Larry Hosken. Technical writer. Puzzlehunt enthusiast.
132 stories
·
4 followers

Child Separation and History: the Canadian Residental Schools

1 Share

The scenes of children being separated from their families are sadly familiar to Canadians. American readers should know about the history of child separation in Canada and its costs to both families and the Canadian nation.

First, the US policy. Dara Lind at Vox reports that

As a matter of policy, the US government is separating families who seek asylum in the US by crossing the border illegally. Dozens of parents are being split from their children each day — the children labeled “unaccompanied minors” and sent to government custody or foster care, the parents labeled criminals and sent to jail. …at least 2,700 children have been split from their parents. …at present, an average of 45 children are being taken from their parents each day.

This policy is opposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Public Health Association. This list may not be complete.

The American Bar Association criticized the putative legal justification for this policy.

It is apparent from the public comments of several high-ranking Administration officials that a primary purpose of the “zero tolerance” policy is to serve as a deterrent for migrant parents who enter the United States without authorization accompanied by their children. These statements make clear that family separation is not a collateral consequence of regular law enforcement under this policy; it is an explicitly intentional goal. Although the Supreme Court has never addressed a case involving the exact facts presented by the current practice of family separation, existing law suggests the policy violates rights to family integrity and due process.

Some have compared this to Nazi human rights abuses. I disagree. The Nazis intended to murder children and the connection to the death camps rests on a slippery slope argument. It is sufficient to point out that the policy is inhumane and that it violates human rights to harm children to deter misdemeanour offences by their parents.

There is a closer historical parallel than Nazi Germany: the treatment of indigenous children in Canada. Here is what happened (you can find links here).

Beginning in 1831, Canada began setting up boarding schools to educate indigenous children. The practice grew and became official federal policy in 1884. Education is, of course, a good idea. However, many of the schools were located far from First Nations communities. This was by design: the program was intended to ‘civilize’ the children, which was thought to require erasing their cultures: including their languages, art, clothing, customs, and religions. Erasing culture, in turn, required separating children from their families. Residential schools were established far from tribal lands to achieve this separation.

The system lasted well into the 20th century. About 150,000 children were taken from families and sent to the residential schools. Many children suffered physical and sexual abuse. The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimated that 6,000 children died, but the count may be much higher. Many families were never notified that their child had died. That the number of dead children is uncertain is itself an indicator of how the system neglected them.

What is the lesson from Canada?

Most importantly, mass separation of children from their families can be grievously harmful to those children. Unless a child is in imminent danger of abuse or neglect, don’t do it!

However, all of Canada was harmed by the residential schools. The policy greatly added to the social inequity and distrust between the colonial and indigenous communities. The practice had the intended consequence of weakening the cultures, religions, and languages of Canadian indigenous peoples, to their and our enormous loss.

Moreover, the cruel mistreatment of children damaged the legitimacy of Canadian institutions. Many of these schools were run by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, or other Christian denominations, others by universities or provincial governments. Some of this institutional harm may be reparable by the recent apologies from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, provincial premiers, church leaders (including the Pope), and a Truth and Reconciliation process. Time will tell.

What should Americans do? The most important thing is to vote.

Unfortunately, the next election is months away, a long time in a child’s life. If we cannot get these children returned to their families, we need to keep our eyes on them and record whether they are harmed. They will be treated better if the authorities know that the world is watching.

But we should not assume that the world will continue to watch. The national attention span is measured in hours, or at most days. There will be another media event soon, and our memory that children are being taken from their parents will fade. Keep watching.

@Bill_Gardner

Read the whole story
lahosken
11 hours ago
reply
San Francisco, USA
Share this story
Delete

Protesters Blast Mike Pence for “Ripping Children From Their Families”

1 Comment and 2 Shares

Outrage continues to rise around the country about the Trump administration’s forced separation of immigrant children from their parents. On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence was interrupted during a tax reform speech in Columbus, Ohio, by protesters who heckled him about the detention of migrant kids along the border: “Why are you ripping children from their families?” one shouted.

According to figures released by the Department of Homeland Security on Friday, at least 1,995 minors have been pulled from their parents over the past six weeks and are being held in detention centers as part of the Trump administration’s new “zero-tolerance policy.”

“It’s cruel!” one demonstrator yelled at Pence as he tried to thank his supporters in the crowd. The action came a day after the American Academy of Pediatrics denounced the forcible separations, saying they could cause “irreparable harm to lifelong development” of the children involved.

Many of those children—many with parents who are being criminally charged for entering the country—are being held in a former Walmart in Brownsville, Texas. On Thursday, the Trump administration announced it would create a temporary tent shelter in the state for more children.

