While Rachel Maddow, MSNBC host, cried during her broadcast on Wednesday overcome with emotion about child separation at America’s southern border, I have not been afforded the indulgence of grieving for other mothers’ children. I wish I had this luxury. I really do. How comforting it would be to cry for other children, knowing my daughter was safe with me.
During this media frenzy of stimulated outrage about US immigration’s long-standing practice of separating children from adults who may or may not be their parents during illegal border crossings, I’ve had dry eyes and crippling heart pain as I struggle to suppress memories of my two-year-old daughter screaming as she was separated from me. Unlike Hollywood stars, journalists and other personalities flooding social media in distress, I know what it feels like to be a mother whose child is taken. The sound of a young girl frantically crying in terror, arms outstretched, reaching for her mother has been almost my entire experience as a mother.
Family courts and child protection services (CPS) have been illegally taking children from good parents on false pretences for generations. Native Americans, African Americans, poor whites in rural areas like Appalachia and Maine, disabled children, children of legal immigrants, etc. Where there are vulnerable children, from asylum-seekers to welfare-recipients, children have been targeted by US government for separation from their parents.
For two years I was forced by the State of Maine to traffic my daughter for weekends with her father after he was confirmed for raping her and then she was taken from me entirely when she was four years old. A notoriously corrupt judge ignored testimony from medical examiners who explained, in detail, my daughter had been sexually abused by her father and should be protected from unsupervised contact with him. This judge defied Maine’s top forensic doctor and ordered me to drive my daughter, three hours each way, to her father every weekend. Prior to being confirmed for sex abuse, her father had been on supervised visits ordered by a female judge concerned about my daughter’s safety given her father’s police record of domestic assault against me. The female judge was removed from the case and replaced, in illegal case-rigging, by a male judge known as Maine’s worst judge.
The first time I took my daughter to her father I had to lie. My little girl was in her car seat in the back seat, crying hysterically, having trouble breathing from the air her sobs were stealing, screaming no, no, no, she didn’t want to be with her father. He was hurting her. I pulled off the highway and reassured her we were going home. She didn’t have to go to her father and pretended we were driving home. She fell asleep. Two hours later I gave her to her father. That was only the beginning. There were many excruciating drives in the dark, in the snow and in the rain, while my two-, then three- and four-year-old daughter cried, begging me to stop the car and hold her. “Carry me, Mama. Carry me.” Over and over. I would drive with one hand on the wheel and the other hand behind my back, holding her small hand while she sobbed.
The hysteria in America this week about children being separated (potentially) from their parents has been particularly painful because the liberal/progressive community—with which I have always identified—now howling, never once extended a hand, much less a tear, for my daughter. Women and children’s organisations, politicians, journalists, government employees, lawyers, etc., everyone I could think of I’ve begged for help. For nearly a decade. I have sat outside the Inspector General for Health and Human Services office reading a book, waiting patiently for days, until someone was willing to even meet with me. I have walked the halls of Congress handing out information about my daughter’s case. I have filed every possible piece of paper with every oversight mechanism that exists.
No one cared. No one helped. People rarely even expressed empathy for me or my daughter. Quite the opposite. People have been cold, cruel, unkind and uncaring. Many of those weeping over children at the border know me and what happened to my daughter. Since it wasn’t politically advantageous for them to care, no tears were shed for my child.
My daughter will turn 12 this year. She has had no contact with her mother since she was four. She does not know where I am or why I am not taking care of her, loving her, protecting her. In five years she will be 17 years old. The college fund I had set aside before she was born is gone. I have been unemployed for five years now, after her father and his lawyer targeted my job as a professor and stalked and harassed me on campus until the university illegally terminated me for being “unable to keep my personal life off campus”. Before my daughter was trafficked, she was a child who had a professional mother, respected in her field, earning a good salary, owning her own home with savings, retirement and health insurance in place. All of that is gone. Taken from me and my daughter by an organised group in Maine engaged in extremely profitable racketeering by trafficking vulnerable children.
Across the country, lawyers, judges and child protection employees are putting children in the sole custody of fathers confirmed for abuse of their own children. This is common. My daughter is far from the only case. Patricia Mitchell, of Patricia’s Children, explains how family courts have become criminal enterprises in her Huffington Post articles. Family courts and child protective services are secure-supply lines for paedophiles to obtain control over, and unfettered access to, children. They are trafficking children. But no one has cared.
What makes this week’s liberal outpouring of tears even more painful is that my daughter’s father is a criminal alien. He has been protected while my daughter and I, law-abiding US citizens, have been destroyed. He obtained a green card and citizenship by defrauding the US government and was scheduled to be detained for deportation for crimes he committed. Someone at Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) criminally protected him and someone at Citizens and Immigration Service (CIS) unlawfully provided citizenship.
In addition to understanding, at an intimate level, how contaminated child protection and family courts are, I have also had a painful education in our shattered immigration system. For example, nearly half of all Citizen and Immigration (CIS) employees, about 10,000, are contract staff, subject to almost no oversight. They can, and do, get away with many crimes. The New York Times reported, in 2017, that CIS investigators have “repeatedly warned top managers that unaddressed allegations of corruption among contractors” could put the entire immigration system at risk. Then there is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In 2010, the ICE union, of nearly 7,000 employees, issued a scathing vote of no confidence in President Obama’s ICE director John Morton detailing a culture of incompetence almost beyond belief.
Chris Crane, ICE union leader, spoke out so many times about the corruption and incompetence within ICE that The New York Times reported “Obama administration officials become exasperated at the mere mention of his name”. Of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), even America’s most quintessential liberal organisation, the ACLU, affirms “Border Patrol Was Monstrous Under Obama”. Not surprisingly, a staggering amount of these immigration employees have been arrested on child sex crimes, detailed in my book Epidemic: America’s Trade in Child Rape.
I spent the entire Obama presidency trying to get someone’s attention focused on the crimes committed against my daughter and I, by a criminal alien and government employees. No one was crying for the children at the border then and no one cared about my daughter either. President Donald Trump’s immigration policy and Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions decision to fix a broken immigration and citizenship system gives me hope, for the first time in nearly a decade, that I may see my daughter again.
The Trump Administration has declared a new focus on citizenship fraud. People who lied to illegally obtain citizenship will be, the administration vows, investigated, stripped of their citizenship and potentially criminally charged. AG Session has renewed a focus on child sexual exploitation announcing 2,300 recent arrests and saying “no child should ever have to endure sexual abuse…this department will remain relentless in hunting down those who victimise our children”. Finally, Sessions is “exerting unprecedented control over immigration courts—by ruling on cases himself.” I hope my daughter’s case may be one he personally selects.
Our immigration and child protection services were defective long before President Trump took office. Children are being taken and abused—in mind-numbing numbers in America by the very people paid by our tax money to protect them. Children like my daughter.
Yet no one has cared. Until now. But now the focus is only on asylum-seekers. To those tearful about child separation at the border, I ask what about my daughter? Doesn’t she count?
Perhaps the Trump Administration will think she does.
Dr Lori Handrahan has been a humanitarian and academic for over twenty-years. Her Ph.D. is from The London School of Economics. She may be contacted on her website: www.LoriHandrahan.com