Trump Is Locking Up and Threatening to Deport Children Based on Mere Suspicion of Gang Affiliation

Last week, flanked by police officers in Long Island, President Trump told a crowd of supporters his administration was getting rid of immigrant “animals” who were causing gang violence in their communities. “They’re going to jails,” Trump yelled, “and then they’re going back to their country. Or they’re going back to their country, period.”

But a closer look at who the Trump administration is actually targeting shows that these so-called “animals” are sometimes children who have not even been accused of any crime. Police from Suffolk County are collaborating with the Trump administration to target immigrant children for arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement when the police are “not in a position to make a criminal arrest.” This means that kids who the police department knows it does not have the evidence to criminally prosecute are nonetheless being summarily snatched up by ICE, torn from their communities, and shipped to jail-like facilities, hundreds or thousands of miles from their family and immigration lawyers.

Children from Suffolk County report being falsely labeled a gang member for wearing clothing with a Chicago Bulls logo, for playing soccer with suspected gang members, and for displaying the flag of their home country, El Salvador. This labeling appears to be the first step in a process that results in minors being snatched and whisked away to detention.

In many ways, this is history repeating itself. Back in the 1980s, the federal government held immigrant children with no criminal background in hot, crammed jail cells in remote facilities across the country. These egregious conditions prompted a federal lawsuit, Flores v. Reno, which resulted in a 1997 consent decree that remains in effect to this day.

Despite the lessons of history, the Trump administration is once again arbitrarily jailing children.

The Flores decree established several procedural protections for children to prevent their arbitrary detention, giving them, for example, the right to know why they were being placed in highly restrictive facilities and the right to challenge that placement with the help of counsel. Congress later followed suit and passed a 2008 law requiring that immigrant children be placed in the “least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child,” and that no child be placed in highly restrictive jail-like conditions unless the minor “poses a danger to self or others or has been charged with having committed a criminal offense.”

But at least nine children from Suffolk County are being held in highly restrictive detention based solely on unconfirmed suspicions that they are affiliated with gangs. Despite the lessons of history, the Trump administration is once again arbitrarily jailing children.

In a letter last week, the New York Civil Liberties Union warned the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which has custody of immigrant children, that placing minors in highly restrictive detention without adequate cause or process violates the agency’s obligations under the Flores consent decree and federal law.

One kid’s case stands out. Hector (a pseudonym) came to the U.S. alone when he was 14. Ironically enough, he fled his home country because a gang repeatedly threatened to kill him. After he entered the U.S., ORR screened him, found he was not a safety risk, and released him to his relative in Long Island. Now 16, Hector is in school and has a girlfriend.

In April, Hector and his girlfriend were leaving high school when two Suffolk County detectives stopped them. The detectives asked Hector and his girlfriend for their ID, then jotted down their names. One detective asked Hector if he was in a gang. When Hector said no, the detective lifted his shirt to look for gang tattoos. But Hector had none. The detective then made a gang sign to see if Hector recognized it. Apparently unsatisfied, the detectives told Hector and his girlfriend to move along, and no one from Suffolk police has bothered Hector since.

They didn’t have to.

In July, ICE officials showed up at Hector’s job. They arrested him and gave him to ORR, which placed him in a facility over a thousand miles away from his home. Hector and his immigration lawyer never had the chance to contest his placement before he was shipped off. In fact, after over a week, his lawyer and his family still don’t know the facility he is being held in despite the lawyer’s repeated attempts to find out.

Recently, a social worker from ORR called Hector’s relative to say Hector is being held somewhere in Texas and that ORR officials do not think he is gang affiliated. But ORR is still holding him because the Suffolk detectives who stopped him three months ago suspect he is.

Hector is one of several examples of the “animals” that Trump and his administration are targeting for jail and deportation based on nothing more than unconfirmed suspicions.

We won’t let him get away with it.

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Anonymous

These dont look like "children" to me. They look like gangbangers that would snatch your life for the 20$ you have in your wallet. Here illegally? Out!

Anonymous

Some people talk soooo much doo doo. Do you actually know how 90 percent of gangs are created? Traveling to school and being beat up etc.because your Crap kind can't protect them. So they a group to fight a group and there's more cops tha kill innocent seniors,woman etc and you pay their salaries. Gangsters need rehabilitation their put in prision without rehab so they could hate the world come out and get retreated because the cities make 200 000 per year of one Prisioners. It's a business to pay city workers and create jobs. What if your kid was looked as a dollar bill. I know it would hurt you and you too would be upset. So wish them help not negativity you people without these issues are the worst people God has on the planet. Gangs hurt each other maybe some may go outside the line but there's more cops than gang violence against regular people. Do your homework.wish gang kids positive stuff like if your own kid was going through it and never ever say never my kid. Trust me the devil has no favorites including your kids.

Anonymous

Better safe than sorry. If these "children" were living with mobsters, they have some mob training and must go. ADIOS THUGEES!

Anonymous

Hey anonymous. Your not too educated are You? The country sends soldiers to kill innocent woman and children just so they don't grow up to be terrorist. Is this how you handle your rights on the earth. Not waiting until they do wrong to kill them. Your all garbage in my eyes. All that worship these laws and try to kill instead of help. The young kids need help all ages need help. God wasted his time creating you. Your of no help to him. Wait maybe I should educate you and be of some help. Almighty father in heaven I need you to clean the Hart of this useless grown up and make him or her a less stupid person. Amen. God bless america

Robert Graham

Stop with your lies. Those children are animals. If it were my call I'd order them to be assainated. Thumbs up to Trump for a common-sense approach.

Robert Graham

Those children are no innocent people. They are animals and the worst of the worst. Those children who have been identified as gang bangers must be brutally murdered. They have lost their right to live among us. Executing them would ensure they can never victimized anybody again.

Anonymous

I would crush you into a graham cracker and feed it to my pets.if this was a cartoon.were talking about children you pig it could be you kid in trouble. I bet your a white male brought up with hate for what does not act shit or talk like you I know some of your kind their all wife beaters too. You deserve to come across one of those kids at least the would do positive stuff shutting your evil mouth. Wishing kids death you piece of crap.why not wish God upon their soul. And not your God either he's weak. I wish God's discipline upon all of them. Why should God think of you and not think of young kids. Iiiiiddddiiiiooootttt. May holy clean your soul. Your of no use to God on this earth

Robert Oberlender

We probably need to provide babysitters for these children as they are processed for deportation. We should probably provide escorts from the other illegal aliens who appear to be non-dangerous and children friendly. Illegals might be motivated to volunteer to be a babysitter if offered expedited processing so they can quickly return to their home country. A win all around.

Anonymous

You're talking about sending illegal back to their Countries, do you mean all illegals or just Hispanics?
Because if you mean all the illegals , then how come Ice is only targeting hispanics. What about all the illegals from Europe? They don't go to the White neighborhoods and arrest the white that are here illegally. My daughter is married to an Irishman. In that neighborhood you don't see Ice arresting any Irish . And there are a lot of them living here illegally.

Roger Meurer

Come on, you actually believe they're "only targeting hispanics"? Are you really that stupid? Just had an acquaintance DEPORTED back to Germany last week, but hate mongering, race baiting, left wing media can't push their hate against Trump by reporting that. And as usual, the drones push the sewage just like they're supposed to. And of course too cowardly to identify themselves as they repeat the moronic filth they're told to!

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