Children in Cages Stain as the Election Draws Near

It was recently released that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, were leading the charge for President Trump’s “zero tolerance” separation policy of illegal immigrants. The last couple of years have been filled with hatred at the administration over images of children in confined cages and inhuman conditions. Although some may argue that the parents broke the law and should be prosecuted, a humane society should not overtly act in such a manner. All humans, whether citizens or not, should be treated with dignity and respect, and anything less than that is despicable.

Many immigrants and political refugees desire economic opportunities and asylum in the United States, and as a country, we should provide an easier method for them to achieve just that. Our current system is bogged down with bureaucracy and long wait times, and although there is much backlash (often from conservatives) due to the erroneous perception that immigrants steal Americans’ jobs and the idea that the immigrants will overwhelmingly vote for Democratic candidates, it is really in the best interest of everyone to allow people from different backgrounds and of varying skill sets to participate in the economic system. Regardless of one’s views on whether immigrants should have easy access to the country or be severely limited, as a society, we should agree that mistreatment of individuals seeking a better life should be condemned.

By the summer of 2018, approximately 2,342 children were separated from more than 2,200 adults, and by the time of the cessation of the policy, it is estimated that almost 3,000 families had been divided. Separating children from parents for a misdemeanor seems a bit harsh, and this is not something that a civilized nation should partake in. If that was not bad enough, Attorney General Sessions claimed that he wanted to use this policy as a deterrent to keep illegal immigration low. This type of intimidation from government officials is not acceptable.

The facilities utilized for holding the children have been compared to internment camps, and it appears that there was overcrowding, consumption of filthy water, poor-quality food provided, and lack of any real escape from the elements. Reminiscent of treatment of Native Americans and Japanese Americans, the United States government is now guilty of yet another form of concentration camps. This stain on the nation by the Trump administration is something that should not be easily forgotten, and it is up to Americans to put pressure on government officials in the future to prevent implementation of similar policies.

Many conservatives rightly argue that the “cages” used to separate children were initiated during the Obama administration, and for that, President Trump’s predecessor bears some of the blame. However, President Obama only held children in place for up to seventy-two hours before handing them over to the Department of Health and Human Services, and he did try to keep families together as much as possible. Still, President Obama’s record on human rights of migrant children was not great either, and President Trump’s record 2019 detainment of 69,550 children has been built upon by previous presidents. This does not excuse the Trump administration’s lack of concerns for human rights though.

As the 2020 presidential election draws near, the immigrant separation policy will prove to be a stain on his record. Although anti-Trumpers will try to claim racism and inhumanity due to these policies (and this is true), it should be noted that many policies implemented by the United States government, whether relating to torture and black sites, economic sanctions, overt and covert wars, drone strikes that lead to mass civilian casualties, militarization of police, and the drug war, have contributed to gross human rights violations throughout modern history. President Trump is not unique in his disregard for human life, but the reason that many believe to the contrary is because he is boisterous and vulgar in his approach. Actions speak louder than words, so we should be more concerned about detrimental actions than his racist Tweets (these are not acceptable either). As Americans, we need to be aware of and speak out about human rights violations regardless of which political party is in charge.

Thank you for reading, and please check out my book, The Global Bully, and website.
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Published on October 19, 2020 15:51
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