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Obama’s Illegal Child Jails

The Obama administration is operating illegal jails in New Mexico and Texas that put the lives of children at risk of serious illness, injury, or death.

The reasoning is simple: the new jails opened in Artesia, New Mexico and Karnes City, Texas  violate important child care regulations by exposing children to an extraordinary risk of becoming seriously ill.

In Texas, a Child Day Care Center cannot admit a child to its care if the child has a temperature above 101 degrees which is accompanied by behavior changes or other signs or symptoms of illness. Day care operators also cannot admit a child if they show signs of severe illness such as lethargy, abnormal breathing, uncontrolled diarrhea, two or more vomiting episodes in 24 hours…or other signs that the child may be severely ill.

In New Mexico, the rules are virtually the same.

Yet in Karnes City, Texas and  Artesia, New Mexico, sick children sleep in the same room as healthy children. The kids share the same space and cannot be sent home to prevent systemic outbreaks of viral and bacterial infections.

It is no wonder that my 17-month old Client, Mateo, had a high fever for 17 straight days in Artesia, New Mexico, resulting in his hospitalization to be treated for pneumonia. After only 2 and a half days in the hospital, Mateo was returned to Artesia, where he became sick again with a high fever for 13 days straight.

There have been sporadic reports regarding the fact that the child jails are not licensed by the States of New Mexico and Texas. This was not an oversight, it was intentional. The Obama administration cannot operate jails for young children and babies without running afoul of important regulations regarding the care of children.

In a detention environment, it would be impossible to effectively insulate the sick from healthy children given that everyone is locked up in the same facility and that children must be given room to play.

As a result, the lives of children and babies are being put at grave risk, Forget policy. This is illegal and must be stopped.

A 4-year-old Victim of Torture in Artesia Jail

I close my eyes and see a little girl, only 4 years old, crying hysterically.

A man, with fury in his eyes,  approaches her and places a hot clothing iron on her hand.

The girl screams and screams and screams.

The man then shoves the girl with such force that her head hits a table, knocking her unconscious for a long time.

Her mother, quietly sobbing, holds her daughter tight but is powerless to protect her from her own father. 

I open my eyes and realize that this little girl, a survivor of torture, has been in jail in Artesia, New Mexico for more than 2 months.

This girl and her mother, also a victim of brutal abuse over several years, were days from being deported back to the place they fled just months ago.

Fortunately, we have temporarily stopped the girl and her mother from being deported to certain harm and possible death.

But how many other little girls and boys will not be lucky. How many will be sent back to torture, to a living hell?


Despite irrefutable evidence that most women, children, and babies jailed in Artesia and Karnes are eligible for asylum, the Obama administration is moving forward with plans to open a massive  (2400 beds) child and baby detention center in Texas.

Who jails babies eligible for asylum or even protection under the convention against torture?

We do.

The Obama administration’s capacity for committing horrible acts in the name of perceived political goals is breathtaking and must be stopped.

For starters, we should insist that the Barack Obama and Jeh Johnson be charged with child abuse and neglect crimes, which they continue to commit with complete impunity.

Watch our 15 year old Guatemalan client defend refugee children on MSNBC

On Tuesday, 3 of our unaccompanied children clients–Dulce Medina, Mayeli Hernandez, and Saul Ortiz– testified about their stories in front of Congress.

We brought the kids to Washington D.C. because we wanted to show  Congress and the rest of the world what we see every day: children fleeing harm who are in desperate need of protection.

Today, Dulce spoke on the Jose Diaz-Balart show on MSNBC to share her story to more Americans. Her and our message is clear: no child should be sent back to a war zone.

Watch 3 of Our Unaccompanied Children Clients Testify Before Congress

Below are the details on when 3 of our unaccompanied children clients will testify before Congress on why they fled their native countries, how they were subjected to unconscionable conditions in the custody of DHS, and why they cannot return.

Additionally, the video below is of Mayeli, one of the children who will testify at the hearing.



July 24, 2014

Press Contacts:

Dan Lindner (Grijalva) – (202) 225-2435

Mike Casca (Ellison) – (202) 225-4755

 Congressional Progressive Caucus Ad-Hoc Hearing

Kids First: Examining the Southern Border Humanitarian Crisis


WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, July 29th at 2:00 PM, the Congressional Progressive Caucus will hold an Ad Hoc Hearing in 2322 RHOB to receive first-hand testimony from unaccompanied minors and expert witnesses stressing the importance of prioritizing the best interests of these children.


The United States and the international community has long recognized the unique needs of children seeking asylum. As an extremely vulnerable population, unaccompanied migrant children need special care and protection. Abrogation or repeal of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, including the protections to children arriving from non-contiguous countries, will do nothing to alleviate the situation and could place children in harm’s way.




Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)

Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN)

Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA)

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-MD)

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO)


Panel 1: Children in Crisis:

12 year old child from Honduras

15 year old child from Guatemala

15 year old child from El Salvador


Panel 2: Experts Addressing the Crisis

Jessica Jones, Children and Youth Policy Advocate, Lutheran Immigration Refugee Services

Adriana Beltrán, Senior Associate for Citizen Security, Washington Office of Latin America

Megan McKenna, Communications & Advocacy Director, Kids in Need of Defense



Congressional Progressive Caucus Ad Hoc Hearing

Kids First: Examining the Southern Border Humanitarian Crisis



Tuesday, July 29th

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM



2322 Rayburn House Office Building



Dear KIND: No Child Should Be Deported to a War Zone

No child fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras should be deported back to a war zone.

Yet many claim that the only children that should be able to stay in the United States are those that qualify for legal protections. The latter position is unacceptable because it puts the lives of children at risk.

