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Immigration laws hurting children

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Macy Dietrich, News Editor

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The number of migrant children detained in juvenile dentition centers has skyrocketed this past year, reaching an all-time high. With President Trump’s new zero-tolerance policy on immigration, alien children are being held in detention centers, separated from their families and the world.  

America looks like a haven compared to other countries. Lady Liberty’s torch provides light and freedom for all, beckoning people to safety. There are people around the world who are struggling. Most migrants entering this country do not come to harm, they enter America for a better life and a second chance. 

Trump’s regulations have made it difficult for immigrants to become legal citizens. Immigrants passing the border are immediately taken into custody for the misdemeanor and held for an extended period in jail.   

According to the New York Times, the number of children detained was 2,400 as of May 2017, and 12,800 children are currently in custody as of last month. These were children who were either separated from their families or crossed the border alone.  

Detention center operators have revealed the buildings reached 90 percent in volume last month. If there were to be a surge of new migrants, detention centers would not have enough space, creating chaos. The Trump administration came up with a temporary solution of expanding the detention centers known as “tent city” in Texas to hold, at maximum, 3,800 children, but this solution will likely not work for long (The New York Times). 

In the past, undocumented children without parents were placed with other families in the U.S. or with a known family member or friend. Roughly one-third of children have been released each month during this year due to the lack of quick placement processes. 

The process of releasing a child from the detention centers includes the fingerprinting of the sponsor who picks up the child. This can be frightening for illegal immigrant parents, because their fingerprints are submitted to immigration authorities, and thus risk deportation. Even those who are legal must wait months before they are fingerprinted and verified. 

Additionally, there are health risks to the children staying in detention centers, some suffering from anxiety and depression and others physically harming themselves or others. There is a lasting impact on these children, both emotionally and physically. An overseer for the Health and Human Services Department of the children during Barack Obama’s presidency, Mark Greenberg stated, “Being in congregate care for an extended period is not a good thing. It increases the likelihood of things going wrong.” 

The children in this type of custody are frightened, confused, and alone. Despite being illegal immigrants, they are only children, and more importantly, human. The government’s detainment of migrant youth leaves a lasting impact on their minds and their lives, and really causes more harm than help. 

 

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Immigration laws hurting children