"Border and Protection" Agents Kidnap (Detain) Three US Minors for 12 Hours at O'Hare Airport as Bait to Lure Their Undocumented Parents Into the Hands of ICE
July 19, 2019
In a chilling but fortunately ineffectual effort, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at Chicago O’Hare’s International Terminal held three US minors for twelve hours on July 18. The CBP apparently was trying to lure the undocumented parents of the children, who were born in the US, to come to the airport and be arrested by ICE.
Fortunately, migrant support groups swung into action after the mother of the children notified them of the detention. The Mexican consulate in Chicago (a sanctuary city) also interceded. In addition, progressive Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who was returning from Washington DC, heard of the incident. She made her way over from the domestic terminals to the International Terminal.
Schakowsky, an outspoken immigrant’s rights supporter, was frank in denouncing the use of the children as bait:
“I feel that it’s a kind of kidnapping of children by our government, and I am really fed up,” Schakowsky said. “They created a situation that didn’t have to be, and I am so resentful for this.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reported:
The girls — ages 13, 10 and 9 — are U.S. citizens and arrived in Chicago at 3 a.m. with an adult who had written permission from the parents to travel with the children, said Mony Ruiz-Velazco, an attorney working with the family said.
However, Border Protection officials denied entry to the girls as well as their companion, who was traveling on a tourist visa; officials said they were waiting for a parent to come get the girls.
Their parents, undocumented immigrants, had feared their children were being used as bait so that the parents could be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
After some negotiation, the girls were released at about 4 p.m into their mother’s custody after assuring she wouldn't be detained.
The action taken by CBP was a clear violation of the rights of the children as US citizens. However, this is just one of many unwarranted attacks on children that are taking place in Trump’s war on people of color (in this case brown).
Illinois Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker tweeted his disdain for the CBP’s hostage-taking, calling it using “children as pawns to advance a racist and xenophobic immigration policy.”
After negotiations with the Mexican Consulate, the mother was able to come and pick her children up with a promise that she would not be arrested or detained. The children had been traveling with an adult chaperone, with the permission of their parents. The CBP, however, said the adult, who is Mexican, was “inadmissible” to the US. That was their alleged justification for denying the children their rights to return to the US as American citizens.
Although this unjust incident was resolved, how many more such basic abuse of the rights of children of color happen everyday, even if they are US citizens? It was only because of several supportive actions that these three children were released and their undocumented mother promised “safe passage” to pick them up.
Meanwhile, the horrors of the concentration camps on the border continues as the Trump administration continues to imprison migrant adults and children in squalid conditions.