The Border


photo bywikipedia

Saish Satyal, Writer

Back in early May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy concerning illegal immigration on our borders, mainly our southern borders. The purpose of this policy was to deter any illegal immigrants from crossing over the border, but the administration did so by crossing a line that shouldn’t be crossed. “Zero tolerance” meant detaining and prosecuting any illegal immigrant who tried to cross over the border, whether they were seeking asylum or not. This policy is already questionable since some immigrants may legitimately be trying to flee from dangerous conditions. From early May until late June, the Trump administration separated over 2,300 children at the border and kept them in separate detention camps than their parents. Public outcry began once photos were leaked by a former worker in a migrant detention facility. The photos showed crowded rooms with children eating meals from paper plates and sitting in tiny colored, kindergarten plastic chairs. Once those came out, other photos also surfaced of children being kept in overcrowded cages and being forced to sleep on the floor.

On June 20th, Donald Trump signed an executive order stopping the separation and detainment of children at the border. However, instead of separating children from their families, the executive order gave Trump the power to detain families together indefinitely. Luckily, in 2015 a judge in the Ninth Circuit ruled that minors, whether they are accompanied or unaccompanied, can only be detained for 20 days. However, the Trump administration separated such a large number of children, that they couldn’t keep track of everything that was going on. Most of these children haven’t found their parents yet and horrible stories began to surface from these centers. In fact, the worker that provided the first photos of the detention center also provided an audio tape that plays a sound bite of a worker in the facility instructing the kids in Spanish not to talk to the press. She told them that if they did, they could be kept inside the facility for a lot longer than normal. There are also lawsuits being filed against the Shiloh Treatment Center in Texas that claim that migrant children were held down and injected with drug cocktails which made them docile. Outrage also grew over tender age facilities which were detention centers, but for babies and toddlers. This meant that border patrol agents were taking babies and toddlers by force from their parents and placing them in a foreign environment without any parental comfort. While I can’t tell anyone what to think, this should be a collectively horrifying statement.

Many in Trump’s base of supporters and his administration have stated that Mr. Trump was not the first to put this child separation practice into action and have stated that President Obama did this as well. While it is true that some families were separated under the Obama administration, separations were only deemed necessary when border patrol agents suspected human trafficking or that the child in question wasn’t the child of whoever claimed to be a parent. Even then, over 2,300 children in the course of two months is more than a little overkill. However, it is true that the Obama administration considered forming and executing a policy similar to the policy of the Trump administration. However, they decided that it would be too inhumane and cruel. The Secretary of Homeland Security under Obama stated that one of the things he couldn’t bring himself to do was to actually take a child from its mother’s arms.