June 21, 2018

Trump’s Cynical Ploy Disguised as Compassion
Inside Our Immigration Prison System
Merging the Labor and Education Departments is a “Solution in Search of a Problem”
Program Notes

We begin with what appears to be a cynical move by President Trump disguised as an act of compassion in reversing his policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border. The former Commissioner of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service under President Clinton, Doris Meissner, joins us to discuss how Trump’s executive order is designed to do away with the consent decree known as the Flores agreement which Doris signed in 1997 that protects immigrant children in federal detention, placing them in the least restrictive conditions for no more than 20 days with guarantees of food, water, medical treatment in facilities subject to inspection. Working on two tracks through the courts to undo the Flores agreement and via the Republican bills in the House which Trump has loaded up with money for his wall, it is unclear whether Trump will have the children join their parents in jails or the parents join their children in detention. But what is emerging is the grim prospect of indefinite detention for these families and a mendacious raid on the treasury for politically-connected contactors to build prisons and detention facilities for growing numbers escaping violence in Central America who could instead be given ankle monitors and be housed with relatives pending their appearance in immigration court.

Then we examine our immigration prison system about to be gifted with a bonanza of pork-barrel by Trump and speak with Christina Fialho, the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Freedom for Immigrants, a non-profit advocacy group seeking to abolish immigration detention. She joins us to discuss her article at The Los Angeles Times “Don’t stop with family separation. End the whole immigration prison system” and describe conditions inside the existing facilities that are about to be overrun with more detainees held for indefinite periods.

Then finally we look into plans by the Trump Administration to merge the Department of Labor with the Department of Education and speak with Seth Harris, a Distinguished Scholar at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations who served over four years as Deputy U.S. Secretary of Labor and six months as Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor. We discuss what Seth describes as a “solution in search of a problem” and Minority Chair of the Senate Education Committee Senator Patty Murray’s response that Mick Mulvaney’s plan is “unrealistic, unhelpful and futile”.

Doris Meissner | Christina Fialho | Seth Harris