Outrage Over Trump Admministration Policy Of Separating Immigrant Children From Parents
The Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents who seek asylum in the United States by crossing the border illegally has sparked outrage across the country — and it reached a fever pitch over the weekend.
We got a glimpse of the cages kids are being kept in, read heart-wrenching stories of families being separated, and watched the Trump camp try to toss the political football of culpability to others.
President Trump tweeted Monday morning that the situation is Democrats’ fault for being “weak and ineffective” with border security and crime and said it’s time to “change the laws.” But this claim simply makes no sense. Contrary to what Trump seems to be implying, there was no preexisting law requiring family separation, and what’s happening at the border doesn’t have anything to do with Democrats — it’s a decision the Trump administration has made.
The administration recently implemented a “zero-tolerance” policy that includes separating children from their parents as they try to enter the United States seeking asylum at the US border, in what some say is an attempt to deter other potential migrants from making the same decision. The policy has sent shock waves around the country, igniting outrage on the part of immigration advocates, human rights groups, and citizens across the political spectrum.
And the situation has the potential to get much worse: The Washington Examiner reported on Monday that the Trump administration could wind up holding some 30,000 illegal immigrant children by the end of the summer, citing a senior administration official with the Department of Health and Human Services. The HHS official told the publication 11,500 children were already being held.
Here’s an overview of what’s happened in the past 72 hours.
We got a look at where children are being kept. It’s in cages.
The Department of Homeland Security on Friday confirmed that about 2,000 children were separated from their parents at the border during a six-week period this spring. And over the weekend, we got a look at the places and conditions children are being kept in, and the scene was disturbing.
The Associated Press reported on the scene at a McAllen, Texas, facility where some 1,100 people, including 200 minors unaccompanied by a parent, are being kept. US Border Patrol agents briefly opened up the old warehouse, where detainees — including children — are being kept in cages, for reporters to visit.
Reporters weren’t allowed to interview the people being held or to take pictures. Michelle Brané, the director of migrant rights at the Women’s Refugee Commission, had met with a 16-year-old girl being kept on Friday and spoke with the AP. The girl had been taking care of another young girl who she thought was about 2 years old for a few days and had taught other children how to change her diaper. (The little girl, it eventually turned out, was actually 4 and had been separated from her aunt from Guatemala.) Brané also told the AP she saw officials scolding a group of 5-year-olds for playing in their cage.
Colleen Kraft, the head of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told the AP that on a recent visit to a different shelter, she was told by staff that they weren’t allowed to touch, pick up, or hold crying children, no matter how young or distraught they may be.
Democratic politicians made visits to detention centers over the weekend in an attempt to draw more attention to what’s happening at the border. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and other lawmakers toured CBP processing centers in the Rio Grande Valley on Sunday to learn more about the situation. “We must end this policy of family separation,” Merkley told CNN.
While those touring the detention facilities weren’t allowed to capture film of it, Customs and Border Protection released a video of the McAllen warehouse, which quickly found its way to Twitter. The footage portrays dozens of people in cages and children sleeping under foil blankets.