Why are children being separated from their families at the US border?
As per the new enforcement policy under the Trump’s administration, any migrant who crosses the border illegally will be subjected to criminal prosecution as announced by Jeff Sessions, the US attorney general. The “zero tolerance” policy will be applicable to the migrants seeking asylum in the US as well. As parents cannot be kept in federal jail, they are taken away from their parents and are being placed in the Office of Refugee Resettlement. During the past six-week period, over 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the southern border of the country during a crackdown on illegal entries.
What happens to the separated children?
As per reporters, 1,995 minors were separated from their parents. The children are treated as “unaccompanied alien children “after separating from their parents. These children are then placed under the custody of ORR within 72 hours of being apprehended by the agents at the border. They then have to wait for months or weeks while the officials look for their sponsors or relatives to care for them. Reporters who have toured the ORR facilities have claimed that hundreds of children have been kept in cages with concrete floors. There was an instance, where a teenager helped a young child change the diapers as her aunt was somewhere else in the facility.Children are offered books and toys in the facility. However, the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics claimed that the children at the facility were in distress. Family separation can be a stressful experience and can disrupt the brain architecture of the child.
Can these children ever reunite with their parents?
There is no clear system in place as of now to reunite the children with their parents. The attorneys in Texas have stated that they have given the parents a helpline to locate their children. The truth is that the number is of immigration enforcement tip line. If a parent is deported back to their country, there is currently no system in place to deport their children back with them.
Who should be held responsible for this?
As per the president of the United States of America, the democrats need to be blamed for their policies which are separating the children from their families. It is not clear to which law he is mentioning to. This is because no law has been passed by the US Congress which mentions that the migrant families have to be separated. There has been change only in the decision of the Justice Department to prosecute the parents criminally for crossing the border illegally. As the children cannot be charged with any crime, they cannot be jailed with their parents.As per the court’s decision taken during 1997, the children who cross the US border alone can be released to their caretaker, adult relative or their parents. If these options are not available, then the government should focus on finding a setting for the child which is least restrictive and without any delay. However, as per the Head of Homeland Security, the White House is considering separate families for deterring others from trying to cross the border.
Original published on June 22, 2018.