Children Are Innocent
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Children Are Innocent

How Trump's immigration laws are unfair—especially to children–and shouldn't be justified.

Children Are Innocent

Being of Latin origin, I do not intend to write this article with a biased perspective. I intend to demonstrate how the actions of ICE are wrong and how the mishandling of situations creates a negative view for the public. Although Republicans want illegal immigrants out, this is not the correct way to deal with the situation and should be handled as adults would.

Up until now, I didn't really pay attention to all these immigration actions and politics, because I mostly keep my opinions to myself. It doesn't feel right to bring up politics in my family because we all are very opinionated. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when a post caught my attention. Labeled "Phone Call From Child In Immigration To Aunt", I clicked on it. What I heard was heartbreaking. A little girl was crying to her aunt to get her out of the center. She was as old as my sister and that touched me even more. What if my sister had been stripped away? Not only from me but from my mom? My little brother? Even if we are citizens, just the mere fact of being Latino scares us all. Assumptions are being made.

I remember the day my sister came home crying, saying that a girl in her school told her in front of everyone that "Trump was going to remove us all from this country" and that "we should be careful". I was not only infuriated by this child who should watch her mouth but mad at the fact that the school didn't do anything about it. After that episode, my sister was constantly bullied.

I thought to myself "How could the men and women of our nation allow government could do this to children who have no fault in the actions of their parents?" To the women in our government, do you not have kids? Do you not worry when they're home late? When they don't pick up the phone? That one day, they're there and the next, they disappear? Small instances like the supermarket and a child going missing drive moms crazy. Imagine not seeing them for a long time after you've been told they're going away for a little bit? Or maybe never even see them again.

The children should at least be kept with the parents. No matter how much the Trump supporters and Republicans want immigration out, they are letting hate and anger cloud their emotions. What if they were their kids? Would they like them mistreated and separated from their parents' sides?


From 1840 to 1920, nearly 40 million immigrants arrived in the United States, most through the processing center at Ellis Island. This great wave doubled our young country's population and helped to shape our national identity. The United States began regulating immigration soon after it won independence from Great Britain and the laws enacted since have reflected the politics and migrant flows of the times. Early legislation tended to impose limits that favored Europeans, but a sweeping 1965 law opened doors to immigrants from other parts of the world. In more recent years, laws and presidential actions have been shaped by concerns about refugees, unauthorized immigration, and terrorism.

In 1986, Congress enacted another major law—the Immigration Reform and Control Act. It granted legalization to millions of unauthorized immigrants, mainly from Latin America, who met certain conditions. The law also imposed sanctions on employers who hired unauthorized immigrants. Subsequent laws in 1996, 2002, and 2006 were responses to concerns about terrorism and unauthorized immigration. These measures emphasized border control, prioritized enforcement of laws on hiring immigrants, and tightened admissions eligibility.

In April, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a "zero tolerance" policy for illegal border crossing. ICE began separating children from families of immigrants who crossed the border illegally, sending the children to immigrant detention centers and the parents to jails, awaiting criminal prosecution. When undocumented immigrants are detained, the government has the choice to either submit them for deportation hearings or to prosecute them for unlawful entry, which is considered a misdemeanor.


Deportation is an administrative process and families are kept together. It's fast and inexpensive. Prosecution, on the other hand, is a criminal process. When an immigrant is prosecuted, they are charged with a crime and sent to a jail to await trial. Unlike an immigration detention center where an immigrant and their family would go if they were awaiting a deportation hearing, jails do not offer family housing. Anyone prosecuted is separated from their family.

Before the policy change, previous administrations would prosecute people who committed serious crimes or felony offenses, and families that crossed the border would just be deported. Families could be kept together. Instead, children are separated from their parents and sent to the office of refugee resettlement housing. Because the police were announced without any time for preparations, the office of refugee resettlement is unable to keep up with the increased workflow of finding family members and sponsors for the children.

The conditions for the children have been described as bleak. The detention centers where children are allowed to legally be kept at for a maximum of three days are overcrowded with up to 2 children in rooms described as cage-like. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? They are given bags of chips and a few water bottles, as well as thin mats and foil blankets as bedding. Normally, a detention center would be for older unaccompanied minors but isn't fit for younger children. Parents who had been interviewed said that they hadn't been told where they are taking their kids. Some parents have even been lied to, saying that their children were being taken away for "a bath". Sound familiar?

Because there is so much overcrowding, tent cities in the desert have been built almost overnight for children, and reporters have not been given access. At this moment, it's unknown if these children will be reunited with their families. The Trump Administration doesn't have a clear policy on how the children will be reunited. Trump has said that he will sign an executive order to stop separating children but hasn't explained how children who have already been separated will be reunited. Imagine not knowing if your child is alive? Not to mention what could happen to those defenseless little girls. Has anyone about the fact that they even take away infants?

A lot of people on social media and press have made connections between the situation and events in history including slavery (when families were separated during slave auctions), the Holocaust (when parents and children were separated in camps), and the Japanese internment camps of WWII in response to Pearl Harbor. There has always been a connection between Trump and Hitler. Both are not only causing fear to gain power but ruining innocent lives to prove a point.

George Takei, a child who had been moved to an internment camp here in the United States during the world wars at age five even said, "At least during the internment of Japanese-Americans, I and other children were not stripped from our parents."

Although I do not support the actions of ICE, I understand the reason they would think to remove certain immigrants. Not ALL are bad and not ALL are guilty. I believe there should be a specific and better way to handle this situation. Immigrants shouldn't be labeled specifically towards the Hispanic community. We, as the generation who has power to control our future, to speak and be heard, who has all the mass media connections, should do something about this situation—not just for adults, but for the children. After we are gone, they are the ones to influence our country. They will be making the change.

We are the spark and we should ignite.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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