U.S. Electoral Politics: May 2008 Archives

scared baby.jpg

Leslie Kaufman and Dan Frosch at the Times have a story today about the effects on young FLDS children of separation from their parents after the Texas state government raided the compound.  

As they await a ruling by the highest court in Texas on whether child-welfare authorities had the right to take 468 children from the ranch early last month, the mothers have started speaking out more forcefully about what they think the separation has already done to their children.

The mothers and their lawyers are undoubtedly trying to make their best pitch for public sympathy as the Supreme Court of Texas deliberates on the fate of their children. Last Thursday, an appeals court in Austin found that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services had illegally removed the children without sufficient evidence that they were in immediate danger.

I think the state went too far in this instance, but my purpose here is not to get into the complicated issue of weighing the best interests of the children against the individual rights of members of the community.  (Though it appears that the state of Texas has not fully considered the scarring effects of separation from parents in its calculation of the children's best interests.)

Instead, I want to focus on what the article says about the severe mental and emotional consequences of removal on small children.

Julia Preston at the New York Times reported yesterday on an alarming development in the Postville debacle:

In temporary courtrooms at a fairgrounds here, 270 illegal immigrants were sentenced this week to five months in prison for working at a meatpacking plant with false documents.

The prosecutions, which ended Friday, signal a sharp escalation in the Bush administration's crackdown on illegal workers, with prosecutors bringing tough federal criminal charges against most of the immigrants arrested in a May 12 raid. Until now, unauthorized workers have generally been detained by immigration officials for civil violations and rapidly deported.

As usual, the talking heads are up in arms over recent statements by McCain that migrants are actually human, and that the federal government needs to enact comprehensive immigration reform:

After several of the business leaders complained about the difficulty in obtaining temporary H1B visas for scientists and engineers, something the Senate immigration bill was supposed to address, Mr. McCain expressed regret the measure did not pass, calling it a personal “failure,” as well as one by the federal government.

“Senator Kennedy and I tried very hard to get immigration reform, a comprehensive plan, through the Congress of the United States,” he said. “It is a federal responsibility and because of our failure as a federal obligation, we’re seeing all these various conflicts and problems throughout our nation as different towns, cities, counties, whatever they are, implement different policies and different programs which makes things even worse and even more confusing.”