It’s been a turbulent summer with regards to politics but one thing has cast a dark shadow over this 3 month heatwave, and it was Donald Trump’s border policy.
Unless one has been living under a rock, you would have heard about the separation of families at US borders over the summer. Trump’s administration along with US Immigration (ICE) and local police forces have been arresting and detaining undocumented immigrants along the borders. Often in squalid conditions, these immigrants face abuse and the uncertainty of being sent home somewhere dangerous. Whilst this is enough to make anyone wonder about the legality of US border policy, Trump and his administration have now taken it upon themselves to separate families, tearing young children from their parents and refusing access or information to the parents about their children.
The children being detained range in age, from 1 to 12 usually. After they are taken from their parents, they are housed separately from their parents or sometimes in the same facility but they don’t know it. CNN and other news outlets have reported the children’s claims of abuse ranging from verbal (shouting and screaming) to physical (refusing food, toilet breaks). The US is treating 5 year old children as violent criminals who need rehabilitation instead of the love and compassion of their parents. Kept in cages or in tiny rooms without stimulation or sunlight, these families are being treated like violent criminals instead of desperate immigrants.
Most of the detained are from Latin American countries like Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras. Many people coming to America are fleeing the violence in their own countries, and must therefore make a life-changing decision to risk everything and go to America. Not an easy trip and dangerous in many areas, these people often use their life savings to escape their desperate situations.
The separation of families highlights the brutality of ICE as well as local police forces. Several videos were made public of young children being reunited with their parents only for the children to not recognise and become anxious and distressed. The ACLU has also released documents and tapes of children as young as 4 going before judges in court to plead their case of being in America, despite having no attorney and no grasp of the English language. Several marches have been organised to force the administration to release detained undocumented persons and whilst there have been children reunited with their parents, the ACLU estimates there are still over 500 children detained and separated from their parents.
The worrisome news coverage out of America would be bad enough, but regretfully there has been a relative stoney silence from the world’s governments. Whilst many national and international news agencies have reported on the abusive conditions endured by these immigrants, most world leaders are hesitant to criticise Trump, a man who locks children in cages, for fear of souring an international relationship.
But it’s not just the border policy in the US that has people worried; the government has begun looking into the citizenship of people in border towns and bordering states, and will begin ‘revoking citizenship’ if a person cannot verify their status. With the recent halt in the repeal of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), it appears as though Trump and his administration are trying, by any means necessary, to eradicate those they feel do not belong in this new version of America.