NO, OBAMA DID NOT MAKE IT A LAW TO SEPARATE FAMILIES, AND OTHER THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW

by contributor Bronson Soza

On May 7th, 2018, Trump established a zero-tolerance policy in regards to illegal immigration. As part of this policy, thousands of children have been separated from their families and are currently being held in detention facilities without their parents. Over the past week, countless Americans have displayed their disgust towards the treatment of these families at our borders. Contrarily, many conservatives and Trump supporters have gone on to defend the practice . 

Below, I have compiled some of the most common arguments I have seen made by  people in support of Trump's policy and will be addressing their faults.

“Obama had been separating families during his presidency, this is nothing new.”

Obama has long been the scapegoat for a plethora of distasteful political actions. This claim is similar to other instances like these in that Trump and his supporters fail to realize the context of Obama’s “separation of families.” Under Obama and his administration, there is no doubt that occasionally families were separated; however, this was never an explicit goal, nor did it happen with the same frequency and intention of Trump’s new policy. Where cases of separation during the Obama era were mostly for the wellbeing of the children (e.g. those who may have been trafficked in), Trump has made it a goal to separate as many families as possible regardless of whether the child was endangered by their family or not.

 

“Illegal immigrants are mooching off of the government and costing us Americans more money.”

Current legal immigrants are not entitled to certain government services until they have been citizens for 5 years, so to claim that illegal immigrants receive government assistance to the extent that some argue is just absurd. While illegal Immigrants have access to a handful of services, they still don’t have access to services such as Medicare, welfare, food stamps, and social security to name a few. In fact, it has been found that the tax dollars of immigrants both legal and illegal greatly benefit American citizens and government services.

“The influx of illegal immigrants is increasing crime rates.” 

This has been disproved by multiple studies, 4 of which are touched upon by Morning Edition. I recommend you listen to the segment here on the NPR Website.

“They should have come legally.”

First, we must address the fact that some of the families being separated aren’t even coming with the intention of illegal immigration, but rather in search of asylum. In order to seek asylum, one must arrive at the border and request asylum. However, Trump has gone on to include these people in his zero-tolerance immigration policy as well, giving no exception for asylum seekers. These people are coming from areas where their lives are in danger, and the fact that they walk through the desert for days and are willing to risk their lives shows their desperation. Trump stated that, "The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility… Not on my watch.” But why is this? It seems rather xenophobic and unsympathetic to deny these people even a chance at asylum. 

“The kids are being cared for.”

Are you sure about that? Countless images have come to light of these holding facilities, cages lined with thin mats and foil blankets, all crowded with children unaccompanied by their parents. Witness accounts have even gone on to describe how the older children have had to care for the younger ones, with the director of migrant rights at the Women's Refugee Commission, Michelle Brane, describing how one girl had to teach others how to change a baby's diaper.

Because Trump has recently put a halt to the separation of families, many wonder why this is still being treated as an issue. The problem is that him and his supporters use this as a point of praise and a demonstration of his supposed humanity when he was the very one that implemented the explicit separation of families this spring. Not only that, but Trump has made zero effort to unify those who have already been separated.

How does this fix anything? These kids are still traumatized. At the end of the day, these families are still separated.

Children don't belong in cages, they belong with their families, no matter what country they come from.

Emily Blake