Border separations: Hundreds of kids orphaned
A 4-year-old boy was alone in a Chicago detention center, asking for his father, said Alex Wagner in TheAtlantic.com. Human rights workers could find out only that his dad had been deported back to “a tiny mountain village by the river” somewhere in Honduras, 1,800 miles away. The two had come to the U.S. border seeking asylum, after a narco-trafficker threatened to kill the father after already murdering his cousin. But federal agents took the boy away, and told his father “he would have to go home.” That boy is one of more than 700 migrant children who were not reunited with their families last week, despite a court order that the Trump administration return all 3,000 children to parents separated from them under President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The 700 remaining children were deemed “ineligible” for reunification for various reasons—including 463 whose parents had already been deported. What happens to these kids now?
The government didn’t have a plan for that, said Nour Malas and Alicia Caldwell in The Wall Street Journal. Federal officials spent months preparing to break up families at the border, but set up “no unified tracking system” to enable them to be reunited at some later date. Children “as young as a few months old” were sent thousands of miles away from their parents “with no means to get in touch.” This was no accident, said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post. Thousands of children “were effectively kidnapped and held hostage” in order to make “a political point.” The stated goal of Trump’s “xenophobic culture warriors”—Attorney General Jeff Sessions and senior adviser Stephen Miller—was to “gratuitously inflict” terror and pain, to scare off future migrants seeking asylum.
Someone needs to answer for this atrocity, said the Houston Chronicle in an editorial. Trump’s policy even failed as a deterrent—family apprehensions from May to June decreased by less than 1 percent. We should not forget the thousands of children and parents who suffered lasting trauma, or the 700 kids orphaned by the U.S. government. Even the reunions were heartbreaking. When an asylum seeker from Guatemala finally was reunited with his 6-year-old son after two months, the boy had a rash all over his small body. “You separated from me,” the boy told his father. “You don’t love me anymore?” ■