Legislative Resource Collection

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Legislative Resource Collection

Purpose

The purpose of this assignment is to create a legislative media resource collection in which each student’s contribution adds to the growth and quality.

Instructions

For this assignment, you are required to add any type of legislative resource, information, or news that you deem pertinent based on class content and material. The information posted can include:

-information about city, state, national or international legislative/policy news;

-information about resources related to legislative/policy research.

There is no limit on how many resources or news media you can contribute, however, you are required to add at least one resource

Note: This assignment will be graded on the quality of the information posted. The posting is expected to be free of grammatical and spelling errors. Culturally appropriate language must be used at each step. You are expected to briefly comment of the postings of your peers.

You must also respond to two of your peers.

Peer 1 Posting:

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Rips Trump Over Child Detention Policy

Two historically conservative business lobbying groups on Tuesday slammed the Trump administration for its policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the southern border and called for the program’s immediate end.

In separate statements, both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable each plainly and directly appealed for the Trump administration to immediately cease stripping young children from their parents and to stop obstructing solutions to permanently protect the so-called “Dreamers.” They also called for the government to stop using its own inhumane treatment of immigrants as leverage to extract concessions from Congress.

“Thousands of children are being forcibly removed from their parents by our government,” Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue wrote in his statement Tuesday. “There is no other way to say it, this is not who we are and it must end now.”

Donohue said America is at its core a nation of immigrants and argued that Trump’s policy ignores that history.

“One of those values is that children should not be punished for the crimes of their parents,” he said. “Yet, today, government policy is running in direct contradiction to that value.”

Our government is forcibly separating children – including toddlers – from their parents and sending them to detention facilities as a means of sending a message and influencing Congress.

What’s more, Donohue excoriated the Trump administration for attempting to use the children it has detained to essentially blackmail Congress into surrendering on other legislative battles.

“Some administration officials reportedly view the policy of separating children from their parents as leverage to gain other immigration policy changes from Congress,” he said.

“Let that sink in for a second,” he continued, “our government is forcibly separating children – including toddlers – from their parents and sending them to detention facilities as a means of sending a message and influencing Congress.”

“Surely a nation as big, generous, and compassionate as the United States can find a way to prevent separating children from their parents at the border,” he said. “If we can’t agree on that, then we can’t agree on anything.”

While less forceful than the Chamber of Commerce’s argument, the Business Roundtable’s statement Tuesday was no less clear:

Business Roundtable urges the Administration to end immediately the policy of separating accompanied minors from their parents. This practice is cruel and contrary to American values.

Both groups also used the occasion to again highlight Trump’s failure to secure protections for “Dreamers,” the name given to those immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and who were formerly protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump himself ended ― yet puzzlingly blames Democrats for.

“These Dreamers have grown up here,” Donohue said. “They went to school with our children, they played on the same sports teams, and they graduated and found jobs. Many have served in our military. Some have started their own businesses, creating jobs for others.

“They are living the American dream. They have done nothing wrong,” he added. “Yet, without Congressional action, they will be deported, punished for the actions of those who brought them here.”

“To allow such a thing to happen would be a true injustice.”

Grenoble, R. (2018, June 19). U.S. chamber of commerce rips Trump over child detention policy. Retrieved from: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-child-separat…

Peer 2 Posting:

Texas Failing To Keep Youth in Foster Care Safe

In December 2015, a federal judge ruled that Texas was violating the rights of children in long-term care of the state by subjecting them to abuse, over medication and repeated placement moves. Nearly five years later, a damning report reveals that needed reforms aren’t taking place, and the consequences have been dire: Eleven children in the long-term care of the state died between July 31, 2019 and April 30, 2020, the special monitors found.

One of those was a 14-year-old in a residential treatment center who complained of leg pain for weeks before collapsing and dying in the middle of the night of deep vein thrombosis in her right calf that led to a pulmonary embolism. Staff waited 37 minutes to call 911, the monitors found, “because direct care staff believed they needed permission from administrators to make that call.”

Another was a 3-year-old in the care of “fictive kin” (someone close to but not biologically related to the child) who was the subject of two abuse investigations in the month before the child was killed by the partner of a caregiver. Because of confusing and erroneous reporting, the child wasn’t seen face-to-face after the second report of abuse.

A third was a suicidal teen who was discharged from a psychiatric hospital to an emergency shelter. Despite orders not to leave the 14-year-old unattended, she was left alone for 30 minutes, where she died by suicide before a staff member checked on her.

“The Monitors’ ten months of investigation, analysis, interviews and site visits lead to the conclusion that more than two years after the Court issued its Final Order, the Texas child welfare system continues to expose children in permanent managing conservatorship (“PMC”) to an unreasonable risk of serious harm,” the report states.

Marcia Lowry, the executive director of A Better Childhood, who, along with Children’s Rights and Houston-based firm Yetter Coleman, brought the class-action suit against Texas nine years ago, called the report “shocking.”

“What comes through this report is the lack of concern for the kids, frankly,” Lowry said. “I think these kids are not safe in the Texas foster care system, and the officials don’t seem to care.”

The two independent special monitors appointed by Judge Janis Jack are Kevin Ryan, the president of Covenant House, and Deborah Fowler, executive director of the nonprofit Texas Appleseed. They were brought in to help detail and monitor needed reforms.

In the report, issued June 16, these monitors found substantial threats to children’s safety. In addition to children dying due to preventable failures, the monitors repeatedly found that “harm to children is at critical times overlooked, ignored, or forgotten.”

Monitors also identified serious lapses at the front door of the state’s child protection system. The report notes that a significant number of calls to the abuse and neglect hotline (18 percent) were abandoned, and 33 percent reports of abuse or neglect were inappropriately downgraded. The investigations “were often so cursory, or so elongated and riddled with gaps, that the Monitors could not reach a conclusion regarding the result.”

When it comes to investigating harm done to children already in foster care, they noted, Texas is using a “standard for investigating … that creates a higher threshold for investigation for children in the State’s care than for other children.”

In one instance, the monitors interviewed a frightened boy at a residential treatment center who said “staff hit them and beat on them every day for no reason.” An investigation found one of the staff members there, who had hit the boy and broken his glasses, “had been investigated for abuse or neglect more than twenty times over a more than fifteen year career. …This was the seventh time just since 2016 that this perpetrator had been investigated for slapping or punching a child; all of those investigations ruled out abuse.”

The monitors also found a lack of communication between the two state agencies tasked with investigating abuse and neglect, each with its own system for tracking data, leading to “innumerable opportunities for critical information to slip through the gaps between the two databases.”

The state Department of Family and Protective Services declined to comment and referred questions to the office of Attorney General Ken Paxton. That office did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Lowry, who has been involved in more than a dozen lawsuits against states and cities for failures of their foster care systems, said the report detailed “as bad a system … as I’ve ever seen.”

“This case is about safety, this is about as basic as it gets. Are they getting hurt? They are. Are they dying? They are,” Lowry said. “Yet there’s no sense of outrage or desire to do anything about it. And that’s a concern.”

Roxanna Asgarian is a freelance journalist and can be reached at roxannafaye@gmail.com.


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