The Horror Story Of “Ms. L” Exposes Trump Administration Lies.

The horror story of “Ms L” proves the Trump Administration is lying to America. Ms. L is the Plaintiff in the case Ms. L, et al v. ICE. On June 26th the United States District Court for the Southern District of California issued a nationwide injunction against separating children and directly ordered the Administration to reunite most families. You can read the decision here. The judge, Dana Sabraw, was appointed in 2003 by George W. Bush.

This Administration has repeatedly told us that what asylum seekers need to do is obey the law. They need to present themselves at a recognized port of entry and apply for asylum. If they just do that, this Administration has assured us, they will not be treated as criminals. They will not be separated from their children, because the basis for doing so is that the parents are incarcerated for criminal proceedings that require separation.

This President, and this Administration, are lying to America. All the sanctimonious promises of, “just obey the law and you will be treated well,” appear now as nothing but a deliberate, malicious child stealing trap. Here are the facts regarding Ms. L:

  • Ms. L obeyed the law and did exactly as this administration claims she is supposed to do.
  • Ms. L lawfully entered the country. With her six year old daughter she went to a designated port of entry, waited in line, turned herself in, and asked for asylum.
  • Ms. L is a Catholic from Congo whose claim seeking asylum is based on religious persecution. Her claim of religious persecution was later found credible and she was placed in proceedings to allow her to pursue her asylum claim.
  • Ms. L was never charged with any crime. She never committed any.
  • There was never a determination that Ms. L was in any way an unfit parent, or that separation was otherwise in the best interest of the child.
  • Even so, a few days after Ms. L’s legal entry into the United States, her daughter was forcibly taken from her, with the daughter “screaming and crying, pleading with guards not to take her away from her mother.
  • Ms. L’s daughter was taken to a facility in Chicago, over 1,000 miles away from her mother.
  • Ms. L was separated from her daughter for five months. During this time she was allowed six phone calls with her daughter during which the daughter was crying and scared she would never see her mother again.
  • Ms. L was finally reunited with her daughter only after filing this lawsuit. When the Government disingenuously claimed they couldn’t be sure Ms. L was the real mother the Court simply ordered saliva swab DNA testing, which confirmed parenthood within a few days. Prior to this court order your United States government made absolutely no effort to confirm its claim, based on no evidence at all, that Ms. L might not be the mother.
  • A six year child was traumatically separated from her completely law-abiding mother for five months, by our government, for no reason at all. None. This happened in America.

I’m sure some Trump Administration defenders would like to view this as merely an anecdote, a single unfortunate glitch in the system. The court found otherwise. In the words of the court, “Ms. L. is an example of this family separation practice expanding beyond its lawful reach, and she is not alone.” The court cited numerous attestations and lists of children separated from their parents after lawfully presenting themselves for asylum at designated ports of entry.

Even parents doing everything legal and right are suffering the draconian penalty of their screaming children being forcibly taken from them, traumatizing both child and mother. Contrary to the lies you have been told, this Administration makes no distinction between those who enter and seek asylum legally, and those who do not.

This is indefensible and evil. It is nothing short of government sanctioned kidnapping. Will America even care? Do you?

The case also presents the story of “Ms. C” who differs only in that she crossed illegally, between points of entry. The court accepts that the government properly prosecuted her, and she served a 25 day prison sentence for the misdemeanor conviction. Upon release, she too was found to have a credible claim for asylum, placed in proceedings for that, but was still not reunited with her son despite pleading for him. She was separated from her son for 8 months for a misdemeanor and, like Ms. L, reunited only after and because of this lawsuit.

The court also made the following findings:

1. The standard required to grant Plaintiffs’ motion was very high. The Court had to determine the government’s actions were “shocking to the conscience.” The Court found that high standard was met. The court is right. Frankly, if your conscience is not shocked by what our government is doing, you lack a worthwhile conscience.

2. Compelling evidence to the court showed both innocent parents and innocent children suffered “irreparable injury” at the hands of our government.

3. In the words of the Court: “the practice of separating these families was implemented without any effective system or procedure for (1) tracking the children after they were separated from their parents, (2) enabling communication between the parents and their children after separation, and (3) reuniting the parents and children after the parents are returned to immigration custody following completion of their criminal sentence.”

4. The court added: “This is a startling reality. The government readily keeps track of personal property of detainees in criminal and immigration proceedings. Money, important documents, and automobiles, to name a few, are routinely catalogued, stored, tracked and produced upon a detainees’ release, at all levels — state and federal, citizen and alien. Yet, the government has no system in place to keep track of, provide effective communication with, and promptly produce alien children. The unfortunate reality is that under the present system migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property.

5. In the further words of the Court: “The facts set forth before the Court portray reactive governance — responses to address a chaotic circumstance of the Government’s own making. They belie measured and ordered governance, which is central to the concept of due process enshrined in our Constitution. This is particularly so in the treatment of migrants, many of whom are asylum seekers and small children. The extraordinary remedy of classwide preliminary injunction is warranted based on the evidence before the Court.

The court ordered the government to stop separating such families, and to reunite children under 5 years old within 14 days, and children over 5 years within 30 days.

Many conservatives worry about judicial abuse, and judicial overreaching, to include the use of nationwide injunctions like this one. The valid concern here is for blatantly abusive acts, repugnant to both our Constitution, and to basic measures of what sets a civil and good society apart from a malicious and evil society. The courts must check this because our Constitution demands that they do, and because our continued existence as a nation of laws is at stake.

This concern is greatly amplified by the President’s contempt for the due process that finally reunited Ms. L with her daughter. Two days before this court decision, President Trump tweeted that in such cases due process and any review by judges should be denied.

Anyone thinking this tweet a coincidence is incredibly naive. It’s now clear why Trump said that. He doesn’t want the courts exposing to the American people what he is doing. He wants more Ms Ls, he just does not want us to know about them.

It’s that wrong. It’s that malicious. It’s just that flat out evil what this President is doing.

What other horrors is this Administration hiding and lying to us about? How can anyone ignore the finding that our government has not even attempted to track the kids it seizes? It’s almost like this Administration wants these children to get lost in the system. What would be the reason for that?

For those who have accepted this administration’s lies and allowed this to happen, shame on you. Time to face your wake up call.



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Retired lawyer & Army vet in The Villages of Florida. Lifelong: Republican (pre-Trump), Constitution buff, science nerd & dog lover. Twitter: @KeithDB80