A difficult week for migrants and families of children separated by The Trump administration. Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said that they could not locate the parents of over 545 children placed in ICE custody away from their parents.
Deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, Lee Gelernt, said in a statement, “It is critical to find out as much as possible about who was responsible for this horrific practice while not losing sight of the fact that hundreds of families have still not been found and remain separated.There is so much more work to be done to find these families.”
There has been tremendous outrage raised against this policy of separating children from their parents as a means of deterring entry into the USA at the borders. Some advocates and activists believe this was intentional and the outcome was preordained just as it is today to deter new cases.
Alida Garcia, vice president of Advocacy at FWD.us tweeted out, “They can’t find these parents cuz the policy was to destroy lives intentionally w/ the hope that would stop brown people fleeing bad circumstances from finding hope here. They always saw these families as expendable.
According to Truth Out, “The pilot program for the “zero tolerance” policy was revealed in January 2019 within a report from the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In addition to acknowledging the existence of the pilot program beginning in the summer of 2017, the HHS report also noted the traumatic emotional toll that children suffered due to being separated from their family members.
According to Truth Out, “Separated children experienced heightened feelings of anxiety and loss as a result of their unexpected separation from their parents after their arrival in the United States,” the inspector general’s report stated. “For example, some separated children expressed acute grief that caused them to cry inconsolably.”
Parents who were affected by the policy also experienced emotional trauma, with some even attempting to commit suicide due to their grief, the HHS report noted.
When it was brought to the public’s attention, the “zero tolerance” separation policy was decried by the United Nations human rights office for being in violation of international law.
The Trump administration’s 2018 policy “amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
President Trump eventually bowed to immense pressure, from activists, lawmakers, and protesters across the country and around the world, and ended the program through executive order in June 2018. However, he continued to defend the practice of separating children from their parents at the border in order to deter immigrants from seeking asylum in the U.S.”