As is our wont, we depart here from our usual practice of commenting on eminent domain and land use events, to comment on what’s going on in the news about the — Oh my God! — unprecedented but wicked, wicked practice of separating children from their parents when the latter are detained after crossing the border illegally, and charged with violating laws that control entering the US. In fact, such lamentations are BS — the treatment of those illegal aliens is no different than the treatment of domestic criminal defendants and their children. See Shaila Dewan, Young Children Taken From Their Parents: It Doesn’t Just Happen to Immigrants, NY Times, 6/23/18, at p. A14.
The story roiling the country has been that when those who enter the US illegally with children are separated from them when they are arrested, that is an act of gratuitous cruelty. Particularly when the children, poor babies, are left to the tender mercies of juvenile authorities, social welfare departments and foster homes. But we haven’t seen any protesters volunteering to take those children into their own homes. The fact is, however, that in spite of the turmoil there is nothing new, unusual or cruel about it. It has always been a routine practice in criminal cases, for the simple reason that you can’t imprison young children and you can’t give incarcerated law breakers a free pass just because they have young children. In the words of Ivar Lacis, a criminal defense lawyer, in a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal of 6/23-24/18:
“It is not uncommon for criminal defendants to bring their minor children to court with them for bail hearings, revocation of bail hearings, and revocation of bail hearings. . . . ” In such situations when the defendant is denied bail and is taken into custody by definition he is separated from his children, i.e., the children do not accompany him to prison, so if someone like a family member is not present tom take charge of the kids, they are taken in by a state social service agency. And illegally entering the US, says the writer, is by definition a crime. And so, continues Lacis:
“As an attorney I don’t understand the current outrage. [In such cases] parents have been separated, are being separated, and will continue to be separated from the minor children by the criminal justice system. Why should there be an exception for noncitizens who have been arrested for the crime of illegally entering the U.S.?”
Moreover, it turns out that in order to accommodate and house the hordes of illegal aliens crossing the border, the government is preparing to build temporary housing and “tent cities” for those illegal aliens. See Philip Elliot and W.J. Hennigan, “Navy Document Shows Plan to Erect ‘Austere’ Detention Camps” in the Florida Panhandle near Mobile, Alabama, at Navy Outlying Field Wolf in Orange Beach, Alabama, and nearby Navy Outlying Field Silverhill.”
So there you have it, folks. Tens of thousands of homeless Americans — many through no fault of their own — have been reduced to living in their cars, in the streets, under bridges, and in public parks, having to fend for themselves under horrible conditions, while alien Central Americans who willfully enter the country illegally, are being accommodated with new housing built for them. That housing, it says here, may be “austere” and we have no doubt that it is, but it is one hell of a lot better than living in the street, surrounded by unsanitary trash which — believe it or not — may not be removed by court order because, say the courts, though it contains such odious stuff as garbage, dead rats and human feces, removing it would interfere with the homeless folks property rights in their stuff.
And the hypocrites who are out there screaming over the “outrage” supposedly inflicted on the illegal aliens and their children, are not being heard from when it comes to the same practice of separating adult detainees from their minor children in domestic criminal matters. Are aliens privileged? Is there an exemption from the duty to obey the law for them?
Here in California you can’t build enough housing to accommodate ordinary people, much less the homeless, and the rents for apartments are rising out of sight, but the government is building housing for illegal aliens swarming over the order in violation of immigration laws. Are these people nuts? And the same goes for the people who have created this nightmare, while professing to be sympathetic to the plight of the homeless.