Donald Trump’s war on immigrant children and families began almost as soon as he took office:
- On January 27, 2017, seven days after he swore to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Trump signed an executive order banning foreign nationals from seven largely Muslim countries from visiting the US for 90 days. That ban faced a series of challenges in courts and a number of changes were made before the Supreme Court allowed a third version of the ban to go into full effect on December 4, 2017. The travel ban affects thousands of people including refugees and has produced numerous stories of families split and torn apart.
- On September 5, 2017, Trump ordered an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. That program, enacted during the Obama administration, allowed qualifying children brought to the US illegally to remain in the country and granted them the right to work legally. Trump has flip-flopped on the issue repeatedly and the continuing debates among the Trump administration, Congress, the courts, and several Republican-led states mean that the prospects for the program remain in question. In the meantime, almost 700,000 immigrant children, many of them gainfully employed (including an estimated 9,000 educators) are left to deal with the stress, anxiety and reality of an uncertain future.
- On Friday April 6, 2018, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions announced a new “zero-tolerance” policy for prosecuting illegal entry to the US that substantially increased the separation of parents and their children at the US-Mexico border. That new policy was met by growing criticism from some quarter in the US (including from Catholic, Jewish and other faith leaders) as well as from international leaders, the UN and the Pope. Ironically, this week, on World Refugee Day, Trump signed another executive order that stops the practice of separating children from their parents, but leaves the “zero-tolerance” policy in effect. More, the order does nothing to reunite separated families.
To shed some light on the development and consequences of Trump’s war on immigrant children and families, below, we provide links to a series of articles that describe events leading up to the announcement of the “zero-tolerance” policy (The Guardian also provides a compendium of their own reporting on the issues). For background on refugee and migrant children and education see also “6 things to know about refugee children and education” from the Global Partnership for Education and “Educating Migrant Children in Shelters: 6 Things to Know” from Education Week.
Most importantly, a post from Slate – “Here’s how you can help fight family separation at the border” – provides links to a variety of legal and humanitarian organizations that are working to support immigrant families and refugees.
The evolution of the practice of separating immigrant children from their families
Quartz, April 28, 2018: The truth about the immigrant caravan: What it is and why it’s coming to the US
AP, May 2, 2018: Tensions simmer in Mexico as asylum seekers wait at border
Politico, May 7, 2018: Trump administration to step up family separation at the border
CBS, May 29, 2018: Tension grows as hundreds of children are separated from parents at the border
New York Times, June 16, 2018: How Trump Came to Enforce a Practice of Separating Migrant Families
Thomas Hatch & Jordan Corson