The Trump administration is punishing parents who bring their children here illegally, who have to resort to employing “coyotes” to help them cross the border.
Central American parents and families often face a fork in the road between two evils: staying in their homelands plagued with gang violence, stark poverty, and dangerous political turmoil, or looking to the United States for refuge and safety.
“It’s extremely cruel when you started shutting down refugee applicants and rescinding protections for children brought to the country at a young age, to send this kind of message to parents trying to get their kids to safety,” Chris Rickerd, policy counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union told the New York Times.
A recent report by the New York Times states that the administration aims to crackdown on parents and family members by going after those who attempt re-entry after being deported.
When unaccompanied children cross the border, they are often released into the custody of family members already in the U.S. So, the administration’s reasoning is that if they curtail re-entry, that will dampen child arrivals if they do not already have family members here.
These parents and family members are forced to make the difficult decision of using coyotes to accompany their children so they can be reunited with their families for a better life here.
Whether the administration truly has the children’s well-being in mind is doubtful, but this policy probably will not have the effect they are looking for. Meanwhile, it will continue the assault on immigrants, legal or undocumented, by putting yet another group in its heartless crosshairs for mass deportations.
First of all, if they really cared about children, they would not have ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In their attempt to remove incentives for such children, the administration is instead destroying young promising lives and tearing families apart.
By going after those who attempt re-entry, officials will continue to erode the support system these young children need when they come to the U.S. Their parents or family members are forced to go to great, sometimes desperate, lengths to protect their children.
Fleeing an extreme climate of violence and political turmoil, refugees will choose to escape their home countries time and time again, which may unfortunately include the difficult decision to make the dangerous journey to the U.S. Only until this fact is embraced and our immigration system is reformed will the children truly be safe.
– with contributions from Sarah Massoni