Tag Archives: Human Rights and the Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy

family separation repost VIII (“Human Rights and the Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy”)


human rights


The above downloadable Word file contains my compilation of ongoing commentary and statements, from May 2018 to February 2020, in which the Trump administrations’s policy of forced separation of immigrant children from their parents (and vice versa) was subjected to critcism as a human rights abuse.

The document is 56 pages long.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

    June 2020

family separation repost I (comments and statements by politicians, public figures, and ordinary citizens)


statements, comments

See downloadable Word document above.


I realize that my post about the Trump administration’s family separation policy and its impact upon families and the children torn from their parents is not going to get many readers. It consists of several documents covering different aspects of the policy and its tragic — indeed horrible — consequences. Most of the documents are very long and detailed.

What I have done, in essence, is produce a documentary, which is well worth reading. Rather than provide an overview of family separation under the Trump administration, I have provided a daily account of the policy as it was implemented and evolved (with terrible consequences): its implementation (at first in secret) by the Trump administration; developments as opposition to family separation mounted; individual stories of the children torn from their parents; what religious leaders and human rights officials said; the flood of anti-child separation editorials from summer 2018 on. I dug this information out of sundry sources.

Here is my compilation of statements against child separation made by politicians, public figures, religious and community leaders, and ordinary citizens in various publications and venues, ranging from the halls of Congress to student newspapers and Facebook posts.


Roger W. Smith

   July 2020

Family Separation (Trump’s Policy and Its Consequences)


Family Separation – A Daily Diary

STORIES – family separation, etc

psychological and medical damage

human rights

editorials – family separation

statements, comments

religious leaders

Lomi Kriel

Susan Ferriss, ‘The Trump administration knew migrant children would suffer’

Leila Rafei, ‘Family Separation, Two Years After Ms. L’

Trump digs in on false claim that he stopped Obama’s family separation policy – Washington Post 4-10-2019


The downloadable Word files posted here (above) comprise a chronological report and overall view from March 2017 to March 2020 of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy towards migrants crossing the southwestern border; and, specifically, the separation of parents and children that was carried out by the government as the policy was implemented, first covertly and then with public knowledge, as the means of what the administration viewed as deterrence of illegal immigration.

Innumerable hours were spent collecting this information and piecing it together. The story of family separations seems to have temporarily receded in the public consciousness. History won’t forget it though. Neither have I. It represents an indelible stain on the Trump administration and on the policy’s architects, as well as a crime against humanity that tarnishes us as a nation.

— Roger W. Smith

  April 2020



My brothers and sisters were bid off first, and one by one, while my mother, paralyzed by grief, held me by the hand. Her turn came, and she was bought by Isaac Riley of Montgomery County. Then I was offered to the assembled purchasers. My mother, half distracted with the thought of parting forever from all her children, pushed through the crowd while the bidding for me was going on, to the spot where Riley was standing.

She fell at his feet and clung to his knees, entreating him in tones that a mother only could
command to buy her baby as well as herself. … I must have been then between 5 and 6 years old. I seem to see and hear my poor weeping mother now.

— Josiah Henson, a former slave, in his autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself


The Negroes at home are quite disconsolate but this will soon blow over. They may see their children again in time.

— Thomas Chaplin, a slave owner, in 1845, quoted in Help Me to Find My People by Heather Andrea Williams


My mother then turned to [her owner] and cried, ‘Oh, master, do not take me from my child!’ Without making any reply, he gave her two or three heavy blows on the shoulders with his raw hide, snatched me from her arms, handed me to my master, and seizing her by one arm, dragged her back. … The cries of my poor parent became more and more indistinct. … The horrors of that day sank deeply into my heart.

– Charles Ball, a fugitive slave, in his The Life and Adventures of Charles Ball (1837); Ball was separated from his mother at age 4


The black family “suffers little by separation.

— Thomas R. R. Cobb in his Inquiry into the Law of Negro Slavery in the United States (1858); Cobb was an American slave owner, lawyer, author, politician, and Confederate States Army officer



Open letter to Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security:

The other night I heard you on the news say in reference to the death of Jakelin Caal Maquin that this was “a very sad example of the dangers of this journey.” Your callous disregard for the lives of the migrants massing at our southern border in hopes of entering this country prompts me to write this open letter to you.

