Rep. Jayapal Talks About Just How Badly Immigrant Children Are Being Abused By Our Government

The image of breastfeeding children being ripped from their mother's arms and placed in "tender age centers", elementary school aged children held in cages and tents in triple digit heat is something that will be one of the most despicable marks on the Trump administration for decades after Trump leaves office. The court has ordered the Trump administration to reunite all remaining kids with their families within four days, although the chances of that happening are slim to none.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal joined Joy Ann Reid on Sunday's AM Joy to discuss the hard numbers:

REID: Llet's go through the numbers quickly. 2500 children were separated. There were more than 2500 separated. Nearly 3,000. Only 450 reunited. 1600-plus are eligible according to the government reunification. 905 parents we're told are not expected to be eligible for some reason and 863 have final deportation orders. When you went down to the border, were you able to get any answers as to why they're declaring some parents ineligible?

JAYAPAL: No. I mean, our trip to the border was really to see exactly what's happening. but we did have a briefing, a closed door briefing the other day, and we did not get answers from CVP and ICE and Homeland Security and HHS other than to say that they are deciding whether or not these children get to go back to their parents, which is really outrageous. because these kids were ripped from their parents' arms. The court has ordered that they be reunited. The Trump administration already missed the first deadline for children under 5 and now it looks likely that they're not going to be able to reunite all of these families and so part of the argument they seem to be making is well there are a whole bunch of families, parents who don't deserve to have their children back for one reason or another. I can tell you Joy, that it was absolutely heartbreaking. I will tell you that families are still being separated.

I went with a group of eight members of Congress and we went to the processing center, the epicenter of where the kids are being separated from their parents. That is still happening. In the processing center, which is something like 16,000 square feet, a huge facility, this is where the kids are in cages. They're still in cages, first of all, important that the American people know that. Secondly, if the children are in cages on the opposite end of the facility separated from their parents. Their parents only have one hour a day that they're allowed to see their children and we were told, actually, that that hour is something like 6:00 in the morning. In addition, if you're not a parent, then the court order does not apply to you. so we sat on the floor with a sobbing grandmother who had come here with her grandson, 7-year-old grandson, had not seen that child for four days, was taken away from her. Does not know where that child is and she raised him. She's effectively been his parent.


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We saw siblings, if you're over 18 years old and then you come with a 12-year-old, you are separated as well. So this tragedy, this crisis that has been brought on by the Trump administration's cruel and inhumane zero tolerance, zero humanity policy is still going on even as the court is ordering families to be reunited. It was horrific and we -- it's hard to find the words, Joy.

We met with one set of parents who had just been reunited with their children. They were in a shelter that's run by the Catholic charities. The sister allowed us to go in and speak with them. This brings tears to my eyes even as I think about it. The child told us, 7-year-old boy, told us he was told by government agents that his mother had abandoned him. That is why she was not there. As they spoke to us, mother and child were weeping and so were the rest of us. Can you imagine the child abuse government sanctioned violence that we're doing to these children and to these parents by telling them things like that.

REID: That is the word that was used. A lot of the top psychologists said this is child abuse. It's been decide. To reiterate, you're saying that the Trump administration is still separating children from their parents and children?

JAYAPAL: Absolutely. These are cages. We were not allowed to take photographs inside. Unfortunately. but there are pictures that have been taken. The children are separated by age. 0 to 10, 11 to 15, like that. But they are separated from their parents. These parents are not seeing their children except for, you know, an hour a day in that facility. Many of them have been held for up to a week and perhaps even longer. Most of the parents that we met with that had either just been reunited or were about to be reunited, We actually watched some of these reunifications and it was so -- of course, joyful that they were being finally reunited. But to see that our government put these families through this, it was horrendous.

Many had not seen their children for two months. They were separated for over two months. Did not know where their children were. Most of the stories I heard were very similar to the stories I heard over a month ago when I went to visit those 176 women that had been transferred from the Texas border to that federal prison south of my district. Almost exactly the same. Deception. The children were taken away without any notice, not allowed to say good-bye. We heard those things again.

Here are are numbers:

So to recap: kids are still in cages, families are being separated (even after being court ordered to stop), kids are are being mentally and emotionally abused by sociopathic ICE and HHS officials who tell them that their parents abandoned them, questionable medical and mental health for those being detained and the Trump administration is committing human rights violations on a DAILY BASIS against people coming here legally who are fleeing violence, danger and a litany of other humanitarian crises.

This is America.

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