When families were separated, was any form of i.d. put around the children’s wrists or necks? I’m thinking of the plastic wrist bands you get at the doctor’s office, or some kind of dog tags like service personnel wear?
The next part of my question may not belong in GQ, but one hopes there is a factual answer: what was the plan for identifying babies and toddlers too young to identify themselves?
From CNN in June, “A government attorney admitted in court just days before the border-wide initiative was unveiled in early May that there was never a plan for parents like her to be proactively reunited with their kids.”
In other words, they had no idea how to reunite the families.
The current procedure is that all children are fingerprinted so they can be positively identified.
But this apparently was not the procedure at the beginning of the separation program so there are probably hundreds - or maybe thousands - of children who cannot be positively identified by easy means. Assuming the government eventually tries to address this issue, we’ll probably end up having to do a huge amount of DNA tests. And those cost several hundred dollars apiece.
What about the time needed? It’s not like there isn’t already a backlog of DNA tests that need to be done-assuming that all these are set aside(I can hear the screaming already), how long do you think it would take to test the kids, test the parents, then do the matching?
No, even at Auschwitz and other camps, that was only done for the inmates that were seen as strong enough to work for a while. The women & children who went straight into the gas chambers were not tattooed at all.
The camp guards saw no reason to keep records on people they didn’t expect to be around much longer. Apparently the INS under Trump thinks the same way.
Those tests people buy from 23 & Me and similar companies are not very accurate. The ones that are used in legal cases to determine parentage cost between three hundred and five hundred dollars. cite And keep in mind, you can’t test just the children. You have to test the parents as well to have something to compare the children’s DNA to.
So let’s say we have a thousand children who need to be identified. That’s two thousand tests. Call it $400 a test. There’s $800,000. It’s not going to break the federal budget but it could have easily been avoided by somebody putting ten minutes of thought into the procedure before starting it. Didn’t it occur to anyone that if you’re taking a mass of children into custody you might want to fingerprint them for later identification?
The big deal with legal cases is that the test not only has to be more accurate when extremely large sums of money or years in prison are at stake, but the tests are performed by medical professionals with legal ID safeguards (i.e. make sure Joe’s friend doesn’t pretend to be him to cheat a paternity test) plus the lab has to verify the custody of the sample to avoid mix-ups etc.
For simply finding children to match to parents, the test does not need to be so rigorous unless an ambiguity or lost child is a problem. But then, we’re still faced with another dilemma. You have 30 kids in a room / cage, about the same age and not easily told apart. You take samples. Until the tests come back, how do you match which sample to which child without some bracelet or dog tags or forearm tattoo?
Having one for an hour is one thing, but how long would the kids have to wear them for?
They’d need to be tough, washable, perfectly sized to neither be tight nor loose enough to slip off, and kids are going to actively try to pull them off, because they’re kids. It’d work for a stopgap, but not for more than a day or so.
It is mindboggling that there wasn’t some kind of plan. Fingerprints, retinal scans, even a simple photo database would be a start.
It’s a symptom of how dysfunctional and, dare I say it, evil this administration is. They were more focused on punishing the people coming across the border than being humane. This isn’t about enforcing the law, this is about treating other human beings as lesser creatures, of not needing consideration, and it is abhorrent.
If they were white citizens of the “proper” sort the identity, custody, and location of these children would have been diligently tracked from the start, but the originators of this policy don’t view “those people” as needing such consideration. Incomprehensible? No, thoughtless. And really, all too comprehensible. It’s the banality of evil.
It goes right along with the rise of anti-Hispanic attacks recently. A group has been made scapegoats. We’re sliding down the slippery slope and now is the time to dig one’s heels in and stop sliding.
The other thing is that, based on the articles I’ve read, it was a lot more expensive to jail the children separately from the parents. (Even if you accept that it’s necessary to jail asylum seekers.) So they did things in the most expensive and evil way possible.
This is veering out of GQ territory, but I can’t wrap my brain around the dozens of staff members, many if not most of them parents, just taking children away, fully aware that there was nothing in place to make it possible for those children to find their parents again. Is that what’s called “just following orders”?
It’s one name. There’s also those who actively enjoy using whatever power they have to hurt others, and those who directly don’t see “those people” (where the term includes but is not necessarily limited to the people they “process” at work) as actual people.