The Trump Administration is breaking up families. It’s happening at our borders, at churches, schools, and workplaces. Toddlers are being ripped from their mother’s arms as they seek protection at the border. An overburdened system is now being bombarded as hundreds more children are sent to custody for no good reason. Mothers and fathers who have lived in the country for decades are being forced to decide whether they should leave their American children behind in the care of others for a secure and brighter future or take them with them to face a possible death sentence in a country now foreign to them. Kids are having to grow up fast as their mothers and fathers are forcibly taken away by ICE. It’s an American-made humanitarian crisis happening right in front us where children – from the toddlers at the border to Dreamers losing DACA and American-born children of immigrant parents – have become the victims in Trump’s America. Here are just a few of the stories:
Maria Vandelie de Bacstos and her 16-year-old grandson with severe epilepsy and autism arrived at a port of entry to seek asylum. Despite passing her credible fear interview she was shortly separated from her grandson and hasn’t seen him since. She is currently detained at a federal detention center in El Paso while her grandson is being held at a state-run center in Connecticut more than 2,000 miles away. It’s been ten months since the agents separated them.
Six-year old Wil watched as his father was taken away 6 months ago. Every night before bed, Will says his prayers and kisses the photos of his mom and dad and then hours later wanders out of his bunk bed and stands outside the door of his foster parents’ room, crying and saying his stomach hurts.
Marco Antonio, a father of a 3-year-old, died from suicide after agents ripped his child from his arms and separated him from his wife and child as they attempted to apply for asylum. A Border Patrol agent reported that, “they had to use physical force to take the child out of his hands.” The father yelled and kicked at the windows as he was driven to jail and attempted to escape to return to his child. He was put in solitary confinement and was seen praying in a corner throughout the night. Guards found his body in the morning.
A public defender in McAllen says some migrants are told their kids are going to be taken away briefly to bathe, and then it dawns on them hours later they aren’t coming back. Parents were given a flyer with the wrong number to call the government to find information on their kids location. The number was only recently corrected on a scrawled, hand-written note.
The stories are heartbreaking and antithetical to what unites us as Americans: our love of country and family. From the border to our neighborhoods, we must not only ask “where are the children” but how we as nation stand up against a government forcibly breaking up families. We must as nation stand up for our values and advocate for families belonging together.
On June 30, 2018, CCC hosted a Families Belong Together Vigil as part of the national Families Belong Together movement to stand up. Thank you to the over 60 people who came to the Families Belong Together Vigil to show our support for family unity regardless of immigration status, including a woman from Angola, who lives in Mexico, tearfully sharing how much this event meant to her. A very special thank you to Mayor Hickman whose speech affirmed Angola as a place that celebrates diversity, supports family unity, and advocates for progress, as well as to the interpreter, who helped us include our Spanish-speaking community members. Check out our photo album from the event on our Facebook Page.
If you want to stand up, consider signing petitions, such as those initiated by the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Family Equality Council and contacting your elected officials (https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials or https://hq-salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5950/getLocal.jsp) to send the messages families belong together—and free and the executive order that Donald Trump signed last month is not a solution to the crisis created by his administration; it keeps kids imprisoned indefinitely, and doesn’t reunite thousands of separated families. As an organization and a nation, we can continue to increase our pressure for justice, as President Trump’s executive order shows the administration is reacting to public pressure.
If you want to learn more about immigration, check out the CCC Book Club on Monday, July 9, 2018 at 6:30 PM at Carnegie Public Library 322 S Wayne St. Angola, IN 46703 to discuss The U.S. Immigration Debate and 3 Charts That Show What’s Actually Happening Along The Southern Border. We have another opportunity to get involved in discussing immigration on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at 6:30 PM at Carnegie Public Library 322 S Wayne St. Angola, IN 46703 where Daryl Emowrey, Pastor, will briefly describe a deliberative dialogue model—a method focused on building relationships and fostering communication around important issues of the day—and then lead the group in a deliberative dialogue process on immigration.