Reyna Lopez, contributor
Imagine: you’ve been walking miles and miles, running and hiding. Quenching every thrist you have behind your throat because every drop counts on this trip. Carrying a pocket knife with you so the men do not rob you of your items and dignity. Now imagine you go through the roughest trip all on your own. Imagine you are only 10 years old. You go through all this just to get thrown behind a fence and labeled a criminal. You are only 10.
Children are getting abused and neglected. They are not being given proper care in immigration detention centers. This is caused by the Trump administration and the ridiculous immigration laws he has approved. We can fix this if we tell everyone to spread awareness, to vote, and to be part of something greater than yourself.
Why are there children in these sorts of facilities? Especially after the new law of “Zero Tolerance”, families can and will be separated to be tried separately; so, children are held liable. Under any circumstances, if you do not have the identification that allows you to be in the US, you are considered to be subject to ICE and can be detained then and there. This also includes children.
“They look innocent, they are not innocent,” said Donald Trump. If you are at the border, you can be killed by the people taking you across, and you can get detained for attempting to get asylum. People stay in asylum for weeks, months waiting for approval of a hearing. Most of the time, they are sent back to where they came from, but since ICE likes to be inhumane, they keep them for as long as they wish, even after the stay period is over. This also applies to the Zero Tolerance Policy.
This brings me to talk about the Flores Settlement. As mentioned by the Human Rights First, a nonprofit organization, “the government is required to release children from immigration detention without unnecessary delay in order of preference, beginning with parents and including other adult relatives as well as licensed programs willing to accept custody. With respect to children for whom a suitable placement is not immediately available, the government is obligated to place children in the “least restrictive” setting appropriate to their age and any special needs. The government is required to implement standards relating to the care and treatment of children in immigration detention.”
Kids are not meant to be kept in those kinds of facilities.
In this past year, there have been nearly 5,000 reports of sexual assault to unaccompanied children by the staff at these facilities of inhumane hell, according to Matthew Haag, a reporter for the New York Times. Jonathan H. Hayes, the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, (O.R.R) stated the reports did not require the attention of ORR, but the most serious cases were dealt with accordingly. Nearly 1,475 kids have gone missing; these kids were part of a sponsorship program after seeking asylum, states Amy Wang a reporter for the Washington Post.
So, what needs to happen?
First, become educated on ICE and know your rights and the rights of those that are not from here. The House of Representatives should get rid of ICE’s current policies and reevaluate who they target. Or, they should getting rid of it completely and finding a new structure of how to handle undocumented immigrants, as opposed to handling them all as if every scenario is the same.
And what can you do now? Vote. Spread awareness. Donate. You are welcome to join any movement that is bigger than you, now let us help those who are will run this future. We have to learn about current policies, and we need to research ways to help these kids, because families should not be separated and tormented for seeking asylum.