Important twitter thread.
[Caption; A series of tweets by josie duffy rice/ @jduffyrice
Now that we’re all on twitter because of this game, I am making a public service announcement: PLEASE STOP SHARING THAT STORY ABOUT 1500 KIDS MISSING. The outrage I’ve seen is the result of a total misinterpretation and could SERIOUSLY threaten the children you want to save.
Before I get to it, I’ll answer the question that 99 million ppl will inevitably ask: I know this because I’m a lawyer, i works on criminal justice issues (sometimes incl immigration), and 4 of my closest friends are immigration attorneys dealing with this EXACT THING.
There are two things going on. 1) HHS doesn’t know where 1500 unaccompanied minors are. 2) we are separating parents and children at the border.
These are different. The kids in 1) were not separated from their parents at the border. They crossed the border alone* or arrived here without a parent.
That’s not really the point I want to make, though it is important.
These kids were dealt with by ORR, the office of refugee resettlement. They were released into the care of people that almost always fit within one of these three categories:
1) immediate family 2) extended family 3) other people that the child has a pre-existing relationship with. If none of these categories apply, then the kids normally stay in a shelter.
(After a number of children were trafficked in 2014, these restrictions got tighter.)
So those kids are released and then they are no longer ORRs responsibility or problem. THIS IS A GOOD THING.
One analogy I heard from my dear friend who I won’t tag without her permission, is that ORR is basically a jailer. Do you want the jail keeping track of where every former inmate is?
Now I have more to say about that but before we do that, let’s talk about the word missing. Basically by all accounts HHS did a cursory reach out to check on these kids, and couldn’t find out where they were exactly.
When I say cursory I mean cursory. We’re talking about phone calls. Phone calls! Like, no door knocks. No checking school records. They called. They didn’t find answers.
There are so many reasons why people wouldn’t answer. Maybe these kids are living with someone undocumented. Maybe they aren’t but their sponsor is (legitimately) completely scared of immigration authorities in trumps America.
They aren’t missing! They are almost certainly living with family members who almost certainly don’t want to interact with the government and WE SHOULDN’T ASK THEM TO
ORR’s job is NOT to track and monitor these kids, and it shouldn’t be. As my friend said, if there were an issue- abuse, or other wrongdoing- it should go through the appropriate agency: children’s services or what have you. It SHOULDN’T GO THROUGH HHS/ORR or DHS/ICE
When your school loans provider can’t reach you, are you missing? No. When your boss can’t find you on a Friday night, are you missing? No. They aren’t missing. Some unanswered phone calls does not a missing child make.
Now, I started out identifying two things that were happening. The second- the separation of children and their parents at the border- is goddamn unconscionable and sickening.
But DO NOT confuse the two. The potential for it backfiring is real. What we’re demanding is that ORR, which works hand in hand with ICE, “keep better track” of kids they basically would like to deport if giving the chance. We don’t want that!!!
You’re asking immigration authorities IN TRUMP’S AMERICA to BETTER MONITOR UNDOCUMENTED CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES. You don’t want this. I promise you don’t.
I get it. It sounds awful. But at WORST it’s benign. At best, it’s a GOOD thing that ORR doesn’t know where these kids are. There’s a reason. We actually now have pretty strict requirements before we release these kids. They aren’t all being trafficked. They aren’t dead.
It doesn’t mean life is easy, but life won’t be easier if ORR starts tracking them. Trust me. And trust my brilliant friends who know about this shit and have warned me and are now warning you. DONT conflate the two things.
AND because some people are obviously taking this as an opportunity to exonerate the president- NO. Trumps immigration policy is disgusting. His separation of kids and parents at the border is SICKENING. He’s a tyrant. Just don’t conflate them.
Man oh man I forget that at least 50 percent of people on twitter refuse to learn basic reading comprehension. Tonight should be fun!
] *[Also it says “alien” up there where it should say “alone”, cool, autocorrect.]
*corrected autocorrect/typo in my transcription for the sake of being less confusing, especially for anyone listening to the text rather than reading it visually.
Since I reblogged a post about this issue, here is a correction.