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Zero tolerance policy: harmed children with trauma and torture

Gloria Meneses-Sandoval  |  Issue: February 2021

President Biden we demand the reunification of the more than 600 children with their parents

Immigrants and Statue of Liberty

The Trump administration failed to see the effects of the zero-tolerance policy that affected more than 3,000 migrant children when separated from their parents. By implementing this policy The United States separated families and detained children in cages, in secret detention centers.

Thousands of children, 20% under the age of 5 were separated from their loved ones. Supposedly, this policy was to deter migrants from wanting to come to the United States when most were seeking survival and escape from violence, natural disasters, and/or hunger.

A recent January 2021 report by the Inspector General, Michael E Horowitz (part of the U.S. Department of Justice) found that their department failed to “prepare and manage the policy’s implementation.” The policy involved criminally prosecuting the adults who were apprehended entering the country with children and that their children would be separated from them.

protester for asylum justice

By the time an Executive Order was released on June 20, 2018 to stop this practice, over 3,000 children had already been separated from their parents. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was the driving force from the Trump administration’s Stephen Miller, who is considered the “architect” of many of the immigration policies that Trump continued to promote.

According to some officials “they were following orders.” Premeditated cruelty was the intent and finally stopped by human rights-caring advocates. Now there is talk of regret and apologies and a wish to have done better. (Really?! Are migrant children that different from their own? Unbelievable!) These government officials should be prosecuted for the unthinkable harm forced onto these families.

Thousands of children and their parents have been psychologically damaged and this was intentional.

Will the new President Biden follow-up and ensure that the families are reunited? In what way will migrants be provided interventions to provide assistance to them and their children whether in this country or their home country?

Some parents lost their children to others who decided to make them part of their own family. The courts have dealt with some of this controversy and it has been painful to the biological parents when their children no longer recognize them.

The forced deportation of an unknown number of the parents was returned to their death or hard to find. Will President Biden make this reunification effort a priority? We must demand it!

It will take a massive effort to find solutions to all the harm related to keeping our borders and country “safe.” We must stay involved and informed to ensure that this does not happen again and that justice is served.

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