loved ones to their side.  Our policies has created a climate in which migrants place themselves and loved ones in grave risk and sometimes they or their loved ones lose their lives.

              Can we imagine what type of society we will create if we force the parents of millions of US born children into exile?  

  •  We're Anti-Illegal Immigration, NOT Anti-Migrant (0+ / 0-)

    This was interesting:

    "There are very few crimes that I can think of that are greater than ripping a baby from a mother's arms."

    Murder? Rape? Stealing the retirement money of senior citizens? Selling drugs disguised as a nun?

    I weigh 666 pounds in zero gravity; COME AND GET ME!

    by thirdnostril on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 11:58:08 AM PDT

    •  That Saying Works (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nightprowlkitty

      on anti-immigrant, but not on anti-migrant.  Please take your tired talking points somewhere else.

      Immigration Orange Lesson #3: 'Pro-Legal Immigrant' and Ignorant

      The U.S. "immigration debate" has lost sight of justice.

      by kyledeb on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 12:10:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So what's your point! (6+ / 0-)

      "Murder? Rape? Stealing the retirement money of senior citizens?  Selling drugs disguised as a nun?

      Are you implying that the children of these undocumented parents or the parents themselves are responsible for most murders, rapes, drug trade or the demise of Social Security benefits to seniors?

      The "We are Anti-Illegal, Not Anti-Migrant", rings hollow, even xenophobic.

      Senior citizens can thank the millions of undocumented workers that currently contribute to a faltering Social Security system and help keep those checks to senior citizens flowing.  Fact, whether you will admit to it or not that our Social Security system is bolstered by the billions of dollars these migrants contribute.  

      •  I don't understand what you are saying here (0+ / 0-)

        Do you in fact agree with the New York Times article?

        Last year, Mr. Martínez paid about $2,000 toward Social Security and $450 for Medicare through payroll taxes withheld from his wages. Yet unlike most Americans, who will receive some form of a public pension in retirement and will be eligible for Medicare as soon as they turn 65, Mr. Martínez is not entitled to benefits.

        In other words, do you agree with the New York Times that Mr. Martínez should be 'given a path to citizenship', but should not be eligible for Medicare or Social Security?

        Fact, whether you will admit to it or not that our Social Security system is bolstered by the billions of dollars these migrants contribute.

        Only for as long as illegal immigrants cannot make a claim to these funds.

        <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

        by superscalar on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 12:51:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  omg nit picky (0+ / 0-)

          look you're just hijacking this thread.  we're talking about social security right now when the focus of my diary was what to do about these children?

          That's an extremely nitpicky argument to make above.  If they're put on a path to citizenship they'll only start getting the social security benefits owed to them after they become citizens.

          Doh! that was hard.

          The U.S. "immigration debate" has lost sight of justice.

          by kyledeb on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 12:56:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah (0+ / 0-)

            If they're put on a path to citizenship

            First think you need to think about when you get that 'path to citizenship for the 12 million' is how you are going to figure out what SS numbers were used by 'the 12 million' and what contributions they have made into possibly multiple Social Security numbers which did not belong to them.

            they'll only start getting the social security benefits owed to them after they become citizens.

            Right

            Doh! that was hard.

            And it's especially easy if you don't really think about it too much.

            <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

            by superscalar on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 01:08:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Just so we are clear (0+ / 0-)

          I support both a path to citizenship and eligibility to Medicare and Social Security for undocumented workers once they receive legal residency or work permits.  

          The NY Times article speaks about the fact that Mr. Martinez, contributes to, but is not currently entitled to such benefits.  My position is that individuals like Mr. Martinez, once legal should be afforded all benefits, plus I believe the most decent and fair thing to do is credit them with any and all amounts they have paid into the system.  

          Under your logic if Mr. Martinez bought a Lotto ticket and won, he should be denied his prize money, after all he should not have bought a ticket based on the fact that he illegally entered the country.

          So, please Super...what is your solution?

