What About The Children?

I haven’t blogged about the children separated from their parents at the border, because–really–what can I say? It is so horrific, so diametrically opposed to what rational people want to believe about our country, that it is overwhelming.

It was bad enough when the news of this inconceivable aspect of Trump’s “zero tolerance” first emerged; it was worse when we saw photos of children in cages and read reports of the “privatized” facilities charging taxpayers big bucks to warehouse bewildered, frightened children. But then the courts ordered that families be re-united, and we could tell ourselves that the damage would be limited. (Yes, some children would probably carry that trauma into their adult lives, but at least they would be back with their parents.)

But early this month, we woke to headlines that should–but probably won’t– shame every Trump voter. ABC News reported that “thousands” more children had been taken from their parents than previously reported.

President Donald Trump’s administration does not know how many migrant children were separated from their parents at the southern border in the year before the “zero-tolerance” policy launched, and is unlikely to figure it out, according to court papers filed Friday night.

Last month, an internal government report found that during the Trump administration, thousands more kids may have been separated from their parents at the border than was previously known and that a “steep increase” of separations began in the summer of 2017, almost a year before the “zero-tolerance” policy was announcedby then-Attorney General Jeff Sessionsin the spring of 2018.

NBC highlighted the government’s admission that it was probably unable to reunite the children with their families.

The Trump administration said in a court filing that reuniting thousands of migrant children separated from their parents or guardians at the U.S.-Mexico border may not be “within the realm of the possible.”

The filing late Friday from Jallyn Sualog, deputy director of the department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, was an ordered response in an ACLU lawsuit challenging the government’s separation of thousands of children at the border since the summer of 2017. The estimate of “thousands” comes from the HHS Office of Inspector General’s January report and pertains to children separated before the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy came into effect in 2018.

Sualog said her office doesn’t have the resources to track down the children, whose numbers could be thousands more than the official estimate.

This administration is the perfect marriage of evil and incompetence.

I can’t even get my head around what those mothers and fathers must be feeling, let alone the terror experienced by small children suddenly bereft of their parents. I think back to when my own children were young and they were the absolute center of my life. (I’m still pretty fond of them.)

How can any parent fail to empathize with mothers and fathers frantic to protect their children from the daily threats posed by civil disorder? I would have gone to similar lengths to find a safe environment for my children.

The people who came with children to our southern border evidently believed what most Americans believed until Trump–that this nation of immigrants would greet them with justice and compassion and help them save their children. They couldn’t have foreseen what actually happened–that their children would be taken from them, that their whereabouts would be unaccounted for, and the country they’d pinned their hopes on wouldn’t care.

The richest country in the world “lacks the resources” to find the children they stole. The “can do” country didn’t bother to keep records.

It’s heartbreaking and inexcusable.


  1. I went through a 9 month separation at age 3
    The effects last a lifetime – No exaggeration
    That our GOVERNMENT did this – ON PURPOSE – to other people is simply awful.
    It cannot be tolerated – Not by civilized people – US
    These awful awful people must be removed from positions of power –
    – and the sooner the better
    Trumps assertion – “they are animals” – is disgusting
    We and the world deserve so much better

  2. How is it possible for the Trump Administration to commit the federal crime of kidnapping and get away with it? For kidnapping it is. They stole children from their parents, held them in concentration camps, and then shipped them all over the country to foster homes without any records being kept.
    I use to wonder how the German people stood by and let the Jews be rounded up, their children taken from them and then shipped off to unknown places. I don’t wonder on that any more. That same mean and cruel mindset runs through our present population most notably the conservatives among us. For no other reason, not the Russia treason nor the dismantling of the government, should all remaining Republicans be voted out of office.
    FYI ICE runs a human transfer station up off of Zionsville Road. There is anther one in Kokomo I’ve been told.

  3. “The Trump administration said in a court filing that reuniting thousands of migrant children separated from their parents or guardians at the U.S.-Mexico border may not be “within the realm of the possible.”

