05 Mar Trump Administration Family Separation Policy
Amongst an array of proposals, ideas and policies that the government has imposed or been trying to implement, the Zero Tolerance policy is one such. President Donald Trump’s government in May 2018 executed this policy which charged adults with a crime for illegally entering the country. The policy states that adults who would cross the border with children would be arrested, isolated from their kids and referred to the US Justice Department for prosecution. In this case, the adults would be allowed to apply for asylum but on the condition that they would be separated from their kids.
However, after suffering colossal criticism, this order was reversed on June 20, 2018. Until then, (between May 5 and June 9) 2,342 children were separated from their parents. After the reversal of the policy, the question was – ‘Did the Zero Tolerance policy come to an end?’ No. The new order did not say that the policy was ended. It merely stated that the administration would thoroughly implement immigration laws and would begin with the proceedings accordingly. This meant that now families would be kept together, but the ‘zero tolerance’ stance was the same.
In August 2018, about two- thirds out of the 497 minors were still in custody. Out of these 22 were “tender-age” children who were below 5 years. Before this policy was implemented, adults who crossed the border unlawfully were arrested. But if anyone had a child with them were not prosecuted. The Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the bringing along of child acted like an ‘immunity’ and he wanted to end this practice. The least punishment given to such illegal immigrants is that they are charged with ‘illegal entry.’ This is a federal misdemeanor (minor wrongdoing) which can lead to fines and up to six months behind bars.
Out of 80,232 people surveyed in the US, 19 % say NO to the separation of children from illegally immigrated parents while 81 % say YES. The people in the support say that this would allow officials to check whether the children are being trafficked. Some strongly said that criminals do not deserve any special treatment. The people against it said that families need to be kept together during prosecution. Or instead, deport them and their kids immediately, they said. A few people believe that there should be a more natural way for immigrants to lawfully enter the US.
The loss that a child at such a tender age would suffer can prove to be a heavy one. The government says that it provides ‘tender age’ shelter for the kids to be kept safe and taken care of. This provides ‘specialized facilities’ to take care of children with special needs and ‘tender age’ children below 13 years.
However, forcibly separating children from their parents increases the risk of mental disorders. This may vary from post-traumatic stress disorders, uneasiness, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and conduct problems. Epidemiological data reveals that about 30 percent of mental health disorders in any person is somehow related to childhood adversity. This highlights the significant influence of early trauma on human health.
We all are morally aware that parents are essential for young children’s survival. The warmth, care, love, access to nutrition and shelter that parents provide to a child has no equal. The importance of responsibility and a healthy mental and physical development conditions given by parents to the child is the reason for close parent-child relation. Several years of research has shown that disturbances in stable and healthy caregiving may lead to risks to the child’s well- being. An unhealthy childhood going through fear, trauma or mental stress is subject to give an indecent life to the child growing up as an adult. What needs to be emphasized here is that the government needs to mindfully calibrate the ways to deal with illegal immigrants. The national security and the likely threat due to illegal immigrants are measurable. But the cost of a nation’s security must not be paid by an innocent child by getting isolated from parents.