Nancy Pelosi announced the official impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump on Monday.
Long story short: Trump is currently under scrutiny due to allegations made that he was working to coerce Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to find “dirt” on the son of his up coming electoral opponent, Joe Biden.
He later took to Twitter after Pelosi’s announcement to call the situation a “witch hunt,” and “presidential harassment.
Biden made a point in his own statement on the Ukraine controversy to emphasize that Congress should only launch impeachment proceedings if Trump continues to obstruct House Democrats’ investigations. In other words, if Congress asks for information, Trump is not under the authority to refuse and if he does, Biden suggested that impeachment should be initiated.
But regardless of Biden’s so-called “dirt,” reports made from viewers or visitors of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) holding facilities at the US-Mexican border have begun to pile up in the soil of Trump’s administration.
In June of this year, Americans became aware of the Trump administration’s policy, which announced, then denied, then announced again, of separating migrant children from their parents at the southern border.
As written by two journalists, “the president depends on public confusion and weariness as he implements ever more inhumane policies,” on the matter, navigating the truth is all the more critical.
Last year, the administration rolled out a new policy to shrink the availability of asylum offered to refugees. The Migrant Protection Protocols program, which is currently being challenged in court, forces asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while they await U.S. immigration court hearings. Under the program, asylum-seekers entering the U.S. are booked into custody and then returned to Mexico with a court date weeks or months in the future. According to the Washington Post, federal officials have returned 12,000 migrants to Mexico so far this year, and thousands more will be sent there shortly.
In layman’s terms: the CBP turn away migrants seeking asylum to the point of the migrants forcing themselves to cross the border illegally, to then be taken seriously in their seek of asylum by being detained. But once detained, thy are forced to stay in over-crowded and unsanitary hold facilities. To some who have seen the conditions, the facilities have been compared to concentration camps.
So when children enter the immigration enforcement system without their parents—or after they are separated from their parents—their treatment is supposed to be governed by the Flores agreement, a court agreement from 1997. The agreement requires that children be speedily moved from Department of Homeland Security custody to the care of a purportedly more suitable agency like the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). But even before the kids are placed in ORR custody, the agreement requires that they be housed in “safe and sanitary” conditions.
But since June, the children were also reportedly held for weeks in Border Patrol facilities—which were intended for adults and for very short periods of time. It was also revealed that four toddlers being held in a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas, later had to be hospitalized after a visit from their lawyers which uncovered dangerous neglect. Five toddlers died in custody since last year.
The Trump administration also ramped up immigration enforcement against individuals and families all over the United States, many of whom have lived here for years and even decades. Many have valid defences against deportation, but they are unable to assert them because they lack the resources to pay immigration counsel.
But it is a conversation over a telephone that broke the straw on the back of impeachment on Trump.