Even if a child has not been harmed or threatened in the past, there is a significant possibility that that child will be harmed upon deportation given that universally violent conditions that are present throughout the countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

Kids In Need of Defense (“KIND”) is a non-profit organization that has helped thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America remain in the United States. Their work is necessary and we have great respect for what they do.

However, we must strongly condemn a recent statement that KIND made through social media:

While many unaccompanied children have viable claims for U.S. protection, KIND recognizes that a number of others do not, and that they must return to their home countries.

KIND helps ensure that unaccompanied children are returned safely to Guatemala and that they have access to vital services upon their return.

We cannot return children back to war zones, even if they do not qualify for legal protection in the United States. We must be honest.

Children cannot be returned safely back to places where there is no government to protect them.

As attorneys that represent over 150 unaccompanied children from Central America, we know that a significant number will not ultimately qualify for asylum under U.S. law. We would never tell our children clients to return to Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador, even if the child was denied legal protection in the United States. Why?

Because their home countries are extraordinarily dangerous. Children are routinely gunned down, tortured, raped, or enslaved in territories run by sadistic maniacs. The governments of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador do not exist. Chaos reigns.

KIND should continue its great work and defend all children from harm. This means that no children from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador should be deported.


Obama: “I will lie about U.S. Law to harm the lives of refugee children.”

The Obama administration is lying to children and their families to prevent them from saving their own lives.

In a post titled “CBP Addresses Humanitarian Challenges of Unaccompanied Child Migrants” CBP writes two unequivocal lies:

The message from the U.S. government on immigration is clear—if you cross illegally into the U.S.:

  • you cannot earn a path to citizenship;

  • you are not eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA;

  • you will not get papers that allow you to stay; and

  • you are putting yourself, or your child, in danger.


If a child fits the definition of a refugee under U.S. law, a child will be eligible to obtain asylum. A person with asylum is given papers and is allowed to stay in the United States indefinitely. A person granted asylum is also eligible to obtain a green card and therefore earns a path to citizenship.

If a child was abandoned, abused, or neglected by one or both parents, he or she is likely eligible for a green card as a special immigrant juvenile (“SIJ.”) A child granted SIJ is given papers and earns a path to citizenship.

Asylum and SIJ are designed to protect vulnerable children from being harmed in their native countries. Asylum is available for children and adults. SIJ is only available for children under the age of 21.

Many children who cross into the United States illegally obtain their green cards through asylum or SIJ.

The Obama administration is intentionally lying to refugee children by telling them that they are not eligible for protection under U.S. Law. Many are.

In fact, up to 80 % of the over 100 unaccompanied Central American children clients that we currently represent are eligible to remain in the United States permanently as refugees or as special immigrant juveniles.

Obama’s message is clear: He doesn’t care what happens to children in Central America. He will even lie to you about United States law to show how much he does not care.

Was your child raped? He doesn’t care.

Was your child tortured? He doesn’t care

Was your child’s life threatened by armed groups more powerful than the police? He doesn’t care.

If you believe your child’s life or well-being is at risk by remaining in your country, you should try to do whatever is possible to save your child’s life.

Do not listen the U.S. government. The Obama administration does not care about the welfare of your child.

In fact,  the Obama administration is trying  to harm your child. He wants to detain children in horrid conditions for weeks or months. He wants to speed up your child’s deportation so that they are not even given a chance to beg for their lives before an immigration or family court judge.

We believe you should bring your child to the United States if you believe his or her life is at risk.

Instead of trapping children in dangerous environments in their native countries, we should open up legal channels for Central American Refugee Children to come to the United States.

Telling children to remain in a place where they could be killed or harmed is nothing short of evil.



Mainstream Media: Brown Children as Carriers of Disease

The Blaze first reported one June 24 that ” A young illegal immigrant child from Central America was diagnosed with swine flu Friday after crossing the Texas-Mexico border…”

To the Blaze’s credit, they later noted that the H1N1 virus experiencing an uptick this year.

However, the conclusion to be drawn from this article–that immigrant children are carrying diseases from their native countries into the United States–is completely unfounded. 1 or 2 out of approximately 50,000 children coming down with the “predominant” strain of flu present in the U.S. in 2014 is not news.

It is fear mongering.

Indeed, the child may have contracted the H1N1 virus after he or she entered the United States.

Thus far in the 2013-14 Flu Season, the CDC has confirmed 28,357 cases of the H1N1 virus in the United States. That means that more than 28 thousand individuals had already contracted the H1N1 before the one or two immigrant children did.

Ruben Navarrette followed up on the Blaze’s report with an article to add to the dehumanization of immigrant children by falsely claiming that:

Now H1N1 may be back. It has been delivered into our air supply by unsuspecting pint-sized carriers who have endured a lot of pain, sacrifice and suffering to get here and whose fate is still unclear.

No, H1N1 has not been delivered into our air supply by children from Central America. In fact, the prevalence rate of confirmed cases of H1N1 viruses compared to the whole U.S. population of 313.9 million is higher than the rate of unaccompanied children who have entered the U.S. so far in this fiscal year.

At most,  2 out of 50,000 unaccompanied children  have been infected with H1N1, which equates to a 0.003 % prevalence rate.  When compared to the population at large in the U.S., the  prevalence rate of individuals infected with H1N1  is significantly higher at 0.009 %.

There is zero evidence that children from Central America are bringing in communicable diseases into the United States. One cannot bring something to the United States that is already here.

Stop demonizing children. One or two kids came down with the Flu. That is not news. That is fear mongering.


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