    Early reports; early in the time frame during which we learned what “zero tolerance” meant, stated that during separation parents were assigned one identification number and children were assigned a different set of identification numbers. That information quickly disappeared from the media and all attempts at reuniting families. A Republican fuck-up which continues today.

    Knowing that many of the immigrants come from backward, horrific political situations in near third-world countries; they must receive some form of public information about this country and what Americans are dealing with under Trump’s White Nationalist chaotic rule. Word of separation of children from parents; most never reunited, the arrests and deportations and armed military at the border are international news. His racism and bigotry have been out in the open; his hatred of all from below our southern border has been international news. Why do they want to come here?

    “The richest country in the world “lacks the resources” to find the children they stole. The “can do” country didn’t bother to keep records.”

    “It’s heartbreaking and inexcusable.”

    And the many thousands of immigrants who have been here illegally with no help from this government to become documented or naturalized are virtual prisoners; many in hiding, including their children…another Trump abuse of immigrant children and those born here in in this country…just as Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump and Baron Trump were. Their mothers did not become American citizens until long after their births and his one child, born to an American mother, is not claimed by the the Trump family.

    And Trump WILL again shut down the government simply because he can and no one in McConnell’s private Senate will stop it from happening.

  4. What can be done about this unspeakable crime? I heard not a word of shame or remorse this past Saturday at the Marion County Democratic Party Convention. We do have a privatized company GEO office, 73rd and Zionsville Rd., which monitors undocumented immigrants. It is sobering to see a parent or parents walk from their car holding the hand or carrying infants, accompanied by older children. GEO is a world-wide incarceration business. Search it on the Internet. They pride themselves on the concerned care they provide “those entrusted to their care.” Speak of a vile euphemism. When spoken, the words must rot in their mouths.

  5. I wonder what the parents who were forcibly returned to their countries without their children have told other people who considered coming here about the horrors they experienced.

    We have millions of people in this country who consider themselves to be good Christians, yet they support this horrendous treatment of their fellow human beings. They attend church on Sundays while spewing hatred upon people who need their help. They claim to be Christians while completely ignoring the words of the man they claim to worship.

  6. Yes, the Trump administration, and especially Trump himself are animals…barely. I say barely, because they seem to lack the organs of decency, compassion, empathy and dignity that even the lowest forms of life have.

    It’s bad enough that they have convinced so many people that what they’re doing is for the good of the country, but these bastards just don’t care about who they destroy or how they’re destroying what our nation projects to the world. We keep getting reminded of our days past as a slave nation – even today. Now we have an additional humanity disaster with the self-inflicted horror show at our southern border.

    Remember, the illicit drug industry is the root cause of the current migrations of Central Americans. And WE – or citizens – are the reason the drug industry flourishes. We must look at ourselves for all of this. We found a way to elect the worst human being on Earth as our president. WE fuel the illicit drug trade. WE put children in cages.

    So, when do we re-discover our nobility and start doing the right thing? The days of gradual change have got to be over. We must disgorge this fetid substance from our bellies. Expelling the orange hairball would be a good first step to healing.

  7. Wayne, that GEO office up on Zionsville Road does the monitoring, but the large three story building behind it, blocked off to outsiders, is a holding/jail facility, or so I was told last summer when I joined the protests there. The local Catholic bishop tried to gain entry but was tossed out.
    The protests I joined were made up of Quakers and atheists. No Catholics when I was there, and of course, no evangelicals or other protestant “believers”.

  8. “Remember, the illicit drug industry is the root cause of the current migrations of Central Americans.”

    Vernon; it may be the “root cause of the current migrations of Central Americans” but it is NOT the root cause of addiction in this country. Did you happen to watch the one-hour special MSNBC broadcast with Chris Hayes and Bernie Sanders from the poorest county in West Virginia; long enough after Trump’s inauguration for them to learn the truth of his agenda? Part of their problem was was many thousands of drugs pouring into that small area; all traced back to Big Pharma, local doctors over prescribing narcotics which were happily and profitably filled by local pharmacies. We must lay the local blame where it is based; not all drug addicts in this country are using drugs from south of our Mexican border. The guests on that program were that poorest West Virginia county residents and drugs from Big Pharma were at the root of their problem.

    I have said before that the program was a vital message to all of us and needs to be rebroadcast along with follow-up to learn if Trump’s lies about the return of coal jobs has happened, if those poverty stricken residents have ever received the health care they need but were being denied and if the inundation of legally prescribed drugs, resulting in addiction, has been remedied.

    Trump is laying the American drug addiction blame on drugs coming across our southern border; we must trump his ass and not follow suit by doing the same. (Some Euchre language familiar to those of us in Indiana.)

  9. There is a picture burned into my memory – it is an image that comes from my work in the text of the Hebrew Torah, under the overturned chariot of Pharaoh is a little face and clearly the young prince of Egypt, with the image of the face of a Mouse just on his head.., innocence – the innocents that get to pay for the hell the adults have wrought. They didn’t ask for this hell. How can we in anyway call ourselve even close to moral, when the children – OUR FUTURE are suffering in any way shape or form? I want to know – WHO IS BEING MORAL? I am ashamed of myself and of us ALL!!! Who took the missing children – are they being used for slave labor??? Or being bought by trump supporters for sex??? Can anyone tell me the truth? Because I am not seeing a lot of truth coming forth when the administration and people in charge are asked questions on this!

  10. If Trump runs, and is defeated, it will be the result of many voters with different reasons. Since most adults over 30 are parents or grandparents, they understand the fear of a lost child, or the anguish of even a temporary separation. Think of the reminder impact of a million yard signs that read Where Are the Children might have as another log on the fire to defeat the Embarrassment. To me, this issue, more than any other, represents the total failure of this administration.

  11. Are these children being adopted by the people they are placed with, if they are placed with families? Will they have a path to citizenship or at some point will they be deported? Will they be able to sue the government for unlawful detainment? What will the unintended consequences be?

  12. Trump has a lot of chutzpah to call Central American asylum-seekers “animals.” The chief animal within our borders is the image Trump sees in the mirror. FDR, my favorite president of all time, was wrong to intern American citizens of Japanese ancestry during WW II, but at least after Pearl Harbor he did (if wrongly) perceive a real emergency whereas Trump has manufactured the current border emergency in his narcissistic Otherworld so he can ride in on his white horse to save the day. This separation and lockup of children many of whom will never see their parents again is a stain on our history that will never be erased.

    I am especially incensed by the administration’s claim that they don’t know where all the kids they locked up belong and don’t have the resources to find out when I consider that this administration managed to borrow the resources recently to give 1.5 trillion dollars to the already rich, including a bump in the income of its chief sponsors, Trump and Ryan. Let’s not forget just how much money that is, like one thousand five hundred billion dollars of our and our progeny’s tax money to the already rich who are in the midst of historic profits, cash on hand and a stratospheric Dow, 1.5 trillion that Trump told us would go into new plant, a boom in good paying jobs etc. He, as usual, lied. It went into stock buybacks and other Dow-enhancing capital gains projects.

    The new employment involved retail clerks and other low wage jobs which hardly moved the needle of economic growth and now that the froth of that giveaway has dissipated (aided by Trump’s tariffs, government shutdowns and trade games), as I (ahem!) predicted, economists are predicting drops in economic growth for the year and some see a recession (as do I) on the horizon. Meanwhile Don is going to visit Kim, whom he has told us he “loves,” even as Kim continues to rattle his atomic saber. With any luck he will immigrate to North Korea to be with his love, and if so, good riddance!

  13. The “Pence Must Go” signs were developed by Kevin Warren here in Indianapolis, a real estate agent, possibly a member of the Chamber of Commerce; I couldn’t find a way to contact him on line but there was a phone number for his listing with COC. He could possibly be a source to produce “Where Are The Children?” yard signs. A very nice young man; he delivered my 2 signs because I was unable to drive to the north side of Indy.

  14. JoAnn,

    As a matter of fact I DID see that town hall with Bernie in WV. Yes, the drug companies are out to make money. I’ve written about that often in my books. Yes, the drug companies and their pliant physicians (some of whom are getting kickbacks from selling the opioids) who prescribe more often than there are people are complicit in the addiction problem. When the VA terminates a veteran’s pain prescriptions, the veteran turns to street drugs like heroin and the other opioids.

    THAT is just part of the problem. My question would be: “Why are so many of our citizens addicted to illicit drugs? And if they aren’t (yet) addicted, why do they use them? Isn’t alcohol and MJ enough?” Obviously, something is wrong with our society that we have so much self-destructive behavior that extends to destroying lives thousands of miles away too.

    Perhaps it is the hopelessness of poverty. Perhaps it is the “I can now get away with it” mentality of those with money. Perhaps it’s because so many lives seem to have so little purpose to the individual that they are compelled to make that pain go away too. Maybe illicit drugs are just natural for humans to use as an experiment with their brain: “Let’s see how far away from reality I can get.” I’m certainly no saint on these topics, but there came a day when I saw the danger. Then I realized the social impact of so many doing so many drugs for so many reasons.

    Maybe the drugs, like Trump, are symbols of the core illness in so many of our people. Maybe there isn’t enough purposeful work to satisfy the realities of living for so many of our people. Maybe this human destruction is just a major symptom of the cost of doing business in a capitalistic society.

  15. Please, please keep this issue of lost children front and center. There is a despicable attempt to lose the issue in dissembling and casual incompetence. There was mention of Whitaker’s fumbling and slightly shamed responses on this issue, but not nearly enough replay. I wish there was a way to attach the issue to the stupid “wall” – one mention of barrier, two mentions of children for whom each day feels as though it lasts a year. Maybe then something could be done to help them, or at least make it STOP.

  16. “Maybe the drugs, like Trump, are symbols of the core illness in so many of our people.”

    Wow, Vernon; you may have just hit on the answer to the core illness of addiction and the Trump epidemic! I worked in a federally operated methadone clinic in the 1970’s; it was a national operation with clinics in most major cities. The first issue, step one, the counselors addressed was to tell them to change their friends, including family members if they were part of their drug use. Look at the Trump supporters; those who think like him, act like him, believe like him and have no motivation to change; they believe he is their friend. Their connection is deeper ingrained than drug abuse; most have lived in life-long racist, bigoted family and peer groups and feel “safe” staying where they are. I later worked in an in-patient facility for court-ordered teenage drug addicts; the counselors also began with that same step one. Teens were much more difficult to reach regarding leaving family and peers due to their vulnerable age.

    How many of Trump’s “lost children” who are somewhere in this vast country with no family or peer support on any level will turn to drugs and crime if or when they are released and become what Trump accuses the adults of to get his money and his way about his wall?

  17. People get very uncomfortable when the Duck administration is even vaguely compared to the Nazis. But, the “lost children” is just the one worst example of their gross ineptitude at even “running the trains on time”. Evil unstructured is killer chaos….

  18. Thank you, as always, Sheila,

    Words just fail me, particularly non-profane ones, in regard to this wholly American travesty against lawful refugees and immigrants – particularly children. My Navy/Marine Corps vocabulary that’s always with that sometimes comes out when I’m in rush hour traffic wants to kick in so badly in regard to this issue but I can’t put that in print. Instead, I will include a quote from the late Jacob Bronowski, a tremendous scientific philosopher who’s long gone, who did an equally tremendous TV series on PBS 40 plus years ago called “The Ascent” of Man” on the evolution of scientific thought. He wrote a companion book to go with the series that I fortunately have. He made this statement regarding the Nazis and the Holocaust while he was at Auschwitz years afterward, a place where so many of his family died as a result of horribly misguided thinking. It was the most moving part of the whole series to me and I think it fully applies to this truly horrid situation as well –

    “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be may be mistaken.”

    Nowadays, this statement applies to an awful lot that is going on in this country which is in the hands of a sociopathic and wholly ignorant madman, pure and simple, along with others that are of either the same bent or are just too stupid, arrogant and self-serving to realize the full import of what they have done and are continuing to do – to children.

  19. “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us.

    It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
    —The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan.
    America’s amnesia and/or willful ignorance of the USA’s foreign policy South of the border is stunning. The McMega-Media and the vast majority of Americans focuses only on the effect, i.e., the refugees either economic or political never the causes.

    The USA since the 19th Century has been actively engaged in Regime change under both Democratic and Republican Presidents. The slightest whiff of socialism or power to the people rather than all power to the elite is enough to send USA into the Regime change mode. Coups, assassinations, Right Wing Militias trained and funded by the USA are used to stamp out any challenges. The basic instinct of fight or flight kicks in for the people trapped in the middle.

    Usually this Regime Change may take years to reveal, when some documents are declassified, or in the case of Iran Contra in real time.

    Today, any pretense of Regime change secrecy has blown away in Venezuela. President Agent Orange and the Neo-Cons are upfront and in public about instigating a coup in Venezuela. Democrats have largely remained silent about this attempt at an overthrowing a foreign government. Many of America’s stooges are line up behind Regime change.

    It is quite amazing to me to listen and watch the steady blah, blah, blah about Russian interference in our elections and how terrible it is. The same rigorous standards are not applied to the USA vis-à-vis Venezuela.

  20. Thank you, Sheila, for bringing this issue back. This horrific situation is something we cannot ignore as a nation. In spite of the other major issues facing us, we must raise our voices; insist that all immigrants be treated with the respect and aid we would wish for if we were fleeing from harm; insist that our congressional candidates promise to deal with these problems; keep seeking the facts and pushing for change. Otherwise we are somewhat complicit in this crime against humanity. Lets get the yard signs started, then on to more actions.

  21. We have all described this whole administration, Whitehouse, Cabinet and Congress as incompetent and corrupt. Usually when those words are chosen corrupt means self serving in terms of money but I think that it applies to Trumpians more broadly. They are morally corrupt despite the pious face that Pence puts on.

    They are morally corrupt because their leadership apparently has been told since birth that they are above everyone else and their egos have carried that over to the country that it is morally self serving because those who elected them are morally self serving.

    Between that and our holy wars I think that we can see that 250 years of setting a moral standard if not always perfectly at least to a degree is gone probably forever. No other country or people will look at us post Trump as they did pre Trump.

    The painful part is that loss in moral standing is perfectly correct. Trump is the symptom but who we’ve become is the disease.

  22. Vernon:
    “Obviously, something is wrong with our society…”
    “Perhaps it is the hopelessness of poverty. Perhaps it is the “I can now get away with it” mentality of those with money. Perhaps it’s because so many lives seem to have so little purpose to the individual…”

    All those excuses have been examined ad nauseam by scholars, professionals and dippers (lay thinkers).

    Without playing Reductionist by which I might purport a singular underlying cause of ALL drug problems, I will go half-way and name one major item in the cause chain that underlies all those that you list:

    I BLAME THE 60-YEAR-OLD DEFINITION OF ADULT…the definition that several generations now have passed on to or permitted their children to develop. It is the adult that almost all children now aspire to be…and are permitted to do so…and are encouraged to do so by book after book and article after article. Here it is:

    Adult means that I have reached that arbitrary way-point in life when I CAN BE THE CHILD I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE. I am now old enough legally to be the child I always wanted to be. I now can pay my own way to be the child I always wanted to be. I now have a society of peers who understand our mission as adults is to be the child we always wanted to be and who will measure my adulthood by how childish I can show the world I am. It is a contest at which I can be super good.

    Adult means that I am free to murder my parents, not take their life per se but destroy their essence, which is cultural and familial norms.

    As an adult, I can say the dirty words that were forbidden. I can express mean thoughts that were once forbidden, dote on my appearance, eat junk food, litter the earth, waste money on pleasure, be a gluten for music, concerts, hairdos, brand names, alcohol, drugs, cookies, ice cream, beef, cruises… I leave the list open, for anyone can easily add another glutinous promiscuity that serves to define the ambition of adulthood since the 1960s.

