Reunification and Separation of Families
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” -Desmond Tutu. I don’t think that he is saying to drop what you’re doing and become a human rights activist like him. However, I do think he is saying that we as a people should have an opinion regarding unfair conditions because if we don’t, it shows that we are siding with the “oppressors.” This statement made by Desmond is very accurate. It’s like when you were growing up and you were told that if you just stand there and watch someone being bullied, you’re just as bad as the bully. When it comes to any injustices, I always stand with the side that is being treated unjustly.
One of the main injustices in the world today is how we handle illegal immigrants. Family unification and separation are immigration are one of the main immigration issues that I feel very strongly about. This year, hundreds of families have been separated from each other because of unfair immigration laws. Reading some of these separation and unification stories can be so heartbreaking. A lot of times, families reunite to only be separated again hours later. This was the case for two men who shared their story during an interview with immigration advocates.
Pablo and Antonio were put on a bus with other parents that had been separated from their kids on the way to the ICE detention center where they were reunited with their sons for the first time in months. As they were driving away from the detention center, the driver turned around and headed back to it. Waiting for them back at the detention centers were ICE with papers for the parents that asked, “I wish to be deported with my child”; “I wish for my child to stay in the U.S. for his or her own asylum case if I am deported”; or “I want to talk to a lawyer”. Pablo and Antonio said that the documents already had the first box checked saying, “Deport me with my child.” They objected to this option because they didn’t want to run the risk of having their children go back to the same dangers that they came to America to escape from.
The people that objected to this pre-checked box were threatened by ICE saying that they would never see their children again. Because of not signing this unfair document, children were separated from their parents just hours after being reunited. Pablo, Antonio, and other parents that opted for this option didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to their children and they haven’t even spoken to them through the phone since this unfortunate incident happened. “Every second away from a parent is one second too long.” Dr. Dawn McCarty. Maybe Americans don’t understand the long-term psychological issues that children and their parents must go through when they are put through these circumstances. Maybe they don’t fully grasp the terrors they were escaping from when they came to this country in the first place. Maybe they know all of this but just don’t care.
Which do you think is worse: Having finally reuniting with your children only to have them taken away hours later. Or being told you are about to be reunited with your children, going through the process, and it never happens. Well unlike Pablo and Antonio, Jorge and Diego were given false hope that they held onto until they realized it wasn’t going to happen. They were also driven to ICE facility and given papers that said they were about to be reunited with their children and everything was being squared away in immigration court concerning their asylum claims. Jorge and Diego traveled with about 40 other parents thinking that they would be reunited at last while they stayed at the facility for a whole day wondering what was going on. After waiting, they were taken back to prison without explanation and reunification.
The government has issued that some families aren’t eligible for reunification because of some issues that may have come up in their background. However, Jorge and Diego don’t have a criminal record. They don’t know where these issues are coming from and they are probably wondering if there is even a real issue or if it’s just a game. This goes back to the extreme psychological issues that these laws are causing hundreds of people every day for no good reason. I feel for these children and their families that are constantly being hurt and torn apart. They go through every day not knowing when or if they’ll ever see their family again. Ask yourself are you against these injustices or do you side with the oppressors?
Moore, Robert. “The Government Reunited Some Immigrant Families-Then took the Children
Away a Second Time.” Texas Monthly. 6 August 2018.
Domonoske, Camila. Gonzales, Richard. “What We Know: Family Separation and ‘Zero
Tolerance’ at the Border.” National Public Radio, Inc. 19 June 2018.
Dickerson, Caitlin. Jordan, Miriam. “More than 450 Migrant Parents May Have Been Deported
Without Their Children.” The New York Times. 24 July 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/24/us/migrant-parents-deported-children.html