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Children at the Border Are the True National Emergency

Trump discusses the border.

Trump discusses the border.

Real life tragedies are situations frequently experienced by someone else. The news, second hand-accounts, or the neighborhood grapevine often conjure thoughts of unseen events and real-life catastrophes. However, a recent, very benign chain of events intensified this writer’s visualization of events being carried out at the southern border.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

— Frederick Douglass

A few days ago, my one-year-old grandson and daughter came over for a visit. During their visit, a neighbor dropped by unexpectedly. My neighbor is an elderly gentleman I have known for a couple of decades. My grandson followed me to the door, and upon seeing my neighbor, he mustered all the strength he had in his tiny legs and ran to his mother crying crocodile tears. He held onto his mother for dear life and even after he was safe in her arms, and he glared at my neighbor and cried every time they uttered a syllable.

My story is only a minuscule grain of sand in a much larger epidemic. But comparatively, what if my grandson were thrust into my neighbor’s arms, whisked out of the house, and placed in a cell with other crying babies, totally separated from his mother. Seeing the fear on my grandson’s face later triggered thoughts in my mind of children at the border being separated from their families. Imagining my grandson wrapped in an aluminum blanket with no loving arms to protect him and no familiar faces to comfort him was more than my imagination could bear. It can't be easy for the families at the border.

Trump's Emergency

President Trump’s “national emergency” appears to be another attempt to obscure the severity of the consequences dealt to children who are separated from their parents at the southern border of the United States. For Trump, a "national emergency is anything he says it is . . .” according to Washington Post’s David Nakamura. The separation of children from families did not impede the immigration process, so a national emergency was declared.

Trump presumed that separating children from families would deter the immigration of persons from southern nations. But as gleaned by one observer seen on NBC, "These people [Mexican immigrants] do not have media coverage to see what is in store for them nor do they have previous knowledge of what lies ahead. Many of them have heard that America is where they will find safety and a better way of life."

The Trump administration’s family-separation policy was one phase of U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration policy. The policy was presented as a "zero-tolerance" approach intended to deter illegal immigration. It was adopted across the whole U.S.-Mexico border from April 2018 until June 2018. However, later investigations found that the practice of family separations had begun the previous year.

Infants and toddlers were among the children who were put into foster homes or shelters, often hundreds or thousands of miles away from where their parents were detained.

A Flawed Emergency

After the Trump administration announced it would end its practice of separating families last June, at least 245 children have been separated from their parents, according to a new court filing. By early June 2018, it materialized that the policy did not include measures to reunite the families that it had separated (Tal Kopan, CNN).

On June 20, 2018, President Trump signed an executive order ending family separations at the border. However, in March 2019, a government report showed that more children have been removed from their families, in some cases without clear documentation to track them in order to reunite them with their parents.

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That said, there is no easy answer to the immigration situation in America. Policies are needed to govern people’s actions and reactions. However, to separate children from families is not a policy but rather a problematic and dangerous act. The Trump administration’s cavalier response to persons of color is reprehensible. His Muslim ban, his response to Charlotville’s situation, the total disrespect for his predecessor, and his use of the phrase "shithole countries," [while] referring to Haiti and those in Africa all demonstrate a pattern of discrimination.

As of the first of 2019, the Trump administration did acknowledge that thousands of children affected by the policy remain separated from their families, and officials are uncertain of the exact number (ELLIOT SPAGAT, February 2, 2019, AP). However, according to Marian Jordan of the New York Times, the federal government reported that nearly 3,000 children were forcibly separated from their parents under last year’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy and were put into shelters or foster care.

Settlers, Colonizers, Conquerors, Immigrants

These families are being penalized for being immigrants, but, as spelled out in Mariam Webster’s Thesaurus of similar terms, immigrants are also settlers, colonizers, or conquerors. Utilizing Webster’s glossary of terms presents a very interesting scenario for the current picture. Likewise, Webster also indicates that the opposite of immigrant is native (like Native American).

With this in mind, and for the sake of a good argument, the immigrants coming from the southern border are here to settle in America, colonize America, or conquer America. Yet, the point often overlooked is the historical recorded data that substantiates the present-day European-American forefathers as settlers, colonizers, and or conquerors; thereby making them immigrants. And the native Americans were not immigrants, but just the opposite. Then again, after the colonization, settling, and or conquering of America by the Europeans, the true natives became some of the most impoverished persons in America. Be that as it may, all non-native Americans are descendants of immigrants. So now, the question begs to be asked, why all the dissonance?

The Children's Emergency

We know that very young children who are exposed to the type of trauma going on at the border can be developmentally delayed in speech, impaired in their fine motor skills, and suffer from various emotional disorders, according to Dr. Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In like manner, a new University of Michigan report on the implications of family separation on young children conveys that the trauma children experience when undergoing long-term separation from their parents is extremely detrimental to their development.

[The border children] are not provided with emotional support in the shelters, which leads them to experience extreme stress. Migrant children remain in shelters for an average of 57 days before being placed in foster care or with relatives. When children are reunited with parents, the reintegration process is sometimes difficult. Widespread videos of families being reunified have shown emotionless children, some even avoiding their parents' embrace. A number of children do not even recognize their parents upon return, which speaks to the intense trauma that these children have experienced.

A Flawed Presidency

No matter if one is a settler, colonists, or conqueror, America is a melting pot of persons from all over the globe. However, currently, America is a nation extremely divided. President Trump has done all he can within his power to increase the dissonance. He brings out some of the most distasteful characteristics among feuding adults, and he stokes the fire waiting for further demarcation.

But to willfully separate children from their parents under the guise of a national emergency is a national disgrace. Marian Webster’s Thesaurus also has similar terms for president—leader, commander, chief, and head of state—none of which define Donald Trump.

What's the real national emergency?

What's the real national emergency?

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2019 Linda Joy Johnson

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