Family Separation: A Breakdown and What We Can Do
The United States has a long history of tearing apart families and Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy is just the latest version. This policy was announced in April 2018 and it has been growing in its operations since then. With overburdened courts, devastated families, and growing opposition from communities and congress, this can’t last forever right? Actually, this is only the second phase in a bigger plan, and Trump is going to drag this through to budget negotiations in September. To understand what Trump’s play is, there’s a few dots we have to connect as Trump reveals his hand. Get ready because this gets depressing.
Trump is holding children and families hostage in a stand-off with congress, who control the budget necessary for his vanity border wall. The first phase in this standoff was terminating DACA back in September 2017. Trump created a crisis for thousands of undocumented youth and said “Congress, you can save them, but only if I get the wall.” Congress played tug of war with themselves until March 2018 when the budget passed without funding for a wall, but also without any protections for Dreamers, who would be left to live in the shadows again.
In April, Trump implemented phase two of his stand-off with congress, and that was his zero tolerance policy. This policy criminally charges people for unauthorized immigration. This means more people are being thrown in detention with barely any due process rights, and sped up court hearings. At the same time, Trump started separating kids from their parents at the border and criminally prosecuting them separately. Again, this was a manufactured crisis created by Trump so that way he could put pressure on Congress and say “You can reunite these families, but only if you give me the wall.”
Don’t be fooled. Trump recently signed an executive order and lots of media publications were falsely stating that Trump ended family separation, when in fact his executive order actually expands mass detention and keeps separating families. He will never reunite families if Congress gives him what he wants. In fact, the crisis at the border will only get worse if Congress gives him the money to hire more unaccountable border patrol and ICE agents along with the money to build his deadly wall.
It's a fucked up situation, but we can do something. Congress right now is deciding if they will pass House Speaker Ryan’s so-called “compromise” bill which will give Trump the 16 billion he wants for border enforcement. You can call your member of congress at (202) 224-3121 and tell them “Vote NO on Ryan’s immigration bill. It will continue separating families, hurt border communities, and leave dreamers in limbo.” Calling works. They tally up the calls and use an algorithm to help them decide if there’s enough public pressure scary enough for them to listen. Also, you can vote in November! At least vote against any politician who takes money from private prisons, and detention centers. Click here for those names. This is not going to end soon, so please send donations to organizations who are actually helping detained families. My personal recommendation in San Diego is, Casa Cornelia. They provide free legal services to children and families.