CLIENT IS PRESENT WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY

I found it, guys. I found the picture that will be on the first page of the chapter in every textbook about the Trump years in the future.

Just look at that. Don't look at it and feel sorry for the kid, necessarily, although I'm sure you do feel that way. Look at that and think about how many adults participating in this farce are able to keep in character while doing it. Kids as young as three are being obligated to appear alone in whatever they're calling these obviously illegitimate on their face pseudo-legal proceedings, conducted in a language they do not understand, and somehow everyone involved was told this was to be the case and they nodded and said "OK see ya tomorrow at 8 AM, then!"

Like, how do you do it. I know employment is a sticky web, and sooner or later we all get asked to do things we don't want to do and obviously the need to keep ourselves financially solvent prevents us from storming out in a fit of indignity. But you really have to wonder how any of the adults – the "judge", the various representatives of the government, etc. – were told to do this and didn't have some hill-to-die-on reservations. That none thought, "OK this is fucking ridiculous, too ridiculous even for someone with a high tolerance for ridiculous." That none thought, "Do I really want my name on the wall next to a picture of this in a museum exhibit in fifty years? Is this what I want my name associated with, even obliquely?"

We're all cynical enough to have lost faith in individuals' sense of shame to avert atrocities, but even still I struggle to understand how any adult could learn about this and decline to…say no. Just say, "No, I'm not doing that." Not in a big, dramatic movie scene sort of way, but a simple, "Look, I'm essentially impossible to fire as a federal employee anyway, so go ahead and try if you want. But I'm not doing this." sort of way. I know there are sick fuckers out there in the world – Stephen Miller types who legitimately enjoy the idea of making certain people suffer – but they usually do so from a position of safe detachment. They aren't the ones who actually have to show up in a courtroom and pretend that a six year-old Salvadoran runaway can represent himself in an immigration hearing.

Every time I think I finally understand the mindset of the people in that part of the political spectrum, they manage to turn it up another notch and I find myself adrift in their delusions once again.

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41 thoughts on “CLIENT IS PRESENT WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY”

  • What is your source for the image? I don't doubt it's real, but someone's gonna ask and I want to have an answer to give them. :)

  • Please let us start to claw back some remnant of our dignity this November 6th. I am so sick of being unpleasantly surprised by the American electorate. We have got to stop these people.

  • That reenactment video just hits it home. The girl saying "no se" just killed me. This image isn't "real" but check out Twitter for a ton of examples of this exact thing happening.

  • negative 1 says:

    Federal employees aren't 'exempt' from firing, by a long shot. Their unions are right-to-work, and almost no union around can save a person from being terminated if they tell their boss 'no I'm not going to do that'. It's insubordination, and it's ground for termination almost all the time.

    I say this not to be contrarian, but to point out how brave those are who will take a principled stand that costs them their jobs. It's not an easy thing to do. Not many are brave enough to do it. They deserve our respect, and honestly I respect people who will do even if sometimes I don't agree with their cause.

    I can't remember where I heard it, but someone once described the 'but I have kids and a mortgage' as the Yuppie Nuremberg Defense. It makes me laugh, but honestly as someone who has both I can understand the pressure.

  • The reason for telling your boss "no, I'm not going to do that" is super important, especially if you need your union to back you up. And public sector employees do enjoy quite a bit more security in their jobs than most people in comparable positions in the private sector.

    If you say "no, I'm not going to do that because I just don't want to" and it's in your description of work, yeah, after a few hearings, you're going to get fired.

    But if you say "no, I'm not going to do that because it violates professional ethics, standards practices, and international laws with regards to human rights" then that's going to drag things out for a very long time.

  • Land of the free and home of the brave. Ayup.
    Play along to get along little dogies, they'll be herding you someday.
    Yippee yo kai yay.

  • It sucks to be one of the "bad germans" (by going against your DFL* ) but a person of conscience would have to do so.

    * Dickhead Fascist Leader

  • Once I realized that the proper lens through which to view conservatism was domestic abuse, then read up on domestic abuse and how it works, I understood things much better.

    The whole point is to keep doing, making it worse and worse.

  • I guess everyone has been tip-toeing around this, but “I was just following orders” is not a valid legal defense. If I were in CBP right now I’d be scared shitless.

