Kenya announced last week that it will close all of its refugee camps, forcing more than 600,000 refugees to return to the violence they fled in their home countries of Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and other nearby countries. That’s terrible, but the United States is in no position to criticize Kenya. In secret memos uncovered last week, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ordered a 30-day “surge” of arrests of immigrant mothers and children to return them to the violence they fled in their home countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Continue reading
Tag Archives: children
Six years ago Congress did something right. They said that high-poverty schools could skip the individual child-by-child means testing and just feed all the kids free breakfast and lunch. That saved hundreds of thousands of dollars previously spent on processing eligibility forms, as well as thousands of hours of teacher and parent time. More importantly, when everybody can eat for free, nobody has to feel singled out as “that poor kid getting a free lunch.” Free, in-school breakfasts increase the number of kids starting the day ready to learn. Now that the program is succeeding, Republicans in Congress want to roll it back.
“Jessica is a young mom, who lived in foster care most of her teen years. She has two young children, both in diapers and is separated from the father of her children because of his drug and alcohol use. He recently went through treatment. Jessica was on maternity leave when she separated from him, and lost her job when she found herself the sole caregiver for the two young children.”
For now, Jessica relies on MFIP and SNAP — more commonly known as welfare and food stamps. Each month, she and her children get $532 in MFIP benefits and $473 in SNAP benefits, which can be used only for food. Continue reading
Twenty-some years ago, my kids tested with high lead levels. Ron and I were shocked and horrified. Before our oldest was born, we had tested the paint in the house – no lead. Tested the water – no lead. Tested for radon – no radon. Tested for every single thing we could think of, and everything came back safe. And now our children had high lead levels. Continue reading
Ana Lizet Mejia’s brother was killed by gangs in Honduras, and she fled with her son to the United States. Hers was one of a wave of Central American families seeking refuge in the United States in 2014. Now she is in detention, targeted by Obama administration’s new raid-and-deport policy, which started over New Year’s weekend with initial reports of 121 mothers and children seized. Continue reading
December 28 is the saints’ day of the Holy Innocents, an appropriate day to think about refugees today. The Gospel of Matthew tells the story: wicked King Herod wants to kill the baby Jesus. Herod tries to trick the wise men into leading him to the baby, but these foreigners escape from his surveillance and return to their own country. An angel comes to Joseph in a dream, warning of the danger to Jesus. Joseph and Mary and the baby flee the country by night, going to Egypt and staying there until Herod dies. In a rage, Herod turns to murder, killing all of the male children under the age of two in Bethlehem and the surrounding area.
Today, Central American refugee children flee gang violence, every bit as deadly as Herod’s rage. Continue reading
Almost half a million immigration cases wait to be heard in immigration courts. The number of pending cases has doubled in six years and keeps growing. Overburdened judges handle about 1,400 cases each year, far more than any other administrative judges. In each case a person, a family, a mother or father or sister or brother, waits for a day in court. Continue reading
You’re a new mom. Maybe a single mom, but even if your husband is there, you have trouble making ends meet. Who knew kids were so expensive? And who knew diapers would be the final, unbearable expense? Jessica Aragon told NBC that she “was once so desperate for diapers she considered stealing them.” That was 13 years ago, but Aragon still remembers feeling ashamed when she would have to leave her baby in a wet diaper because she didn’t have enough diapers. Continue reading
When I was in my twenties, I hung out with a bad crowd — nuns, priests, social workers, probation officers, lots of left wing activists. Newly graduated from law school, I had a job and a two-bedroom apartment, which made me feel rich for the first time in my life, and also made me easy prey for the plea to become a foster parent. Continue reading