On June 20th, 2018, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will discontinue separating children from their families when they cross the border.
Tell me a little more about this.
Many immigrants are attempting to cross the US-Mexico border, coming from places like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. They are fleeing these countries due to violence, poverty and drug cartels. Families who are fleeing these horrors may claim asylum when they get to the border, which gives them protection.
Recently, the DOJ changed the rules to a new “zero tolerance” policy with hopes to prosecute everyone who comes to the border. That means that every child is being separated and looked after in “tent camps” run by a US government agency.
Why did the Trump admin change the rules?
The Trump admin said that past rules were too lax. Loose rules meant that some families were crossing with kids who were not even their own.
However, after much backlash by members of Congress and US citizens, President Trump signed an executive order yesterday reversing the rules. The “zero tolerance” policy is still being enforced, but children are now staying with their parents in the detention centers.
What does Girls Inc. say about immigration?
Girls Inc. says that the zero tolerance policy is harmful and traumatizing to children. Separating children from parents is dangerous for a child’s mental health and well-being. Girls Inc. signed a joint statement from 14 of the nation’s largest non-profits. An expert from the statement says:
“Separating immigrant children from their parents when they come to the border should never be a part of American policy. On behalf of the human services sector, representing more than five million staff and volunteers, we call on the Trump Administration to immediately stop this wrong and immoral policy, that has resulted in more than 2000 children being needlessly separated from their parents while their parents are being processed at our borders…”
At Girls Inc. DC, we take a similar stance. Girls Inc. member and current junior counselor Phina Walker says she thinks “it’s offensive to keep people out of a country that always has jobs and offers for other people when they come from a place without those jobs and opportunities and are coming from places that are not livable.”
We encourage you to consider how the “zero tolerance” immigration policy is affecting families seeking refuge, and even the young children trying to find a better life. As a reminder, Girls Inc. supports each and every girl, regardless of nationality.
You can read the entire press release here: https://girlsinc.org/app/uploads/2018/06/Leadership-18-Press-Release-6.19_FINALv2.pdf