A record number of immigrant children detained at US border

Maria Perez 11-1   

 Since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency, he and his administration have openly expressed their views on immigration and even taken serious political action against immigrants all over in the United States. In 2019 the U.S. held a record-high number of children- yes that is correct children- who have been held in custody by Immigration Customs Enforcement ( ICE ). This year alone 70,000 children were separated at the border from their parents and taken into custody to live for months in conditions that have lead to serious physical, sexual, and emotional trauma and abuse. A 3-year old girl left Honduras with her father as a refugee seeking asylum to a country that so heavily portrays better opportunities and a higher quality of life just to be separated at the border.  Once she was in custody of ICE, the nightmare really started. Once she was separated from her father she was placed in an ICE enforced foster home where she suffered a series of sexual and emotional abuse for months, until she was reunited with her father for deportation. The infant was left with the dying fear that her father had abandoned her until they were reunited months later.

          This isn’t the only time this has happened in the U.S and it will only continue to happen under such regulations. According to UN officials compared to the 4,000 detained children in Canada and 2,000 in Australia, the US is the country with the largest number of detained children in the world at a whopping 70,000. The number is large enough to fill a typical NFL stadium. In 2017 only 42 children were separated from their families due to immigration cases. While in 2019 around 4,000 children who were separated from their families are still in ICE custody and haven’t been reunited with their parents. More children arrive each week causing an overflow of people making living conditions dreadful. 

           The quality of care these kids receive is so sickening that members of Congress were denied access into these facilities in these horrible conditions which include sleeping in freezing cells and without proper clothing or adequate food. Toddlers were fed “burritos” almost daily instead of age-appropriate food. Once, a child was even ordered by an immigration officer to eat off the floor and according to interviews with detainees by Democratic Representative the child was threatened that if he didn’t eat it he would not receive any more food. While the few parents who were able to keep their babies weren’t even provided enough diapers or baby formula. Hispanic refugees at the border are even coerced into signing legal documents written in English without knowing a word of the language. These dreadful happen almost daily in the United States and have been increasing ever since Trump was sworn into office. 

       The worst part of the situation is that U.S officials have recognized the fact that detention camps can cause long-lasting psychological stress and trauma on young children, but for some reason, these child imprisonments still continue to happen and are becoming more frequent.  The federal government is fully aware of the corruption and abuse filled system they are leading with but unfortunately, these incidents don’t seem to be getting resolved anytime soon. We must ask ourselves if the immigration tactics being used by ICE and the federal government are worth the damage being done to these innocent kid’s lives.

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