Written on behalf of Luis Carrillo
July 10, 2018
Over the past two months, a debate has raged over the Trump administration’s policy towards migrant children. The policy has been criticized by many advocacy groups because separating children from their parents is cruel and inhumane. The news of families being separated created a heated discussion on social media, with people sharing their opinions on the issue by using the hashtag: #WhereAreTheChildren.
Approximately 3,000 children have been separated from their families at the U.S. border over a six-week period during a crackdown on illegal, and legal entries, such as parents seeking asylum.
In the beginning of May, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration would adopt a “zero-tolerance” policy toward anyone caught crossing into the United States. He stated that all border crossers would be referred to the Department of Justice and would be prosecuted for illegal entry. This policy applied to all adults, regardless if they come with children or not. Upon being separated from their parents, children were wrongly labeled as “unaccompanied alien children” by the U.S. government, which describes people under the age of 18 who come to the U.S. without an adult. Under federal law, unaccompanied minor children are sent into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is responsible for identifying and contacting the closest relative or family friend living in the U.S. that the child has.
Before the “zero-tolerance” policy was put into place, migrants would arrive at any port of entry along the border, and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer would approach them and ask them for their documents. If they didn’t have proper documents, officers would pull them aside for questioning. During this process, officers would ask the migrants if they were afraid of returning back to their home country. If the migrants expressed any sort of fear of being sent back, CBP would hand them over to the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement and they would then be taken to detention centers. The migrants would then start the asylum process that consists of interviews, background checks and security screenings. If those migrant families included children, the children would stay with the parents throughout the process. They would then try to convince immigration judges that they have a credible fear of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or member of a particular social group, such as women married to an abusive husband, or members of labor unions being persecuted. The government would then decide to either grant them protection or deport them back to their homeland.
What Donald Trump and his sycophants don’t understand is the emotional trauma this separation process has put on the children being taken away from their parents. Forced separations can cause long-lasting trauma and lead to serious mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and PTSD. Studies show that taking children away from their caregivers can also interfere later with learning and social relationships. Some of these children are very young and have no way of comprehending what’s going on. Many kids believe that their parents intentionally abandoned them, even though that’s not the case.
Separating children from their parents should NEVER be done. Processing parents and their children TOGETHER has been done before. It can be done again if our elected governmental employees try. CAGING children violates the Golden Rule and damages God’s children.
The federal government employees say they are enforcing the law, but there are also laws against Child Endangerment and Child Abuse. Why are they not following those laws? It is unpatriotic for our elected employees to commit felonies to deal with misdemeanors.
Undocumented immigrants make up only 3% of the U.S. population, and that percentage is being reduced every year. So, this country is not dealing with a flood that can justify such cruelty as caging children.
Stop, close your eyes, and imagine your child locked in a cage sleeping on cement. You can feel better about this and put an end to this atrocity by contacting elected officials in the Senate and in Congress and demand:
(1) The checklist for immediate reunification of the children with their parents.
(2) A deadline for complete reunification by the end of July, 2018.
(3) That Stephen Miller be fired. Stephen Miller designed this disaster. #FireStephenMiller