Washington Post quoted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as saying that the US government’s “zero tolerance” policy towards illegal immigration at the US-Mexico border resulted in the separation of thousands of families.
545 children from illegal immigrant families did not find their parents.
When these children separated from their parents three years ago, some were still babies.
“Zero tolerance” policy 5,500 families separated
The phenomenon of illegal entry into the southern border of the United States has always been serious, and immigrants usually bring their children into the United States to apply for immigration asylum.
The previous practice of the US government was to accept illegal immigrant families first, register them and release them. These illegal immigrants will be decided to stay in court in a few months.
But in fact, most of the released families will not appear in court. They quickly disappeared in the crowd with their children, staying in the United States illegally for a long time.
“Washington Post” report, in April 2018, in order to combat this phenomenon, the US Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice introduced a “zero tolerance” policy to prosecute the adults in these illegal immigrant families for the crime of illegally crossing the border.
US law while the indicted parents are detained at the immigration center awaiting judgment, minors are not allowed to be detained with their parents, so the children are sent alone to the US Department of Health and Human Services Retention Center.
Only after the parents are released can they regain custody of their children. However, many parents are directly sent back to their home countries after the trial, but their children are stranded in the United States.
Lee Grint of the American Civil Liberties Union told the story of one of the children.
A 4-year-old boy from Honduras wears glasses. Before being separated from his parents, the little boy had a spectacle case to protect his spectacles from damage. This is his most precious thing.
He knew that if the glasses were broken, his parents had no money to buy him another pair. But when the little boy and his parents were forced to separate, he did not have time to take away the glasses case.
“The boy’s mother thinks every day, can my child see it, and whether his glasses will break.” Grint said, “Every child has a story, and every story is heartbreaking.”
Based on reports from many US media, before the “zero tolerance” policy was introduced, the US Department of Homeland Security implemented a one-year pilot program in 2017, resulting in the forced separation of 1,030 children from their parents; the “zero tolerance” policy
After the official launch, from April 19 to May 31, 2018, more than 2,000 children were separated from their parents in just over a month; in 2017 and 2018, a total of nearly 5,500 families were separated .
Violation of human rights law enforcement agencies ruthless
In early October, the “New York Times” disclosed a shocking document. Documents show that in May 2018, the then U.S.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions told prosecutors in a conference call: “We want to take our children away from their parents, no matter how young they are.
if these parents If you really care, you won’t bring your children into the United States illegally, and we won’t give these parents amnesty.”
The ruthless methods of law enforcement agencies have aroused widespread criticism in the United States and around the world. People from all walks of life generally believe that the use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent method violates human rights standards.
In response to this inhumane phenomenon, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in the California District Court. In June 2018, the judge ruled that parents and children should be reunited within 30 days. After the ruling was issued, thousands of children returned to their parents. But of the children separated during the pilot project three years ago, 545 have yet to find their parents.
“Unreachable” parents find it difficult to find the way
The British “Guardian” pointed out that in order to speed up the repatriation, American law enforcement officers ignored many necessary steps. Some cases did not even record the original address of the deportees, so that they could not find the parents of these children for three years. In court documents, these parents were marked as “unreachable.”
Since June 2018, a team of civil rights lawyers and non-profit organizations has been assigned by the court to search for the whereabouts of the children’s parents in Central American countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico. Nan Shiwen, the legal director of the team, told the Washington Post that what these human rights defenders are doing is a “hard and time-consuming job.”
The only information the staff has on hand are those names that may be misspelled in court documents, or phone numbers that are no longer needed. They are going to remote mountainous areas, sometimes passing through gang-controlled sites.
The language barrier is also a big problem in the search work. The locals basically communicate in Mayan language, and they have a natural hostility towards outsiders.
With the global outbreak of the new crown epidemic this year, searching has become more difficult. In order to control the spread of the epidemic, most countries in Central America have closed their countries and cities, and search has been interrupted.
Human rights defender Dora Melara told a radio station in San Francisco: “The epidemic has forced our work to stop completely.”