EDITORIAL: End inhumane family separation

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Pascal Albright | The Daily Wildcat Old Main is the first and oldest building on the University of Arizona. The first classes were held at old main on October 1, 1891.

The current news cycle has been dominated by the stories of migrant children separated from their parents at the border. The stories are undeniably heart wrenching; the photos and audio clips, more so. 

NPR reported in a June 19 article that since May, there have been 2,342 children separated from their parents after crossing the Southern U.S. border, based on information released by the Department of Homeland Security. 

NBC News reported on June 22 that of those roughly 2,300 children, only 500 have been reunited with their families – about 21 percent. This information also came from the Department of Homeland Security. 

However, the unknown information is weightier than the known. Children are being held in shelters – The Washington Post has started trying to track where. The Post reported that there are shelters in at least 15 states, and children are sometimes taken from the border and then sent to Texas, California or even the East Coast.

Even worse, The Washington Post has explored how parents are supposed to reunite with their children, and the process is slow. Parents can be separated from their children – including very, very young children – for months, with no idea when they might get to see them again. 

This could, quite clearly, lead to severe psychological issues, especially for children. In fact, the United Nations has issued a statement saying “detention of children is punitive, severely hampers their development, and in some cases may amount to torture.” 

The UN experts continued, saying “the separations have been conducted without notice, information, or the opportunity to challenge them. The parents and children have been unable to communicate with each other. The parents have had no information about the whereabouts of their children, which is a cause of great distress. Moreover, we are deeply concerned at the long-term impact and trauma, including irreparable harm that these forcible separations will have on the children.” 

On June 20, President Donald Trump signed an executive order, saying “it is also the policy of this Administration to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.”

While family detainment is, as a whole, not something to be celebrated, it is a step up in this situation. However, issues of migration and borders remain, as does the pressing problem of what will happen to the thousands of children already separated from their parents. 

The Daily Wildcat calls for action on these problems. A recent Los Angeles Times story revealed that there is a children’s shelter just down the road from the University of Arizona — Estrella del Norte, at 1601 N. Oracle Rd. This is not a problem that does not touch campus. This is not a problem that does not concern the Tucson community.

These abhorrent actions should concern the everyone, U.S. citizen or not. The separation of children from their parents has caught the attention of the world, as it should. The U.S., for a long time, has not been the same welcoming place for the lost and downtrodden. Lately, it has been stamping on those it once pledged to shelter. 

We need to do better. This destruction of families should never have occurred, but now, we need to fix it. Make your voice heard, support those in need and criticize the perpetrators.

#KeepFamiliesTogether #EndFamilyDetention


— Editorials are determined by The Daily Wildcat Opinions Board and are written by its members. They are Editor-in-Chief Jasmine Demers, Engagement Editor Eddie Celaya, Managing Editor Marissa Heffernan and Arts & Life Editor Pascal Albright.


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