• December 9th, 2021
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Our Children in Cages? Get Out the Vote!


The Weekly Issue/El Semanario Advisory Board

 

What do you call a country that separates children from their parents and throws them into cages? Whatever else, we do not call it “civilized.”  Then, what do you call the U.S.?

A national question is, Why did the Trump administration as early as 2018 separate children from Mexican and other Latina/o immigrants and throw those kids—some as young as two or three years old—into cages?  A Colorado question is, What action did Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper take in response, vs., What did Republican Senator Cory Gardner do about it?  One final question: What will your response as a voter be this November?

The 2020 election campaign is now in full swing, with less than two months before political representation is decided. The issue of the separation of Latino children from their immigrant parents and subsequent child incarceration has, curiously, not been an issue. It has not been raised nationally for the Presidential race nor in Colorado for the Senatorial race—but it must be.

We encourage The Weekly Issue/El Semanario readers to Register to Vote if not so registered, and then Get Out the Vote for John Hickenlooper as our Colorado Senator. He protected our children in the past and will continue to safeguard their futures.

In 2018, as part of his anti-immigrant campaign President Donald Trump initiated a “zero tolerance” policy against immigrants, which fell particularly harshly on young children.  Some readers of The Weekly Issue/El Semanario might object to our characterization of this practice as separating these children and putting them in “cages.”  This is not semantics. According to a June 18, 2018 article in The Atlantic periodical, “Are Children Being Kept in ‘Cages’ at the Border?” the answer is, Yes, the practice is as abhorrent as the term signifies. As the article states,

“Here’s what no one disputes: When the children are separated from their parents, they’re sent to facilities where they are kept in chain-link pens they can’t leave….  For example, the Associated Press reported: “Inside an old warehouse in South Texas, hundreds of children wait in a series of cages created by metal fencing. One cage had 20 children inside. Scattered about are bottles of water, bags of chips and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets.”

Even Fox and Friends, noted as Donald Trump’s “favorite [TV] show,” stated that “authorities had ‘built walls out of chain-link fences,’” a semantic concern perhaps noting that the listener’s ears are more delicate than are little children.

We the undersigned are the Advisory Board for The Weekly Issue/l Semanario newspaper.  We are exceedingly concerned about the U.S. Senate race in Colorado at least partly because of the abyss, concerning this issue, that separates the two candidates, current Senator Cory Gardner and his challenger, former Governor John Hickenlooper. Of the two, when Donald Trump’s administration engaged in this detestable practice of child separation and incarceration, then-Governor John Hickenlooper championed the children and fought back, using as far as he was able his Governor’s office agencies to prohibit such practice in Colorado. (Presidents and Governors can issue Executive Orders [EO] under various circumstances, including emergencies such as the Covid-19 pandemic and other public safety issues.)

We greatly appreciate Governor Hickenlooper’s issuing on June 18, 2018, his “B 2018 008 Executive Order” forbidding “Using State Resources to Separate Children from Their Parents or Legal Guardians on the Sole Ground of Immigration Status.”  (See https://colorado.gov/pacific/archives/governor-hickenlooper-executive-orders#eo2018 especially # B 2018-008.)  As the EO stated in its “Background and Purpose,”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s practice of separating children from their parents when arriving at the southern border is offensive to our core values as Coloradans and as a country….  In the past six weeks, U.S. agents have separated an estimated 2,000 children from their parents. It is deeply troubling that the U.S. Government would participate in such inhumane actions.

It goes on to ensure that “The State of Colorado is a safe and welcoming place for all of its residents, regardless of immigration status,” protects such children, and forbids any state agency from participating in such separations.  While Senator Gardner did sign on to a letter with eleven other Republican lawmakers opposing the practice, its reach, even if it had moved Trump, would have been minimal, as they asked for more time to work “out a solution that enables faster processing of individuals who enter our country illegally” (thedenverchannel.com, Denver 7, June 20, 2019).

President Trump’s administration, with Senator Cory Gardner in tow, engaged in such child separation and incarceration as a matter of course, a punishment perhaps befitting hardened convicted violent felons, but not innocent small children, incapable of committing any crime according to the U.S. legal system. These children should have had legal recourse to both the “Due Process” and the “Equal Protection” clauses of the 14th Amendment, which protects citizens, of course, but also “persons,” citizens or not.  Governor John Hickenlooper honorably and justifiably applied Colorado’s government to shelter and safeguard these children, while Senator Cory Gardner wished for a speedier “processing” of immigrant individuals, presumably the parents, with little regard for the children.

As the Advisory Board for The Weekly Issue/El Semanario, we strongly encourage you to compare and contrast Hickenlooper and Gardner and their divergent responses to the fate of these children in cages. John Hickenlooper did all he could, and then some, to protect them; Gardner acquiesced to Trump. We encourage The Weekly Issue/El Semanario readers to Register to Vote if not so registered, and then Get Out the Vote for John Hickenlooper as our Colorado Senator.

He protected our children in the past and will continue to safeguard their futures.

 

Members of The Weekly Issue/El Semanario Advisory Board: Ramón Del Castillo, Ph.D., Ray Ayón, Steve Del Castillo, Ph.D. and Luis Torres, Ph.D.

 

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