          •  No (0+ / 0-)

            but is not currently entitled to such benefits'

            You use the word 'currently' -- the New York Times does not.

            Under your logic

            You will find, if you read what I wrote, that I took no position either way.

            I simply pointed out that your position made as much sense as the New York Times -- which wants to have its cake and eat it too -- in that they want to say that illegal immigrants 'contribute to Social Security but will never receive any benefits' at the same time that they advocate for legislation which will guarantee that illegal immigrants do indeed receive those benefits.

            It's disingenuous and reeks of a knowingly dishonest position.

            So, please Super...what is your solution?

            I have stated more than once here that I believe there may be no solution to this issue. That is especially true now that 'a path to citizenship for the 12 million' is being portrayed as 'a solution' or 'immigration reform' in and of itself.

            Some of my thoughts on illegal immigration in general, and some thoughts on S1033 (S2611) are here, they were made when Ted Kennedy and his staff still had the balls to come to Daily Kos, and they were made long before you were a member of this site (not that this in itself makes them right or wrong).

            <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

            by superscalar on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 04:13:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We must find a solution (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Duke1676, kyledeb

              to a problem that our government gave birth to some 20+ years ago and has gone unresolved by elected officials who for the most part won't take solid position because they too worried about getting re-elected.

              If in your mind a path towards work permits, legal residency or eventual citizenship for the 12 million or so undocumented immigrants now here is not a "solution" or true "immigration reform", then you must have something to offer, besides a "I believe there may be no solution to this issue"
               
              This post and thread is about how our current policy forcibly separates US born children from their mothers (parents).  

              So, forgive me Super for my insisting...but my question still begs?  

              Do you in fact support the a policy that would forcibly separate families?  If it's "Yes"! Then you an I have different visions of what America is, what it should stand for and unfortunately bodes ill and may be potential a disaster in this country's future.

              However, if this post by Kyle serves to shed more light on how our broken policies destroy families touches you, then perhaps both sides can begin a meaningful discussion.  A meaningful discussion that addresses sound solutions.  

              What in your view would be the decent, humane or socially responsible action we as US citizens should take on this issue?

              •  How? (0+ / 0-)

                This post and thread is about how our current policy forcibly separates US born children from their mothers (parents).

                How in fact does 'this policy forcibly separates US born children from their mothers'?

                I know of nothing regarding current US immigration law which 'forcibly separates US born children from their mothers', but perhaps you can explain which US immigration policy does that.

                If in your mind a path towards work permits, legal residency or eventual citizenship for the 12 million or so undocumented immigrants now here is not a "solution" or true "immigration reform"

                A 'path to citizenship for the 12 million' is not a solution, it isn't even a valid option by itself, and as to this in any 'stand alone' form constituting 'immigration reform', this claim is ludicrous on its face, as simply changing the legal status of illegal immigrants in this country 'reforms' nothing.

                then you must have something to offer, besides a "I believe there may be no solution to this issue"

                Why? If you're driving down the freeway and your car breaks down, and I pull up and say 'you threw a rod and your engine cannot be fixed' does that then oblige me to offer you a solution to your predicament?

                Do you in fact support the a policy that would forcibly separate families?

                I disagree that anyone is forcibly seperating families here, much as I disagree that the only available option open to you is to change US immigration law such that if you become the parent of a US born child and you yourself are in the country illegally, you are immune to deportation.

                Then prepare for the elimination of US immigration law, because the first attempt to deport a child who is not born in the US, but who has effectively lived here from birth, will be the basis for a class action suit which will then preclude the deportation of any child from the US, which will then preclude the deportation of anyone from the US, which then constitutes open borders, which then precludes any practical need for immigration law in the first place.

                <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

                by superscalar on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 05:29:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I think you've completely (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mariachi mama

              changed the conversation from one about children to one about social security.  I agree with, Tony, but it's not worth my time to make points that you are not even willing to make yourself.

              The U.S. "immigration debate" has lost sight of justice.

              by kyledeb on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 05:17:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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