Tuesday, August 4

Cirila Baltazar Cruz And Action Links To Help Other Mothers

Just keepin' the names Cirila Baltazar Cruz and Rubi Juana Baltazar Cruz on the radar every couple of weeks till November (the next court date that has anything to do w/ the case). You could donate/volunteer for the SPLC or MIRA, by the way, if you want to do something that won't hurt the case while that gag order's on, maybe. (Lawyers working on the case, after all, still get to talk about it to each other...)

Or, for another thing to do between now and November: volunteer and/or raise hell about these issues brought up by BFP:

i hadn’t known about the “offer” to let her be a governess to her own child. thanks for pointing that out. it makes me sick to my stomach–mothers of color are SO good at helping white women reach their full potential as mothers. they even provide a child to practice on and everything!

I also want to say, women caught up in the immigration system ALWAYS have responsibility of the children, if there are any. they are forced to do things like express milk from their breasts to prove they are breastfeeding (in front of gaurds who make mooing sounds at them), they are locked up in small cells with the children (check out hutto prison), they are silenced or kept from protesting while in jail with threats of separation from their children (which has happened–there are several cases of women being deported while the children are left in prison with no caretaker at all–and to add insult to injury, those children often are u.s. citizens who have committed NO crime at all)–there have been *several* cases of women being raped while in front of their children by prison guards in “exchange” for extra bedding or food–and it’s a small thing, but a devastating thing–mothers are often not believed when they say who the father of the child is (i.e. a husband or partner)–and children are thrown into foster care until “paternity” can be established. and none of this gets into the abysmal way *pregnant * women are treated.

All of these things–including more, are regular experiences of mothers going through immigration. I think it’s important to point out so that we don’t only support women like Cirila–but so that we also ask the right questions and support the right answers (and organizations–because trust me, not all immigration orgs are as connected to the community as MIRA is) as the U.S. begins to confront “immigration”–as Barack Obama et al have promised to do in the next year.

With respect to Ms. Baltazar Cruz's case, please keep in mind the following comments by AnonymousCoward (1,2,3):
As terrible as this situation is, contacting the presiding judge is not the appropriate course of action. Your letters, calls, faxes, and other communications will go completely unheeded, as the judge is ethically obliged to ignore them.
With that in mind, I think donating to SPLC or writing letters to the editor of the Clarion-Ledger would be more productive. Citizens of Mississippi may want to consider writing their representatives in the state legislature to encourage them to explicitly condemn the actions of CPS and pass legislation to make this action clearly illegal.
(emphasis mine)
I’d just hate to see this case get prolonged because the “foster” parents find out about the flurry of letters and raise the issue on appeal, claiming that the judge should have been recused or something.
If you want to put pressure on someone in this case to make them consider doing the right thing, you should be pressuring the parties (apparently the Department of Human Services), not the court. You’ll just annoy the clerk of court, frustrate yourself, and arm your opponent with grounds for appeal.

Here’s the contact information for DHS, obtained from Shakesville.

Children’s Justice Act Program
MS Dept. of Human Services
750 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39202
(601) 359-4499
Ex parte communications are not limited to factual matters. Ex parte communications are *not permitted* unless explicitly authorized, for things like administrative matters, emergencies (TROs, for instance), speaking with court personnel, or asking disinterested legal scholars with notice to both parties and the opportunity to respond. Notably excluded from that list is: “angry members of the general public.”

A judge isn’t permitted to discuss (including listen to) their own family on how a case should be handled; what makes you think it would be appropriate for them to factor in the opinions of the general public? I’d refer to this as a “question of justice,” but it’s not even really a question – judges interpret and apply law, not the views of the general public, no matter how outraged that public may be.

As I said before, contacting the parties, writing letters to the editor, or supporting SPLC are appropriate reactions. Attempting to sway the court proceedings via unethical direct contact with the judge won’t be effective, and might create grounds for appeal if the judge ultimately rules against the “foster” parents.

Another thing you can do between now & November, besides following AnonymousCoward's suggestions, is to help this other mother whose child the state has unjustly kept away from her.

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