It’s Time to Put an End to Immigrants’ Nightmare
TEXAS – June 22, 2018
This week, national news has been dominated by horrifying scenes from the border of children being ripped away from their parents who the federal government is criminally prosecuting.
More than 2,300 children have been taken away from their parents and sent to shelters, facilities and foster families all across the country, with seemingly no clear tracking mechanism. This is a direct result of the so-called zero-tolerance policy which calls for every adult who crosses the border anywhere other than a port of entry, including asylum-seekers and parents coming to the border with small children, to be prosecuted.
Now, immigrants are often charged under one of two federal crimes: unlawful entry, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail, or unlawful re-entry of a deported immigrant, a felony punishable by up to 2 years in federal prison, and even more if the immigrant has a criminal record.
The consequences have been dramatic. Almost half of all federal criminal prosecutions in 2017 comprised just these two crimes, and it’s getting worse.
This is a crisis the Trump administration has chosen to create, and it was supported by many of his political allies as a means of pushing through his cruel, anti-immigrant agenda.
Only after many lawsuits — and when more than 2,300 children, many of them infants and toddlers, were torn from their parents, prompting an explosion of national outrage that included grassroots mobilizations, every living first lady, airlines, corporate CEOs, the pope, evangelicals, the bishops, and every major medical group and children’s group in the country — did the president back down and issue an executive order calling for a halt to the practice.
This Wednesday President Trump signed his executive order on family separation proclaiming “We are keeping families together and this will solve that problem.” But while the order may stop the prolonged, forcible separation of children from their families going forward, it by no means solves the problem.
The executive order does not say anything about the plan to reunite these families, and the administration confirmed that it will not be not be making any special efforts to do so.
Some of the parents of these children have already been deported. Some of these children are too young to talk, and may not even know what countries they are from or what their parents’ names are. Most don’t speak English and some don’t speak any languages that are widely used in this country.
Then what should be done? First of all those who are concerned by the scenes at the U.S.-Mexico border should certainly demand that kids never be ripped from their parents’ arms or locked up in long-term family detention camps. Same time The Congress should also introduce legislation that would end the shameful and wasteful criminal prosecutions of immigrants altogether. If the president thinks placing families in jail indefinitely is what people have been asking for, he is grossly mistaken. If the president thinks placing families in jail indefinitely is what people have been asking for, he is grossly mistaken. Pro-immigrant forces in Congress should call Trump’s bluff and introduce a bill that repeals the law that allows for the prosecutions of unlawful entry and re-entry.