BORDER CRISIS CALL TO ACTION: If It Can Happen to Them, It Can Happen to Us
By Ayanna Miller
In a recent turn of events at the United States, Texas-Mexico border, US border patrol officials and others have been called upon to separate and detain children from their migrating families who are believed to be desperately seeking asylum in this country and who have been unable to receive legal processing allegedly due to border control under staffing. It has been reported that more than 2,000 children of varying ages as young as 8-month-old infancy have fallen victim to the current administration’s border policies of separating children from parents or guardians, prosecuting the adults and shipping the children to locations thousands of miles away from their parents with sketchy to no ability to retain or regain contact. As a result, they may never see their families again. In some cases, the families have walked for weeks and exhausted all resources attempting to escape certain gang-related death or political oppression while seeking hope, survival and a better life in the United States. Reportedly, elected officials, Debbie Wassermann-Schultz and Bill Nelson, hoping to visit the detention facilities, have been turned away and not allowed to gain full access to the conditions under which the youth are being held. However, photos depicting children held on the floors of steel cages in this unfamiliar land, many of whom do not speak English or understand what is happening to them, have begun to circulate foiling the dark and inhumane circumstances occurring at the Texas-Mexico border and sparking horror and outrage among citizens of the world.
Nationally known civil rights leaders and human rights advocates began on Tuesday, 19 June 2018 urging all communities to demand action on the part of elected officials to act swiftly to resolve the crisis at the border. In fact, US Senate Bill 3036 was introduced by democrats on 7 June 2018, and the community is asked to show support of its passage. According to www.LegiScan.com, the bill is explained as follows:
Keep Families Together Act This bill prohibits an agent or contractor of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, or the Department of Health and Human Services from removing a child who is under the age of 18 and has no permanent immigration status from his or her parent or legal guardian at or near the port of entry or within 100 miles of the U.S. border unless: an authorized state court determines that it is in the child’s best interests to be removed; a state or county child welfare official with expertise in child trauma and development determines that it is in the child’s best interests to be removed because of abuse or neglect; or the Chief Patrol Agent or the Area Port Director authorizes separation based on a documented finding that the child is a trafficking victim or is at significant risk of becoming a victim, a strong likelihood exists that the adult is not the parent or legal guardian, or the child is in danger of abuse or neglect. An agency may not remove a child from a parent or legal guardian solely for the policy goals of deterring migration to the United States or of promoting immigration law compliance. The bill sets forth presumptions: (1) in favor of family and sibling unity and parental rights, and (2) that detention is not in the best interests of families and children. The Government Accountability Office shall conduct a study of the prosecution of asylum seekers.
Many have said that the crisis at the border is reminiscent of the treatment of African families sold and separated during slavery. It has also been compared to the treatment of Jews during the holocaust. For those with a moral conscious asking “What can I do?” the answer is simple:
- Hold your elected officials accountable!
- Use your phone, your fax, your email, the snail mail and your social media to reach out and be heard! SB3036: “Keep Families Together Act” Dial 202-224-3121, state your zip code, and when prompted, state, “ I live in (____), and I support SB3036. Repeat as often as needed!
- VOTE to SHOW the issues that you care about and to give power to those who you wish to have making decisions for you and your community!
There is power in unification, and when citizens stand together and cry out, lawmakers listen and legislation changes. We all need one another. Today the children and families at the US border need you. Tomorrow, you will need them!”