The protest in Columbus was one of many around the country on Friday. In San Francisco, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets outside an office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

President Donald Trump has been blaming his own administration’s chosen policy on Democrats, the minority party in both chambers of Congress. “I hate the children being taken away,” he told reporters Friday at the White House. “The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law.” He continued that false claim in a tweet on Saturday morning:

There is no federal law requiring forced separations of immigrant families. 

Unlike the Obama administration, as the New York Times reports, the Trump administration “is treating all people who have crossed the border without authorization as subject to criminal prosecution, even if they tell the officer apprehending them that they are seeking asylum based on fear of returning to their home country, and whether or not they have their children in tow.”

Three top Trump officials have explicitly described why the administration has chosen to implement the policy of separating immigrant children from their parents. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen described it as “zero tolerance.” Chief of Staff John Kelly talked it up as a “tough deterrent.” And Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended it on religious grounds, backed up by press secretary Sarah Sanders, who told reporters “it is very biblical to enforce the law.”

And late Friday, the Washington Post reported that Trump himself sees the hardcore tactic as a negotiating tool toward the broader immigration policies he wants Congress to enact.

The highly controversial policy may nonetheless be ineffective. “We’ve seen no evidence that it is deterring families from entering,” Jennifer Nagda, policy director for the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights at the University of Chicago, told NPR. “The families who are coming to the US are fleeing situations of extraordinary violence. When they are leaving, they are just trying to get to safety. From our experience, the last thing any of them anticipated was having their children taken from them.”

Read the whole story
Technicalleigh
2 days ago
reply
Trump is using _children_ by the thousands as pawns in a pointless negotiation. This is evil.
SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
lahosken
2 days ago
reply
San Francisco, USA
Share this story
Delete

Point/Counterpoint: We don’t need the Coast Guard vs “OH GOD I’M SINKING! MAYDAY MAYDAY!”

1 Share
boat-sinking
The following is a Point/Counterpoint debate regarding the relevancy of the United States Coast Guard and whether or not it serves an important role in the US Government. The Point will be presented by an anti-government blogger and the Counterpoint by the same anti-government blogger in the middle of the ocean during a hurricane as […]
Read the whole story
lahosken
2 days ago
reply
San Francisco, USA
Share this story
Delete

Wodehouse

1 Share
Here's something I've been working on over the last couple of weeks. I've always wanted to do a P. G. Wodehouse graphic novel adaptation, and the only way I know of of making that happen is to actually do a few pages and see whether I can get anyone interested in publishing some more. So that's what I did.

The rights issues are a bit confusing: this particular story is in public domain in the USA, but (apparently) not in the UK, so I'm not sure if a book is even a possibility. Nevertheless, I've adapted it as a comic (originally published in 1916 in the Saturday Evening Post under the title "Leave It to Jeeves") to show what I could do with it if given the opportunity. Regardless of its eventual destination, I hope you enjoy it.
















Read the whole story
lahosken
5 days ago
reply
San Francisco, USA
Share this story
Delete

Machines that suck CO₂ from the air might be cheaper than we thought

1 Share

Enlarge / Carbon Engineering's pilot plant, which captures CO2 from the atmosphere. (credit: Stephen Hui, Pembina Institute)

When you spill a drink, you don’t say, “Oh well, the only thing we can do is spill fewer drinks in the future.” You grab a towel. So there’s also a natural attraction to the idea that we should develop a towel that can remove CO2 from the atmosphere. That isn’t as simple as grabbing one from a Home Goods store, however, and cost estimates have not fueled optimism for most methods of doing this.

Reforestation is an obvious option, but its potential impact is probably smaller than you think. Other biological schemes could include growing biofuels to burn in power plants that capture emissions and store them underground. Recently, we’ve also seen a couple of working pilot projects that look like a power plant run in reverse—they suck in air and harvest concentrated CO2, ready for storage.

One of those plants, located an hour north of Vancouver, British Columbia, is the brainchild of a company called Carbon Engineering. One of the founders of Carbon Engineering is Harvard’s David Keith, a researcher studying this and other conceivable methods of “geoengineering” our planet’s climate. This week, the Carbon Engineering team has published a nuts-and-bolts breakdown of its design, providing the first cost analysis of a working carbon capture plant.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read the whole story
lahosken
11 days ago
reply
San Francisco, USA
Share this story
Delete

How a little “working group” stopped Oakland from becoming a mini-fusion center for the Department of Homeland Security.

1 Share

How The Occupy Oakland Privacy Working Group became Oakland Privacy By Lisa Rein. This is the first of interviews with Tracy Rosenberg. (Here is the second interview with Tracy, about the Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance project.) I have been working with Tracy Rosenberg (Oakland Privacy), Dave Maass (EFF), and Daniel Rigmaiden on the Aaron […]

The post How a little “working group” stopped Oakland from becoming a mini-fusion center for the Department of Homeland Security. appeared first on Mondo 2000.

Read the whole story
lahosken
12 days ago
reply
San Francisco, USA
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories