Very useful piece by Dara Lind:
At any given time, for the past several weeks, more than 2,000 children have been held in the custody of US Border Patrol without their parents. Legally, they’re not supposed to be held by border agents for more than 72 hours before being sent to the Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for finding their nearest relative in the US to house them while their immigration cases are adjudicated.
In practice, they’re being held for days, sometimes weeks, in facilities without enough food or toothbrushes — going days without showering, overcrowded and undercared for.
Late last week, the conditions of that detention in one facility in Clint, Texas, became public when investigators, checking on the US government’s obligations under the Flores agreement (which governs the care of immigrant children in US custody), were so horrified by what they saw that they turned into public whistleblowers.
The stories they told have horrified much of America. The past several days have seen growing outrage, and the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (which oversees CBP) announced his resignation Tuesday (though officials maintain the outrage didn’t cause the resignation).
But the problem goes beyond one official — or one facility.
Read the whole etc. And let’s be clear that the collaborators responsible have choices:
The purpose of the quote, from the commissioner’s point of view, was to establish that the Border Patrol has no choice about this. There are too many migrants for the existing system, at existing funding levels, to detain the children in safe, uncrowded conditions.
What Sanders was describing, however, was a choice. If the law requires the Border Patrol to detain migrants in safe and clean conditions, and if it is impossible to provide safe and clean conditions with current funding and current facilities, then the Border Patrol can let the migrants go.
The law that says the migrants must be detained is no more binding than the law that says people must be kept in humane conditions. The question is which part of the law the Border Patrol will ignore: the part of the law that is killing children, or the part of the law that would allow the children to live.