Don’t forget immigrant children still locked up

September 28, 2018

The news headlines out of Washington, D.C., change by the minute. That’s because President Donald Trump has proved a master at controlling the news cycle so that stories seldom slow down. It’s hard to remain upset if we forget what happened just a day or two ago.

One minute the deputy attorney general is being fired (or not). The next, we are hearing the latest accusations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Then, comes the noise from Trump’s speech to world leaders before the United Nations, which actually provokes a laugh — at, not with — the president as he pronounces his administration among the most accomplished in U.S. history.

Topping it off this week is Trump’s 81-minute, freewheeling solo news conference as only he can do it — misstatements, buckets of braggadocio and the offhand remark that Democrats are so partisan, “If we brought George Washington here and we said, we have George Washington, the Democrats would vote against him.”

And so it goes in Trump’s America.

No wonder the outrage over immigrant children held in U.S. custody is so muted today — that was last summer’s worry. Yet some 12,800 children remain in custody, looked after by the Health and Human Services Department. According to the New York Times and other news sources, the number of detained migrant children has skyrocketed with little fanfare in recent months. Data indicated that 2,400 children were in custody in May 2017, as opposed to 12,800 now.

The increased numbers aren’t because more children are crossing the border, but because fewer are being released. That means these children continue to need help and support as they live in custody and away from their families.

Different sorts of assistance are welcome. Some people send money to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services or to the American Civil Liberties Union to pay for lawyers and translators. Groups such as Border Angels in California work on immigration reform and promote social justice along the U.S.-Mexican border. The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights promotes the best interests of immigrant children, and the Kids In Need of Defense Group tries to ensure that children have legal representation when they appear in court.

Yes, many groups are doing important work to make sure these children don’t lose their futures because of this nation’s flawed immigration policies. They could use assistance.

It is difficult, as attention spans grow ever-shorter, to keep in mind the intractable problems that do not seem to be going away. Even as we call our senators about the Supreme Court, walk door to door in support of a candidate, or help out at our kid’s school, please remember the children who will be sleeping without their parents. Again.

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