Uncertainty for undocumented kids held in U.S. detention

World Today

Another day of uncertainty for undocumented children, held at U.S. detention centers without their parents. U.S. President Donald Trump spent the day hammering out why his administration has to “get tough” along the border.

CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez explains.

Thousands of undocumented children spent one more night in detention centers without their parents. We crossed the border and went to the town of Reynosa, about thirty minutes from the US town of McAllen. Some of the Mexicans living in this town have to cross to work and buy goods, but they couldn’t hide the pain that Trump’s immigration policies are causing throughout the region.

Maria del Rosario Carcamo is a Mexican grandmother who crosses the border frequently to buy goods and resell them in Mexico. She was at the bus station waiting for family members to pick her up. Maria was coming back from buying goods to resell in her hometown of Reynosa. “We cross the border because we have to, we need it to survive, but if that wasn’t the case, I wouldn’t cross anymore,” she said.

On the other side of the Rio Grande, they try to make sense of this zero tolerance policy and what’s doing to their families and friends. Maria teared up and hugged her grand daughter. “I get it, sometimes, we deserve some kind of punishment but taking away the children from a mother, no.”

For the Trump administration and some Americans, undocumented immigrants are a threat to public safety. Trump met with families, victims of illegal alien crimes, during their time together the US president said, “These are the American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones. The word permanently is the word you need to think about. Not one or two days but permanently separated”

The President is making reference to many undocumented families that have been forcibly separated since April of this year, as a result of his approach to illegal immigration. Some of them, asylum seekers.

For Efren Olivares a lawyer with the Texas Civil Rights Project, a non governmental organization helping these migrants, these policies transcend punishment. “That is torture of children, in my opinion, because the children are being punished for something that their parent did. And maybe what the parent did doesn’t even deserve punishment because all they’re doing is seeking asylum.”

Migrants apprehended for illegal crossing remain in detention centers, most of them wondering what happened to their children. But it’s not all bad news. Olivares has been visiting the court since the change in policy began. “Today was the first day we went in, and among the people being criminally prosecuted for the misdemeanor of illegal entry, there were no parents, there was not a single person that said, I’m a mother, I’m a father, that was separated from my child. It appears this is a consequence of a change in policy by the government.”

One family from Guatemala was reunited, more than two thousand dream of that happy ending.

The countries of the North Triangle are quite upset with Trump’s zero tolerance policy. The Foreign Ministry of El Salvador says they won’t accept deportees that have not been reunited with their children. Guatemala’s Foreign Minister is in Texas checking the status of the Guatemalan kids in detention centers and vowing to help the US government to expedite the reunification process.