Why Our Future President Should Care About Immigration

With the anticipation of the 2020 presidential elections, several Democratic candidates have announced their presidential bid. While popular names such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker have infiltrated news headlines, all seem to forget about the crisis of our immigration policy. Several have openly advocated for economic reform or ambitious environmental change. The consequences of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy are still being felt today, but the media has failed to garner enough buzz to capture the nation’s attention.


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Throughout Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, he represented himself as a “law and order” candidate as well as asserted that he would get tough on immigration. With his zero tolerance policy, he criminalized illegal border crossing which is normally considered a civil offense. When border patrol agents capture families attempting to cross the border, agents separated the children from their parents.


Photo Courtesy of Flickr


Most people’s recollection of the consequences of Trump’s policy have been embodied in the several audio clips of crying children. The crying children and mothers who have been separated rings  in our ears. Several mothers interviewed by the New York Times cite their dismay as their young children fail to recognize them at reunification or how their children internalize the separation as their parents’ true expression of their affection. These clips speak to the psychological damage that these families have had to endure simply for trying to escape the oppressive conditions of their homeland.


But since the federal judge’s block of family separation and Trump’s reversal, people, especially our politicians, have seem to have forgotten to mention the remaining children that are still separated and placed in detention centers all throughout the United States. The Department of Human Service and the Department of Homeland Security lack of communication is partially responsible for these horrific results. While the Department of Homeland Security are responsible for the border patrol agents who apprend these families, the separated children are then placed under the supervision of the D.H.S. In this two step process, both departments lacked the foresight to establish an integrated data system to keep track of the separated families. Without such a system, it is virtually impossible to reunite these families.


Photo Courtesy of The Guardian


Now, there are several reports coming out about the severe neglect these children under United States custody have endured and continue to endure. Our federal agencies and infrastructure was never meant to accommodate such a large influx of children. So far, there have been three deaths reported. Several of these deaths highlight the lack of care and attention that the children experience as many of these deaths seemed preventable.


In addition to these deaths, there has been an increase in the reporting for sexual assault cases within these detention centers. This is unacceptable. We have to remember that these are children--their citizenship status should not determine their treatment. With Democrats in control of the House, we must demand them to focus their efforts, if not all, at least some, on this crisis. The crisis is not at our southern border as Trump declared but within. All too often we forgot about ongoing crisis because the media deems them insignificant. We must demand our representatives as well as the prospective 2020 presidential candidates to take a stand and implement change.


Below are the links to the US House and Senate officials’ numbers, please call your respective representatives and demand them to make immigration a focal piece of their agenda.