Bigtime badguy move.
At least 13 deficiency citations have been filed against the shelter at the former Walmart in Brownsville, which seemingly overnight became a symbol of the housing scramble after a Democratic lawmaker, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, showed up unannounced to take a tour but was turned away by police escort. Mr. Merkley’s attempt to gain entry this month, captured on Facebook Live by a member of his staff, put national attention on the shelter, which is run by a nonprofit group that contracts with a federal agency.
…The shelter, called Casa Padre, is a world all its own, much of it invisible to outsiders. The few windows are covered in black mesh; in the parking lot, yellow-painted wooden barricades read, “Keep Out.”
…The industry for sheltering young migrants had run into trouble here even before the latest boom. Hundreds of shelter workers in the Rio Grande Valley were laid off at the end of March, after several sites run on contract to the federal government by a private organization, International Educational Services, suddenly shut down. The organization, known as I.E.S., lost its federal financing and shuttered its shelters and other facilities, for reasons that federal officials have yet to publicly explain.
Since October, more than 700 migrant children have been taken from adults claiming to be their parents, including more than 100 children under age 4. U.S. officials said they were trying to protect children who may be victims of trafficking or exploitation, but migrant advocates argue it’s the latest attempt by the Trump administration to stop migrant families from seeking asylum.
A “zero tolerance” border enforcement policy that took effect last week and was announced Monday by Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions may result in families who illegally cross the border being separated after their arrest, with parents going to adult detention facilities and youths going to juvenile shelters.
…It’s difficult for migrants to assert parental rights. Many cross the border with their children’s birth certificates tucked in pockets or plastic bags. Agents often call local consulates to check families’ documents. But the documents can be faked, agents said. Even if consular staff verify them, agents may still challenge migrants’ claims to their children.
…Sometimes the adults are relatives — an aunt, grandparent or step-parent, she said.
…Maria Ramirez said the Border Patrol questioned her about her children, ages 17, 15 and 5. Agents didn’t believe she was their mother, even after she produced Honduran birth certificates, Ramirez said.
“They said they were fake,” she said. “They gave me the impression I would be deported and told me I had to sign the papers.”
Ramirez, 37, saw other parents at the processing center who were told the same thing. Unlike her, they had signed the paperwork and were deported.
Ramirez refused to sign deportation papers, insisting her children’s birth certificates were real. She and her 5-year-old son were held separately from her older daughters for five days, but were ultimately reunited.
There are three childhood disruptors that account for why the U.S. ranking is relatively low, says Miles, “One was our infant mortality rate, which is by global standards, pretty high. The second was the teen pregnancy rate, which, although it’s getting better in the United States, it’s still, again, globally quite high,” Miles says.
“And then the third was the number of children that are actually victims of homicide in the United States.”
…According to estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly a quarter of children growing up in rural America were poor in 2016, compared to slightly more than 20 percent in urban areas.
…Perhaps not surprisingly, the report found the highest concentrations of child poverty, overall, in the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia and on Native American reservations.
…Danilo Trisi, one of those authors, says the drop in child poverty was due in large part to the federal safety net programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, and the earned income tax credit help low-income families make ends meet.
And hey, why would it? It’s not like it’s DeVos’s fucking job to look after schoolchildren or anything…