Sunday, June 16, 2019

49,000 Immigrant Children Held in Detention Camps

Jorge Ramos

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — When you first look around, everything seems normal: hundreds of kids, some in classrooms, others playing soccer, others in the dining hall or in their dorm rooms.

Soon, though, it becomes clear that something is wrong. None of the youngsters are holding cellphones or tablets. And they all have stern or sad expressions on their faces, as if they’re holding something back. Eventually, you realize what the problem is: These children aren’t allowed to leave. They’re in detention.
I recently visited the Homestead Job Corps center in southern Florida, a detention facility serving roughly 1,600 children between the ages of 13 and 17, most of them from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador. At the time of my visit, 3 out of 4 were boys. (You can watch a video of my visit here https://bit.ly/2JbRdKe )
The Homestead children endured shocking experiences to reach the United States. They fled violence, gangs and extreme poverty, and made the journey across Mexico (which, according to many Central Americans, is the worst part of the trip north) unaccompanied. They then crossed the U.S. border illegally or surrendered themselves to immigration authorities at a legal port of entry.
All of the children at Homestead were wearing new clothes — they looked just like regular teenagers anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, I couldn’t talk to any of them. I was only allowed to visit Homestead Job Corps on the condition that I did not interact with any of the minors housed there (a measure to protect them, the authorities said). Each child spends an average of 58 days at the detention facility, which is run by a private company that, according to one of the managers, receives around $750 per child per day, from the U.S. government.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Meet Baby Constantin


The youngest known child taken from his parents at the U.S.-Mexico border was a 4-month-old baby named Constantin Mutu. While he was sent to Michigan to live with a foster family, his father was sent to a detention facility and ultimately deported to Romania, uncertain when he would see his son again.
Caitlin Dickerson, an immigration correspondent for The Times, found Constantin, one of thousands of children separated under the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” border policy. In the latest episode of “The Weekly,” she reveals how he spent five tumultuous months away from those who loved him most.
Episode 3: ‘Baby Constantin’
Producer/Director: Sweta Vohra
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Caitlin Dickerson is a Peabody award-winning national immigration reporter, who profiles the lives of immigrants, including those without legal status. Last year, Caitlin reported that the Trump administration was separating hundreds of migrant children from their parents. Weeks later, the administration acknowledged what was happening, calling it a “zero tolerance policy.” She can be reached at caitlin.dickerson@nytimes.com. Follow her on Twitter: @itscaitlinhd
·       Constantin’s parents, Vasile and Florentina Mutu, left their home in Romania with two of their five children in early 2018 for Mexico, with plans to seek asylum in the United States.
·       They lost each other in Mexico. After U.S. border agents apprehended Vasile and baby Constantin in Texas, his wife and their 4-year-old son returned to Romania from Mexico.
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Monday, June 10, 2019

Trump is a bully. And must be treated like one. Jorge Ramos

President Donald Trump is a bully. And there are only three ways to deal with people like him: Agree to let them have their way, ignore them completely or confront them.
It seems that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO, as he’s known, has chosen the third of these options, and rightly so. He recently sent a letter directly to Trump that contained a clear warning, perhaps even a threat: “I’m neither a coward nor timid.”
Of course, this was only a first step in AMLO’s effort to address Trump’s tariff threats against Mexico, the most challenging international crisis his administration has faced thus far. Nevertheless, AMLO’s words ultimately fell short. The Mexican government must take concrete actions to fight back. Letters alone will not suffice.
The only thing that Trump respects is power. Nothing else matters to him (which might explain the soft spot he seems to have for autocrats like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un). And contrary to what many people might think, Mexico holds a strong position with respect to the United States, given that it’s one of the top markets for U.S. products. Mexico also helps control the northbound flow of drugs and immigrants into the United States, and is the only nation in the world that can do so. The United States needs Mexico, and that’s the message we must keep repeating.