    Transactional analysts describe our inner psyches as a triumvirate of child, parent and adult. The child demands to do that which he or she WANTS to do, the parent prescribes that which he or she SHOULD do, and the adult within counsels that which would be WISE to do.

    Since the 1960s, the adult within has been weakened and gradually stirred into the child within. So, we come to statutory adulthood with no inner adult; wisdom has left the building. We are inner-wired with only a parental voice demanding we do that which is set in rules, and a child’s voice, now strengthened by a contaminated former adult voice, demanding we do what pleasures us.

    Thus, America gets a clear psychotic split among its people — several million inner parent-dominated individuals who are susceptible to authoritarian government, and another several million inner child-dominated individuals who are predisposed to government financed anarchy.

    The cure, I suppose, is resuscitation of that inner adult….and to clean up the aspiration children have of becoming an adult, so that they are guided by the true meaning of adult instead of the bastardized meaning of adult they aspire to now.

  23. Various reports on the earliest days of this administration indicated Trump, Sessions, Bannon, and Miller wanted to end legal as well as illegal immigration. They project their disregard for the law onto everyone else.

    Yes it’s kidnapping, and everyone who has participated in it should be arrested.

    Bill Bailey is right. This issue gets to all of us. I LOVE the yard sign idea and suggest addition of “Trump/Pence” before the question “Where are the children?”

  24. Where are the children?
    What if elected officials were asked this question every day by hundreds, thousands of constituents?

  25. Well, Larry, that was quite a summary. Somehow, the eighth-grade dropout living out of a shopping cart doesn’t strike me as someone who has dealt with his inner child OR adult OR parent…unless, of course, they are hauling around a child too.

    Somehow, I don’t think the yuppified generation bothers to analyze all that inner psyche stuff. It may be manifest in truth to the analyst, but mostly the generations you’re talking about simply don’t give a shit.

  26. Thank you, Sheila. In addition to your thoughtful message, I took time to read responses. I have during my career with the YMCA, including tenures in Hollywood, CA; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Jerusalem; run across several social scientists conducting research and inquiries about vulnerable children, impact of optimal intervention and consequences of failure that can result in great harm to innocent people decades later. What are the root causes that influence latent violence and a terrorist act? It is not difficult to transpose root causes traced to a traumatic event when one remembers the trauma of being yanked from the embrace of mother never to see her again. Then imagine a child’s memory embedded never to forget the officer wore an American flag emblem on his shoulder. Then you wonder how a wanton act of terror first began within someone to commit such a horrible act.

  27. Agree with Bill Bailey and Nancy Papas. Yard signs across the USA would remind all of us of the theft of thousands of children who are not candidates for adoption. Adding ‘Trump/Pence’ to ‘Where are the children?’ Would leave no doubt about who is responsible for the crime.

  28. I had to listen to our parish priest close the service this weekend with a reminder for all of us to pray for that child alive in the womb. Not a single word about the hundreds and even thousands of children who have been ripped away from their parents by our own government and those people who are more than happy to do the most heinous of crimes, kidnapping.

    I had no knowledge of a detention center in Zionsville or any other Indiana city. Do the citizens of that city know that there are children as well as adults being detained by a private firm making a nice profit? If they do know and are silent, they are betrayers.

    Where are those “pro-life” picketers who stand outside of any PP facility and harass women entering or even threaten the staff with physical harm? There is a thundering silence from that quarter. The hypocrisy makes anything they do in the name of “life” a complete lie.


  29. Words cannot express the horrible damage of this horrendous crime. To Trump & Pence supporters who stress pro-family, pro-life, Christian values, where is your indignation? Where are the children?

  30. “Beyond the realm of possibility” WE are better than this.. I know we can reunify these families. Its good social work and public health nursing strategies.. The Obama administration did have pilot programs to deal with an influx of families.. These were dismantled. The Red Cross also has training on how to track lost individuals ( their’s in relation to war ofc) This is doable.. This will be ongoing for years. I would love to support anyone doing this search work.. Who here could suggest who I contact? I have reached out to ACLU but I need other suggestions..

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