Immigrant children should not be separated from families

Jamar Kittling ’20, Staff Reporter

It is irrefutable that our current Commander-in-Chief is the center of political discourse and debate, from the Senators of Capital Hill to the ordinary folk in our neighborhoods. The subject of the debate, however, is if his actions are truly unjust to particular people or great for our country.

As these lengthy four years proceed, the battle lines becomemore defined and the key promisesof President Trump’s campaign are brought into question. One of these promises is to limit illegal immigration. Immigrants, today synonymous with the term Indigenous Mexicans, have been placed in the center of the debate.

How cruel is the treatment of this group of people? Is all of thisfor the benefit of the Americanpeople, or is all of this is to satisfy the racism and xenophobia of our current leaders? It is these questions that bring the American people to divide into the left versus the right: the advocates versus the protectors. Allow me to say my opinion, referring to a highly publicized incident that took place this year regarding illegal immigrant families and the border.

It is no secret that the U.S.- Mexico border is a frequent site of illegal immigration. According to the Migration Policy Institute,

56 percent of the illegal alien population originates from Mexico. Other than building a wall, the Department of Homeland Security has many protocols when it comes to detained people, especially families. The DHSclarifies that there is no policythat calls for the separation of families at the border. However, there are three circumstances where this does occur. “These circumstances include: 1) when DHS is unable to determine the familial relationship, 2) when DHS determines that a child may be at risk with the parent or legal guardian, or 3) when the parent or legal guardian is referred for criminal prosecution.”

These measures are takenbecause of the influx of manypeople simply posing as families at the border. When children are separated from their families at the border, they are detained at licensed facilities, known to many as the sinister cages, where they are held no longer than 20 days. These laws are not revolutionary to the Trump Administration and, in reality, seem pretty fair. However, as in many instances, things change when we get to President Trump.

Remember this: there are no laws that mandate the separation of families at the border.

Starting with March of 2017, PBS gives a full storyline of the

president’s illegal immigration policies and actions, addressingwhen the White House first talkedabout the issue of posing families.

In May of this year, the zero- tolerance policy was announced. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, “If you cross this border unlawfully,thenwewillprosecute you. It’s that simple.” It is during this time when the separation of families at the border increased. Many assume that the goal of this would be to deter illegal immigration. Yet, according to PBS, “The administration says border crossings at the El Paso sector dropped by 64 percent.But Lind finds the opposite: thatfederal data showed an increase of illegal border crossings during that time.”

The Trump Administration has been separating immigrant families at staggering numbers,with Homeland Security officials confirming that 1,995 childrenwere separated from 1,940 adults at the U.S.-Mexico border from April 19 through May 31. Based on the laws listed in Homeland Security, these colossal numbers just do not make sense.

By June, these injustices were reaching the light. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to the outcry of criticism and questioning by stating that the massive separation was because of the existing laws, of which there are none. A true talent for words.

The Department of Homeland

Security states that children can be separated from their families “when the parent or legal guardian is referred for criminal prosecution.” However, the zero tolerance policy makes ALL who cross the border illegally subject to criminal prosecution. This is a clear and utter abuse of the law, making it so that even true families and asylum seekers are subject to separation and detainment.

Anyone coming to the border, either to smuggle drugs or seek a better life, is considered a criminal; that is the law that the Trump Administration mandated. There is no question why this law is universally seen as cruel and inhumane.

Illegal immigration has been depicted as a grave problem weakening our country and harming our economy. However, the balance says that immigrant work helps provide cheap labor, which lowers the cost for the average American. While others rightfully take other approaches, it is clear to me that the actions of the Trump Administration illustrate the severe xenophobia and racism that encompasses our current executive branch. These long, long four years continue to drag on along with the political battles, with some positives and, to some, many negatives. When it comes to families seeking refuge and a better life in the land of the free and the home of the brave, I must side with the advocates.