    Funnily enough, if I showed up to work drunk or embezzled money, the union would fight my case to the bitter end. Refusing job duities on the other hand…

    Lastly, every position description ends with “other duties as assigned” which legally may constitute 20% of your job.

  • Ungrateful Negro says:

    Respectfully, you only think so because you are not a lawyer, especially one who represents poor people. The reaction of any normal person is the same as yours. How could anyone be a part of a system where proceedings like this are OK? But I see old white guy judges fucking over poor people without lawyers every single week, without the slightest twinge. And I practice in California. I can't even IMAGINE what it's like in Alabama and other such places.
    And obviously I am biased towards my clients. But I don't mean screwing over to mean simply not helping them win. I mean screwing in just about every way possible knowing that the poor person without a lawyer will never appeal, will never know the right objections to make, will never understand that the judge is putting not just his thumb but his whole body on the scale for the bank/mortgage company. I shudder to think how much darker your worldview would be if you saw this stuff on the daily.

  • turbowombat says:

    Sadly, this being the first picture of the Trump chapter in our history books will be a victory (in trump-adjusted terms) because it'll mean that a) the Trump Administration will do nothing more horrible than this, b) there are still history books, and therefore c) civilization won't have completely collapsed.

  • The Trump administration/ICE is trying very hard to prevent such images from reaching the public. This scene must have repeated itself many times but there are few such pictures.

  • Illustrates one reason basic minimum income, single payer health care and tax payer funded tuition is fought against so hard, it would be inconvenient if the help walked out every time they were asked to do something morally questionable*.
    *Except concerning birth control, barefoot & pregnant!

  • CambridgeKnitter says:

    This is beyond reprehensible, whether it's a reenactment or the real thing, but I have a terrible feeling that this has been going on longer than would make any of us comfortable. I'd sure love to hear from an immigration lawyer on the subject.

  • And once again the answer is simple. On Election Day, get off your ass and go vote. And then volunteer to drive 3 other people to the polls so they can vote. If enough of us show up, we can throw the lizard people out of power (at least in Congress for now) and shut the Trump agenda down IMMEDIATELY. And then Trump can spend the remainder of his time in offices dealing with subpoenas from the House Intelligence and Oversight committees, Mueller indictment or no indictment.

  • land_planarian says:

    I mean, you get people to do this stuff by breaking it down into small chucks and redundant systems of horror.

    Judge or court staff refuse to hold show trials for children? Well too bad then, they'll just have to languish in toddler prison indefinitely.

    Someone who took a job working in a kids' prison camp suddenly realizes they've gone too far, what are they gonna do? Sneak a bunch of kids out past the other guards? And take them where, exactly? Their parents are also imprisoned, and the Trump administration didn't really bother keeping records of where, or what's happened to them since.

    And there are people who've quit, who've found the nearest reporter to leak to, probably a few who're sneaking kids some extra food or letting them hug their siblings when no one's looking.

    We're going to need a lot more people to decide they're not willing to do their part even if someone else will, or even at the risk someone higher up has arranged for kids to be tied to the other track of the trolley. And we need people who're not directly involved to raise hell. But it's not as though our immigration agencies are new to creating human suffering; they've had plenty of time to work out the kinks.

  • You can say no. If you explicitly take a stand on principle, and do it respectfully but firmly, there is a pretty good chance that you might get away with it. There is the fear that you will fight termination, that your reasons will go public, that the bad-looking thing which you are resisting will indeed look bad. You might be reassigned to some less "sensitive" duties or otherwise become insulated from the problematic situation, but, bottom line, it is possible to behave like an honorable human being without necessarily being thrown in the gutter. We should not let cheap cynicism blind us to the fact that most people working for government are decent and respect decency.

  • Yes, I wonder how the judges can go through with this farce, but Ungrateful Negro reminds me of just what does go on daily in courtrooms around the nation. So, yeah, probably the judges don't even think twice about it. It's very sad.

  • Safety Man! " If I were in CBP right now I’d be scared shitless."

    Has anybody see any evidence that *anybody* in CBP is not on board with this? Right now my working assumption is that everybody in CBP either joined to do this and worse, or was converted; the rest aren't part of CBP.

