Trump Administration’s Destructive Attacks on Latino Families

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Hilbert Morales, M.P.H., M.Sc.

For decades social scientists marveled at the strength and resilience of Latino families despite the many adversities experienced. Latina moms, in partnership with their husbands, are both committed to their kids who were loved and nurtured in a family environment enabling developments despite lack of resources, social standing, and political influence. The ideological forces of racist white supremacy, bias, bigotry, prejudice, and simple hatred resulted in marginalization which many Latinos have experienced at some point in their life’s journey. Nonetheless, the Latino family is sacrosanct; Latinos proudly belong to “mi familia” …which always is a safe haven one could relax in after being treated as ‘less-than’ or experiencing double standard frustrations. La familia is always a safe, accepting, and supportive environment where one belongs, especially their kids.

The recent U.S. Border Patrol ‘Zero-Tolerance policy’ practice of separating minor children from their parents when seeking asylum at the U.S./Mexico border is simply barbaric, inhumane, and immoral. Secretary Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Department, initiated the zero-tolerance practice of separating kids from their Latino parents. Some 2,000 minors have been separated without consideration of the mental health damage experienced by these dependent kids who are unable to fend for themselves. Just think of the added social costs incurred when child-care 24/7 is a new burden placed upon an unprepared Department of Human Services (DHS) which had no time to plan the needed facilities and acquire trained professional bilingual staff (who are prohibited by policy from picking up a child crying for his/her mother (or father). Why are these innocent kids being subjected to this torturous experience?

The result is an attack on the Latino Family which is uncivilized and authoritarian. Why was this extremely inhumane policy implemented? Two reasons come to mind: 1) Trump is creating a ‘card’ to give up in exchange for Congressional support for that WALL (which will be totally ineffective); 2) This ‘destructive attack on Latino families’ may discourage other families from attempting to migrate north to America’s asylum.

What has not been addressed directly? Elected Officials have not taken on those businesses which exploit the undocumented labor force. Native American labor built those Missions used to introduce Christianity; African-American slaves built the White House; Philippine, Chinese, and Mexican labor dug railroad tunnels; laid RR tracks; excavated wine cellars in Napa Valley; Latino miners extracted Mercury from Cinnabar in San Jose’s Almaden mines; today Trump’s hotels and golfing facilities use service workers paid very low wages. Agri-business harvests depend upon Bracero & Campesino farmworkers to plant, tend and harvest many crops (grapes; vegetables; sugar beets) and staff cattle/swine/poultry slaughter houses. Many firms employ Latinos to do the work essential to making land productive and profitable. American businesses are used to being able to exploit ethnic labor which is paid less than Anglos for the same skill set. WHY NOT SHARE THE WEALTH PRODUJCED? WHY ONLY THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN BORDER? (Which is evidence of the institutionalized double standard experienced daily). WHY NOT FOCUS UPON LEGITIMIZATION OF MIGRANT WORKERS NEEDED BY THE AMERICAN ECONOMY? (AND INVOKE A HEAD TAX TO UNDERWRITE NEEDED GOVERNMENT SERVICES?

“Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable

harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. Separating babies (and children) from their parents is not the answer; is immoral (and barbaric).”

“The U.S. Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Islamic Society of North America and the Union of Reform Judaism” (made the following statement):

“We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by GOD. The security of the family provides critical mental, physical and emotional support to the development and wellbeing of children … Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children … As we continue to serve and love our neighbor, we pray for the children and families that will suffer due to this (zero tolerance) policy and urge the Administration to stop their policy of separating families.” (Source: Dem Leader Press Office, 06.18.2018 1:44 PM)

Public policy is supposed to be made by the U.S. Congress. Since the Republican Party majority has two factions (Tea Party and Conservatives) which have not been able to negotiate a common position, no public policy decisions are being made. The Democratic Party minority in both the House and Senate are not powerful enough to enact progressive legislation. The result is a gridlocked U.S. Congress. Into this vacuum steps the Trump Administration’s Jeff Sessions who is implementing; his interpretation of existing law and regulation thereby ‘making public policy’ (with no ‘checks & balances’ influence). This perspective is not publicized by main stream media (controlled by a few corporations).

The most effective rational action to be taken by America’s registered voters this coming Tuesday, November 6, 2018 election is to vote for those candidates (preferably women) who would replace incumbents that are not doing their legislative work. It is time to flip the U.S. Congress from RED to BLUE.

Keep in mind that corporate special interests plus the Koch Coalition of Billionaires will continue to ‘buy enough Congressional votes’ to thwart the legislative process. This can be neutralized by making a small contribution directly to your district’s elected member of the House of Representatives who will ensure your modest contribution will be spent where it makes an impact on achievement of the desired future outcome: A Democratic Majority in both the Senate and the House. Now that would neutralize

President Trump who is leaning toward a form of fascism in America.

A VERY IMPORTANT ACTION TO TAKE by 06.30.2018, is to contact your local Congress member’s district office (Nancy Pelosi, Jackie Speier, Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren, Ro Khanna) to indicate your support of the following public policy recommendations: 1) H.R. 2572 ‘Protect Family Values At the Border Act’; 2) H.R.5150/S 2937 ‘The Help Separated Children Act’; 3) H.R. 2043/S 2468 ‘The Fair Day in Court for Kids Act of 2018’ … and ‘support Appropriations legislation and report language which would prevent (stop) inhumane family separation practices and which would require documented tracking of ‘who, what, where, when and why’ to establish how often family separations occur.

Just phone or email stating: “My name is….; my address is …; As a constituent I want you to know that I support legislation which ends family separations, and which provides the funds to underwrite administrative activities which create the records documenting what is happening.”

When you do that much, you will experience the influence and authority of your opinion. DEMOCRACY requires that ‘WE, THE PEOPLE’ participate to ensure that our elected officials know the power of their electorate which monitors governance. From now on, vote for those elected officials who are not beholden to ‘DARK MONEY’ (i.e., sold their vote to special interests). Support to defend ‘nuestras familias’ from any and all attacks. “Es Tiempo”.