Saturday, May 4, 2019

Deportation Nation, Con't

Quite a bit on the immigration front this week, as former Trump White House "Adult in the Room ™" John Kelly has landed on his feet on the board of America's biggest supplier of private kiddie concentration camps.

In April, protesters outside the nation's largest facility for unaccompanied migrant children noticed a familiar face enter the massive, fenced site in Homestead, Florida: former White House chief of staff John Kelly. Soon after, a local television station recorded footage of him riding on the back of a golf cart as he toured the grounds.

It wasn't clear why he was there, but Friday, Caliburn International confirmed to CBS News that Kelly had joined its board of directors. Caliburn is the parent company of Comprehensive Health Services, which operates Homestead and three other shelters for unaccompanied migrant children in Texas.

Prior to joining the Trump administration in January 2017, Kelly had been on the board of advisors of DC Capital Partners, an investment firm that now owns Caliburn.

The Caliburn board includes other former high-ranking military personnel, including retired General Anthony C. Zinni, Admiral James G. Stavridis and Rear Admiral Kathleen Martin. The company's portfolio includes work in a variety of defense sectors.

"With four decades of military and humanitarian leadership, in-depth understanding of international affairs and knowledge of current economic drivers around the world, General Kelly is a strong strategic addition to our team," said James Van Dusen, Caliburn's CEO. "Our board remains acutely focused on advising on the safety and welfare of unaccompanied minors who have been entrusted to our care and custody by the Department of Health and Human Services to address a very urgent need in caring for and helping to find appropriate sponsors for these unaccompanied minors."

Kelly joined DC Capital's board in February 2016 and stepped down in January 2017 when he was confirmed as Secretary of Homeland Security. Kelly switched jobs in July 2017 to become President Trump's chief of staff, a position he left at the end of 2018.

During Kelly's tenure, the administration pursued ambitious changes to immigration enforcement, and the average length of stay for an unaccompanied migrant child in U.S. custody skyrocketed.

In the past year, Comprehensive Health Services, the only private company operating shelters, became one of the most dominant players in the industry. Last August, it secured three licenses for facilities in Texas, totaling 500 beds, and in December, the Homestead facility began expanding from a capacity of 1,250 beds to 3,200.

Located on several acres of federal land adjacent to an Air Reserve Base, the facility is the nation's only site not subject to routine inspections by state child welfare experts

Kelly is giving the game away as to what's coming: a massive detention regime as ICE will be rounding up millions, and soon.  Concentration camps for kids is a growth industry, because the Trump regime knows full well these kids will never be reunited and taking kids to deport them is designed as punishment too cruel to imagine.

On the same day the Trump administration said it would reunite thousands of migrant families it had separated at the border with the help of a "central database," an official was admitting privately the government only had enough information to reconnect 60 parents with their kids, according to emails obtained by NBC News.

"[I]n short, no, we do not have any linkages from parents to [children], save for a handful," a Health and Human Services official told a top official at Immigration and Customs Enforcement on June 23, 2018. "We have a list of parent alien numbers but no way to link them to children."

In the absence of an effective database, the emails show, officials then began scrambling to fill out a simple spreadsheet with data in hopes of reuniting as many as families as they could.

The gaps in the system for tracking separations would result in a months-long effort to reunite nearly 3,000 families separated under the administration's "zero tolerance" policy. Officials had to review all the relevant records manually, a process that continues.

Meanwhile, Trump's constant refrain of "getting rid of immigration judges" is coming closer to reality.

The Department of Homeland Security is racing to implement a plan that would give federal law enforcement on the border the authority to conduct interviews with asylum seekers who fear returning to their home countries, according to two sources with firsthand knowledge of the plan.
Under the pending procedural change, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers would train Border Patrol agents on the southern border how to conduct "credible fear interviews," which immigrants must pass to go on to claim asylum. Agents would conduct the interviews shortly after apprehending people who have illegally crossed from Mexico to the U.S.
The Trump administration is pushing to start agent training “ASAP,” according to one official.
The proposal has some downsides. For instance, there likely would be fewer Border Patrol agents performing law enforcement duties while undergoing training. But that would be offset by an overall decline of undocumented immigrants seeking refuge in the U.S.
“If that gets rolled out and we actually start deporting people within a timely manner, you’re going to see the numbers drop exponentially,” the official said.

This is flat out illegal, but again, we no longer live in a country where rule of law matters.  Trump does what he wants, and many of us go along.  With Border Patrol taking the place of immigration judges and making spot decisions to deny asylum and proceeding to immediate deportation, it's only a matter of time before the same power is used against undocumented already in the US.
And maybe some US citizens too.  Oops.
Serwer's Maxim applies: The cruelty is the point.

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