On Sept. 6, 1620 my ancestors set out from England in a ship crammed with 102 passengers, livestock, supplies and crew and spent the next two months crossing the stormy seas living in crowded, filthy and unsanitary conditions. By the time they arrived and settled down in what would later become Plymouth, Massachusetts, only 53 of the original 102 had survived. More would die during the bitter winter and harsh conditions that awaited them. The experience and suffering of my ancestors on their perilous journey is deeply ingrained in my DNA. These ancestral memories cry out in empathy as I have watched the current wave of the migrants from Central America making their determined way north to our inhospitable borders, braving all kinds of dangers so that they might enter the promised land, the United States of America. These memories cry out in protest as I watch the way our government treats these new arrivals at the border.

Just who do you think you are? It is clear that you have no understanding of our history, why this country exists, and how that existence is justified. You have no clue about what a true American is or why people would choose to undergo danger and suffering in order to become one. Being a true American is not about gaining access to this land and then shutting the door on those who come after whom you happen not to like. Being a true American is about signing on to the unwritten mandate that requires us to work to build a more humane, more just, more loving society than what we are today and have been in the past. We are here to forward the principles of liberty, equality, and justice for all, including those who come knocking on our door asking to be let in, asking to be part of the great quest for these ideals, challenging those of us who came before to live up to them. This quest includes even or should I say especially those who were brought here against their will from Africa, but who now strive willingly to help all Americans achieve the dream.

Imagine the suffering of the Mayflower 102, the suffering of the Africans in chains in the holds of those ships, the suffering of Europeans who came later to escape famine, oppression, and death. Imagine the tribulations of the thousands who have walked here from Central America, in search of a better life, in search of the promised liberty, equality and justice that you and the people you work for are now denying them because they are “illegal.”

Were the Pilgrims “legal”? Are you saying they should not have come because they had no “legal” right to be here or because their journey was so dangerous? Of course they were “illegal.” They and those who came before and after took land that was not theirs to take and caused a great deal of suffering among the native people. Perhaps there is no justification for this “original sin.” But if there is any, it is this: that out of this original sin grew the ideals of our American constitution and the Bill of Rights. If we deny those rights and privileges to those who continue to come here and “take over our land,” then we lose all moral right to be here ourselves. Your words and actions reduce all of us and all our forebears to nothing more than land-grabbers and greedy me-firsters.

Jakelin Caal Maquin did not die on her arduous journey. She died while in your custody on American soil. How dare you put the blame on her father for attempting to further the American dream? You are not a true American, so why don’t you go back to your ancestral homeland, Denmark? True, the country is plagued with high taxes and the horrifying burden of free medical care and free university education. But at least you won’t have to face the prospects of drug-related violence, extreme poverty, and a government riddled with corruption that Jakelin’s father will face once you have repatriated him to Guatemala.

Kirstjen Nielsen, go back where you came. You are not a true American. The only true American in this sad story is Jakelin Caal Maquin. God rest her soul.

— Ella Rutledge, “True Americans don’t shut the door,” The Roanoke (VA) Times, December 26, 2018 (posted with permission of Ella Rutledge)



The following downloadable Word files (above) comprise this post:


Family Separation: A Daily Diary

by Roger W. Smith


Anecdotal: Individual Stories of Migrant Children and Parents Separated by the Trump Administration Since November 2017

by Roger W. Smith


Psychological Damage and Medical/Health Consequences of the Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy; Press Coverage and Statements by Experts

compiled by Roger W. Smith


Human Rights and the Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy

compiled by Roger W. Smith


Editorials re the Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy

compiled by Roger W. Smith


Anti-Child Separation, Abolish Ice Comments and Statements by Politicians/Public Figures and Others

compiled by Roger W. Smith


Opposition by Religious Leaders, Churches, and Religious Individuals to the Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy; News Stories and Commentary

compiled by Roger W. Smith


interview with Lomi Kriel, the Houston Chronicle reporter who broke the family separation story, The Center for Public Integrity, December 2019

“The Trump administration knew migrant children would suffer from family separations. The government ramped up the practice anyway.,” by Susan Ferriss, Center for Public Integrity, December 16, 2019


Leila Rafei, The American Civil Liberties Union, “Family Separation, Two Years After Ms. L,” February 26, 2020


“Trump digs in on false claim that he stopped Obama’s family separation policy,” By Salvador Rizzo , The Washington Post, April 10, 2019


posted by Roger W. Smith, Maspeth, NY

   April 2020; updated July 2020



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