  • I'm in the hospital, after an emergency appendectomy with some serious perotonitis–it will be a difficult week.

    I'll keep you apprised as able.

  • @ demmo

    Feel better man, and don’t die.

    @ CambridgeKnitter

    During the Obama years, an agency I worked for owned an old WW2 era military base. They were asked specifically about housing migrant children there. So, yes.

  • I'd assume many of those involved just don't think this is ever going to come back to haunt them – maybe some of them just aren't thinking further out than their plans for the weekend, but someone would have to be stunningly oblivious to manage that.

    This nonsense is ugly enough I suspect many of those involved will find it harder to get clear of than they expect, but we'll just have to see what forms that takes. People who aren't stupidly vicious often find that doing stupidly vicious things takes its toll on them, even if that's what they're "supposed" to be doing. Less abstractly, this seem like the kind of mess that's going to need explanations and scapegoats before long, and it looks like there won't be any shortage of people setting themselves up to be left holding that particular bag.

  • Give that photographer a Pulitzer.

    Wonder if he had to smuggle in the camera. Or maybe it's a cell phone, used and quickly tucked away. "We'll have to confiscate your camera, sir. We can't permit a photograph of the defendent, for the child's own safety." Easy to imagine such self-protective doubletalk.

    I any case don't wait for the Trump historical record. The midterms will be a fine time to spread it around.

  • To stop this, the laws need to be changed. Crossing the border illegally is only a misdemeanor. You are only entitled to a court appointed lawyer in a felony trial. I'm not a lawyer, I got this information from other articles on the same subject. Everyone is following legal guidelines and some are doing more than required to help these kids. Do a little research before blindly condemning everyone involved.

  • As you damn well know by now, this is "fake", from a reenactment video, and the practice of separating kids did not start with Trump.

  • Off topic, but did it strike any of you as funny that Trump seems opposed to saying nice things about breastfeeding? Since when did "Herr Drumph!" ever say no to tit?

  • @ Al, Jack*, and Huntley –hey, it's the three bigoted mice!

    Guys. Go. FUCK YOURSELVES.

    Ummmkay? Expeshly Huntley.

    * Nice! Good, old, Bill Cullen, "Price is Right" publicity still? Nah, prolly not he seems to have been a decent guy.

  • They say immigrants from the South can't assimilate because they're uneducated and don't speak English, and yet 4-year-olds are perfectly capable of being their own lawyer in an American immigration court! I'd like to say a nativeborn 4-year-old do that!

  • So because the photo is from a scenic recreation and not actually spattered with the tears of a child in torment we should ignore it.

    I don't think so.

    It is unfortunate that discussion of Ed's post could get hijacked and dismissed by the photo. The harm done to these kids and their parents is real, the Jeff Sessions spooge of legality slathered over acts of sadistic evil doesn't make them less racist or less barbaric or the so-called judges and assorted goons perpetrating these crimes any less contemptible.

    The monsters in our midst who'd reject the argument that it is rank evil for Trump's minions to be abusing children and families seeking asylum at our borders because the authenticity of a photo can be quibbled over are not going to be moved to oppose Trump once someone sneaks 'authentic' photos out of the proceedings. These people are monsters who call these crimes 'justice', they voted for this shit, they endorsed this depravity.

    I don't know if they will ever be brought to account for what they've done. Trump, Sessions, The blood-drenched judges, the sadists in uniform, and the Trump voters who parrot hate radio and Fox News messages of 'they're just brown kids, so fuck-em'.

    I don't see how the rest of us can bring them to 'justice' without the complete destruction of Tump and the GOP. Followed by purges of RWNJs from the judicial roles and the dissolution of offending agencies, and the firing, pension stripping, and blackballing of every uninformed goon that perpetrated this awfulness.

    I am not so sure that can happen, but it should.,

    @Demo – I hope you are feeling much better.

  • @ BLOZAR:

    I am feeling 148/80ish, 62 bpmish–far better than dead, going only by the lack of response from those persons surveyed who have gone over.

    Everything you say, written in fire, fanned to conflagration by the gales of wheezing guffaws of old bastards like me; a conflagration which must needs be extinguised with the urine of decent human beings. I hereby volunteer to contribute to a stockpile of product to that end.

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