Many immigrant families who enter the US illegally are forcibly separated from each other, under the Zero Tolerance policy. The parents are given criminal charges while their children are taken from them and sent to temporary shelters. Children are not allowed in federal jail; therefore, children are kept guarded in these facilities where they are allowed to spend minimal time outside. These facilities are operated with the help of federal funding and are awarded government contracts and grants in order to continue their operations, occurring across the country.
The Zero Tolerance policy has made it so that anyone illegally traveling into the country will be prosecuted. This policy has been strictly enforced in order to discourage illegal entry into border states, where illegal entry is most common. This is connected to the zero tolerance policy, which has divided more than 2,000 children from their parents in the span of six weeks.
Many are now speaking out against the inhumane conditions that the children are being kept in. Several former first ladies have spoken about the topic. Laura Bush, wife of former president George W. Bush, has commented, “I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries,” but has described the policy with the words “cruel” and “immoral”. Besides former first lady Bush, many celebrities are doing the same and donating money for the effort of keeping migrant families together.
President Donald Trump has recently changed this policy, allowing migrant families to be moved together under the Department of Homeland Security, instead of moving children separately. This however does not address the migrant children that are currently being kept in existing facilities. Additionally, the steps that will be taken towards reuniting broken families are not clearly stated in this executive order that President Trump signed, which shows that the future for the migrant children are still bleak.
Amy Yang, Grade 11
Academy of the Holy Angels