Trump’s Chaotic Handling of Family Separations Ignites the Country. According to a report released by the Office of the Inspector General of DHS, the US “was not prepared” for the entry into force of the controversial policy of “zero tolerance”.
Janice, Carlos, Lisa, and Wilson are just four of the nearly 3,000 children who were separated from their parents on the Mexican border as a result of the “zero tolerance” policy promoted by President Donald Trump, a strategy that was executed in a chaotic way.
Guatemalan Janice, 5 years old, was separated from her mother for two months between April and June, during which during 20 days the mother “had no idea” of where the little girl was, explained today at a wheel of telephone press activist Jennifer Podkul, head of the group Children with Need of Defense.
Not only was Janice’s mother unaware of her daughter’s location during that period, but even the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had difficulty locating her.
That problem was more common than desired by the Trump Administration, according to a report released Tuesday by the Office of the Inspector General of DHS, which determined that the country “was not ready” for the entry into force of the controversial policy of “tolerance zero”.
Among other findings, the study revealed that DHS never had a database that controlled the identities of children and separated parents, a tool the government claimed it had.
In addition, on some occasions, Border Patrol agents (CBP) refused to reunite families in their custody because “they did not want to do the paperwork required to readmit adults who had already been prosecuted,” denounced at the same conference. the adviser to the Commission of Refugee Women, Leah Chavla.
Finally, Janice and her mother were reunited after KIND paid bail for the second, who fled with her child from the violence of criminal gangs in Guatemala to seek a better future.
Little luck ran the small Wilson, 3 years, who came to the border with Mexico with his father from Central America, said doctor Alan Shapiro, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP, its acronym in English).
Several days after crossing the border and being arrested, Wilson’s father was deported by the immigration authorities and the child was taken to the foster family system.
After a time with a family, Wilson was sent to his uncle, who was “not able” to take charge of him and, after several weeks of confusion, ended up at the home of his grandparents, who also reside in the United States.
“These situations of comings and goings, caused by the chaos of the Administration, can cause severe damage to the development of the brains of children because of the severe stress they suffer,” Shapiro explained in the talk with journalists.
The expert also considered that this type of “toxic” stress can cause very negative long-term effects.
“We are very concerned about that,” said Shapiro, who is also part of a group specializing in immigrant health.
The policy of “zero tolerance” also made the Guatemalan Carlos, 9 years old and with a “significant” learning disability, according to Shapiro, be separated from his mother.
“His condition of delay made the separation of his mother even more difficult for him,” lamented the expert, who criticized the modus operandi of immigration authorities.
The organizational bewilderment of the application of this controversial immigration policy, now recognized by DHS itself, has caused Lisa, 7, to be in an “extreme traumatic state” several months after being reunited with her mother.
Three months after the alleged end of the “zero tolerance” policy, 254 children who were separated from their parents between April and June are still in the custody of the authorities because their parents were deported to their countries of origin, including 16 children under 5 years, according to data provided by KIND.
These data and the disorder of the Trump government to address the humanitarian crisis that sparked one of its most controversial guidelines have ignited activists, health professionals and even the internal investigations office of DHS.
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