A two-year-old Honduran girl stands at the border, crying helplessly. She doesn't have much with her other than the clothes on her back and her mother in hand. Desperate for a better life, her family turns to America for solace and refuge. But it's only a matter of time before they are ripped apart from each other by men in uniform.
The White House has taken drastic measures to stop refugee families from illegally crossing the U.S-Mexico Border.
U.S. border patrol agents have separated over 2,000 children from their parents during the U.S government's six-week crackdown on illegal immigration earlier this year. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the "zero-tolerance" policy in May and warned that every family caught committing unlawful entry would be separated, with the parents subject to prosecution for federal misdemeanor.
Other bases for separation on top of illegal crossings include immigration violations, crimes committed by the parent and unverified family relationships, says a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security.
Parents who are found guilty are incarcerated in state prisons, while their children are warehoused in juvenile facilities with no clear procedure for reunification. The only resource parents are given are hotlines which they can use to try and track down their children.
Border-crossers often seek refuge in the U.S. from the gang violence and political unrest in their countries, many of which are the poorest and most murderous in the world. But it seems the Trump administration would rather these desperate families stay at home; as if to say coming to the U.S. would lend them a worse fate.
Sessions justified the policy by referencing Romans 13:1 in the bible, which was the same passage used throughout American history to defend slavery practices and oppose the American Revolution. His religious mention comes after the Catholic Church called the separation of families "immoral."
"Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is initself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak, it protects the lawful," he added.
Canadians respond to 'horrific' policy
Several Canadians are speaking out against the U.S. decision to prosecute all unauthorized migrants. Being raised on values of inclusiveness and acceptance, many citizens cannot fathom the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border:
US and Canada borders. Canada, it may cost us money but we’ll still have our morality. pic.twitter.com/MwnQborLHZ— paladine (@paladine) June 16, 2018
Canada has a rise in border crossings. People fleeing the USA. We’re considering humane ways to deal with it and protect our country. But you know what we’ll never do? Tear breastfeeding babies from Mothers or cage kids. https://t.co/thVxrN2Btw— paladine (@paladine) June 14, 2018
We have HUNDREDS pouring over the border into Canada from the US EVERY MONTH - especially in Quebec, and between border crossings - year round! We put them in hotels and dorms, get them lawyers, help them apply for asylum. We DON'T pull their kids away from them.— ArchiveCookie (@ArchiveCookie) June 18, 2018
So, it's illegal to come to your border now?— LiberalValues-Canada (@LibValuesCanada) June 17, 2018
It's illegal to ask for asylum now?
If I bring my kids to your border are you going to kidnap my kids from me?
Where does the inhumanity end?
This political PLAY...using INNOCENT KIDS...BACKFIRED!
The world is watching!!
When we all try to flee to Canada in order to escape the growing fascism in our own country, I hope they’ll welcome us as neighbors instead of ripping our kids from us and sending us back over the border to rot. #LoveThyNeighbor— Mallory Bower (@MalloryBower) June 17, 2018
Hi @AmbMacNaughton please use your position as Canada’s Ambassdor to the United States to demand the government immediately halt the policy of taking kids away from their parents at the border, and to reunite families already torn apart. Thanks. Please hurry. #cdnpoli #yyc— Ken Lima-Coelho (@KennyVLimaC) June 16, 2018
@JustinTrudeau can’t stop thinking about the kids that being ripped from their parents at the South US border. Is there anything we can do here in Canada??— Ashley Gillson (@ashley_gillson) June 17, 2018
What???? Didnt you know that here in canada's border we have full of your people crosing illegally? We dont rip your people from their kids! Should we built a wall too??? 😂😂😂— sTRUMP qui peut! (@SarahFo80034565) June 17, 2018
I can’t stop thinking about all those kids being separated from their parents. It’s horrific. What can we do? (Asking from Canada).— Patti Bacchus (@pattibacchus) June 15, 2018
Others are using the situation as an opportunity to remind Canadians that their country isn't perfect either.
Many are referencing the Indian Residential School controversy of the 19th century, which involved the government's removal of 150,000 First Nation, Inuit and Métis children from their communities.
Canadians out here, horrified by ICE separating children at the US border but 🤷🏼♀️ that Canada has more Indigenous kids in foster care right now than there was in residential schools.— Julie S. Lalonde (@JulieSLalonde) June 18, 2018
Canada Border CBSA locks up plenty of kids, some of them even Canadian born— Goldenway Immigration Canada (@GoldenwayCanada) June 17, 2018
#Canada also forcibly separated parents & children from 1876-1996 as part of the Indian Residential School System (#Indigenous kids were, according to #Canadian law, wards of the state) & yet again through the forced adoptions of the #60sScoop, which continued till the 1980s. https://t.co/8yUcnUosqo— חנה שושנה 🌈 (@hannashoshana) June 17, 2018
Still, the fact that the U.S. is committing the same indecencies gives Canadians even more of a responsibility to warn the U.S. government of the grave repercussions of separating families. The bottom line is that what's happening at the U.S.-Mexico border right now is morally wrong and things needs to change immediately.