Select It Sunday: Isabella Miller-Jenkins

This week’s Select It Sunday case was chosen by Maddie C (she emailed, coincidentally, a few days before I received my most recent loony email): Isabella Ruth Miller-Jenkins, a seven-year-old who was abducted by her mother, Lisa Ann Miller, from Bedford, Virginia back in 2010. Lisa took her south; I think they were last known to be in Nicaragua. Isabella would now be fourteen.

This is a very high-profile family abduction case, mostly because Isabella’s parents are both women and Lisa is an ex-gay, right-wing Christian whose cause other right-wing Christian people have embraced — to the extent that several of them faced charges for helping her.

Lisa and Isabella’s other mother, Janet Jenkins, had split up amicably and Isabella lived with Lisa and had visitation Janet, but after Lisa joined Jerry Falwell‘s church, she decided homosexuality was sinful and wouldn’t let Isabella see Janet anymore because she didn’t want to expose her to that way of life. Several years of legal wrangling later, a family court judge transferred custody to Janet because he thought this was the only way Isabella could maintain a relationship with both mothers. In response, Lisa took her.

I am very much an LGBT ally, but even if I wasn’t, this case is really no different than any other family abduction case. You’ve got one parent who refused to let their ex see the child, alienated the child against her ex, made false accusations of abuse by the ex, and decided she was above the law and didn’t have to obey court rulings. This started long before the abduction, when the judge tried to enforce the visitation schedule by fining Lisa $25 for every day she wouldn’t allow Isabella to see Janet. Lisa racked up thousands in fines.

And to top it off, when they left Virginia, Lisa left Isabella’s pet hamsters behind at home to die a slow, horrible death of dehydration and thirst. Because, you see, if she asked anyone to look after them, that might tip the authorities off that they were going on the run. So she’s an animal abuser as well as a child abuser. Parental abduction is demonstrably child abuse, and Lisa is using religion as a shield for her crimes.

Not cool, Lisa. Not cool at all.

And now Isabella is probably living in pretty miserable conditions. El Salvador, one country where she and Lisa might be living, is an incredibly violent place and is considered the murder capital of the world. Although Nicaragua is safer by comparison, that’s not saying much, and Nicaragua is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, after Haiti. If Isabella is like most victims of family abduction — even those who aren’t living in third world countries — she is not receiving adequate education or health care. And of course she’s been completely cut off from the other side of her family, who love her. Lisa has, so far, stolen six and a half years of her life.

This is all pretty standard, alas, for family abductions. I cannot begin to explain how much parental kidnappers, and those that support them, disgust me.

Make-a-List Monday: Central American MPs

Missing persons who are native to a Central American country — as defined between Guatemala and Panama.

Costa Rica
Nobody (though there are several who are thought to be there, or planned to travel there, or had been there before they went missing)

El Salvador
Sandra Yaneth Aguilar-Granados (I think)
Oscar Giovanni Garcia-Calles
Samuel Esay Garcia-Calles
Katya Marie Lyne
Senovia Medina
Cecilia Elizabeth Newball
Kimberly Abigail Orellana
Jose Francisco Fuentes Pereira
Eric Fernando Salguero Franco

Guatemala
Adrian Garcia Najera
Francisco Javier Sanchez
Rolando Schweikert
Romeo Sierra-Portillo

Honduras
Melvin Eduardo Turcios Cedillo
Juan Ramon Madrid-Bueso
Isabel Rodriguez

Nicaragua
Donald Marcelino Alvarez-Vallecillo
Yansis Massiel Juarez
Blanca Elisa Roberson

Panama
Tilsia Peralta Martinez

Another missing illegal immigrant, another typical response

Justin showed me this article about a thirteen-year-old Guatemalan boy who vanished while crossing the Mexican border illegally to join his mom in Arizona. I have not heard of this kid before. He’s been missing for two months and it really doesn’t look good. It seems unclear whether he vanished on American or Mexican soil — thereby giving both country’s authorities an excuse not to look for him.

What really gets my goat, though, is the barrage of ugly, vicious, racist comments attached to the article:

She is illegal and so is her son. I care nothing if they are found dead in the desert…The more of them found dead, the better off the world is.

Another one down…how many to go?

Good riddance to this gang banger.

And there was another comment, which I can’t find now and must have gotten deleted (and rightly so), saying something like “Her son is dead and he’s a good boy, because the only good wetback is a dead wetback.”

No matter how you stand on the immigration issue, you’d think people would feel some compassion for this child, and his mother. If this boy disappeared on American soil, then the American authorities have an obligation to look for him, the same way they’d have an obligation to look for someone from, say, China, or England, who disappeared within the United States borders.

The racism inherent in the illegal immigration issue bothers me a lot. If you are in this country illegally, you are MUCH less likely to be deported if you’re white. When people come here seeking asylum, either they’re let go on bond until their court date, or they’re put in immigration detention, and it’s a proven fact that people of color are MUCH more likely to be put in detention than white people. There was this one guy I know about who disappeared in Texas, and who was originally who was from Russia. I saw a board post from the police officer whose department was investigating the case, saying they had found the Russian man alive and well in another state. The cop added, and I quote, “He’s here illegally, but because he’s not Hispanic and he’s not Middle Eastern, we’re not going to do anything about it.”

I was horrified. I mean, I don’t especially care whether they deported the person or not. But I was shocked and deeply saddened that a public official would openly state that they were not going to enforce the immigration law in his case for the sole reason that he was white. The guy was every bit as illegal as someone who’d crossed over from Mexico. It’s like a judge saying at sentencing, on the record and in front of everyone, “Well, if you were a black guy you would be getting five years for this offense, but since you’re white, I’ll let you off with probation.” Disgusting.

What is it about illegal immigration that seems to rile up so many people, even more than crimes like murder and selling drugs? I mean, for example, you don’t see a lot of people saying “Who cares about Haleigh Cummings, her parents were drug-dealing criminals and they deserved to lose their kid, and she would have turned out the same way as them” or something like that. I am horrified by these people’s utter lack of empathy. I swear it makes me want to cry.

UPDATE: I found this article with photos of the missing boy. They think they might have found his body, but they’re not sure.