Oh, the irony. After days of national pressure, President Trump has gone back on his own policy of separating families at the border. He “didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated,” so his executive order will now supposedly detain families all together. What makes this situation even more ironic is the decision to vacate the U.N. Council on Human Rights on the basis that that very council supports human rights abusers. More on that council later.
For a country that prides itself on being forward-thinking and free, America has often struggled with human rights violations. Even though they are defined as “rights that are believed to justifiably belong to every person,” human rights are complicated. One person’s definition of a human right differs from another's. Pro-life vs. Pro-choice and the “right” to own guns are two examples where the line shifts, depending on the perspective of the viewer. From violently marginalizing the Native Americans, to slavery, to the Japanese internment camps, and now to the terrorizing of people of color, America can arguably be considered the poster child for what not to do when it comes to upholding the rights of people.
In the spotlight now is the White House’s zero-tolerance policy of immigration at the border between the United States and Mexico. Many supporters of tough laws on immigration ask why these people can’t just come into the country legally. The fact of the matter is, many people who attempt to come into this country legally are turned away. Often they are told, “there is no more room” for them and their families. Even those who are accepted often have to endure a very slow process in order to gain entry. For those trying to escape violence and bleak conditions, the chance to “slip” into the United States seems far more promising than what they are attempting to leave behind.
What is now causing mass hysteria is the separation of children from their parents. There is NO law that specifically states that children must be separated from their parents at the border. A quick Google search can provide anyone with numerous trustworthy links to evidence disputing this claim by the Trump Administration. When the parents are taken to a federal jail to await trial for the crime of illegally entering the country, the children are taken away because children are not allowed in federal prisons. The solution? To create a prison for the children too. According to the New York Times, the administration has apparently separated approximately 2,000 children from their parents over a 6-week period. Since then, that number has only risen. Make no mistake, these children are being imprisoned. They are not at “summer camp,” the blatantly inaccurate term used by Fox News Host Lauren Ingraham. Keep in mind this is the same woman who told basketball great, philanthropist, and businessman Lebron James that he was unqualified to speak political matters by eloquently stating that he should “shut up a dribble” and even accused him of not graduating high school, something he, in fact, did accomplish. So no surprise there.
Photos of these children herded together like animals and covered in shoddy blankets have rightly angered many people. Even the United Nations Rights Chief has spoken out against this practice, going as far as to call it “government sanctioned child abuse.”
In defense of the administration, there is no easy solution to illegal immigration. The United States cannot just let everyone who begs for asylum in the country. But this separation of families is a disgusting human rights violation that has become characteristic of the United States and it needs to stop. These kids are not child actors being fed scripts. They are children. And they want their parents.