We're Making Undocumented People Straight Up Wear Yellow Bracelets Now

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Another day, another nauseating peek into the hellish, unfeeling bureaucracy our country has created for undocumented parents and their children.


The latest glimpse comes from a story in the Arizona Daily Star, which reported on Thursday about Operation Streamline, a fast-track program to prosecute undocumented people for crossing the border.

The report includes this heart-wrenching scene (emphasis mine):

Alma Jacinto covered her eyes with her hands as tears streamed down her cheeks.

The 36-year-old from Guatemala was led out of the federal courtroom without an answer to the question that brought her to tears: When would she see her boys again?

Jacinto wore a yellow bracelet on her left wrist, which defense lawyers said identifies parents who are arrested with their children and prosecuted in Operation Streamline, a fast-track program for illegal border crossers.

Yes, that’s right: Not only are we ripping families apart for the unthinkable crime of crossing the border, immigration officials are also apparently making parents wear yellow insignia to denote their status. They couldn’t even pick another color!

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office told the Star that Customs and Border Protection started referring families caught crossing the border for prosecution weeks ago, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a directive for prosecutors to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy. In real terms, that means a lot of kids being separated from their parents:

On Thursday, Efrain Chun Carlos, also from Guatemala, received more information than Jacinto when he asked Magistrate Judge Lynnette C. Kimmins about his child during Streamline proceedings.

“I only wanted to ask about the whereabouts of my child in this country,” Chun said.

Kimmins responded she didn’t know where his child was and suggested he ask officials at the facility where he will be detained.

While their parents are being prosecuted, children are deemed unaccompanied minors, an innocuous term that President Trump is nevertheless doing his best to turn into something menacing. Many of these children are then put into foster care—“or whatever,” as White House Chief of Staff John Kelly infamously put it—where, the government has admitted, hundreds of them simply fall through the cracks and disappear.

We’re going to be hearing a lot more about combatting the terror of MS-13 as the Trump administration tries to expand and make this process even more efficiently brutal. But this—separating desperate parents from their children—is really what it’s all about.

Managing Editor, Splinter