Most Americans are horrified after seeing images of children in cages, similar to the pens you would see in an animal shelter. Images and gut-wrenching stories of children literally yanked out of their parents’ arms stand out in news feeds as we wonder (again and again since January 2017): how we got here, and what can we do?
Our immigration policies have a long history in America, going back long before Trump took office. Anti-immigrant sentiment has existed since the founding of the United States, and continues to this day, as evidenced by our systemic anti-immigrant policies (the amount of time and money it takes to legally immigrate to the US, the detention of asylum seekers, denying due process to asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children), and the election of Donald J. Trump as a president, after years of him spouting anti-immigrant rhetoric on Twitter and the campaign trail.
After a spike in border crossings, brought on by a spike in drug cartel violence in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, Trump and Sessions turned immigration policy from bad to worse. They implemented their “zero-tolerance policy” for border-crossings last April; families are forcibly separated once they are caught in the US without papers. The idea is nothing new; it has been floated by previous presidents, who dismissed it because it’s an immoral idea (and illegal under international law regarding refugees, and antithetical to the American ideal of the family). But as many families are fleeing violence from drug cartels in Central America, border crossings are going up, making the Trump Administration, an administration which promised millions of Americans that he would crack down on “illegal immigration,” look bad.
So here we are: The immigration system is becoming so bottlenecked that the government is considering housing children at military bases, and again, babies are literally being ripped from their mothers’ arms.
Here’s what you can do:
- Join your local March for Stolen Children on June 14th. Hosted by Families Belonging Together, they “oppose the cruel, inhumane and unjustified separation of children from their parents along the U.S. border with Mexico and at other ports of entry into the U.S. We protest the conditions in which these children are kept. We protest the irreversible trauma that has already been perpetrated on these children and their parents for the crime of seeking a better life.” In Detroit, the event is also hosted by the Women’s March, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC), African Bureau of Immigration and Social Affairs (ABISA), Metro Detroit Political Action Network (MDPAN), Adonis from MI United, and Equality MI. We are rallying at 5:00 at the ICE Field Office at Jefferson and Mount Elliot in Detroit. If you are not local to Detroit, you can find your nearest rally point here.
- Call your representatives about ending the cruel treatment of children and their families at the border. Find your Congressional Representatives and Senators here.
- Donate your money or your time to helping children in need. Here are some places to start: