separating children border

What Is Going On Down By the Border

If you're confused, let's unpack all of this

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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. Normally, when undocumented immigrants are detained, the government has the choice to either submit them for deportation hearings or 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 for 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. Prosecution is time consuming and expensive.

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 and families could be kept together. Instead, children are separated from their parents, and sent to the office of refugee resettlement housing. Because the police was announced without anytime 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 twenty children in rooms described as cage like. 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 interview said that they haven't been told where they are taking their kids and some parents have even been lied to, saying their children were being taken away for a bath. 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 because the Trump Administration doesn't have clear policy on how the children will be reunited. Trump has said he will sign an executive order to stop separating children, but hasn't explain how children who have already been separated will be reunited. A lot of people on social media and press have made connections to the situation to events in history including slavery when families were separated during slave auctions, or during the holocaust when parents and children were separated in camps, as well as the Japanese internment camps in world war two as a response to Pearl Harbor. George Takei, who had been moved to an internment camp at age five even said, "At least during the internment of Japanese-Americans, I and other children were not stripped from our parents"

The connections are quite scary, but according to Webster's dictionary, a concentration camp is .a camp where persons (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, or refugees) are detained or confined, and currently the children that are separated could be considered political prisoners since Trump has alluded to using them as leverage against congress and mexico to fund the wall. Since May, 2342 children have been separated. Trump signed an executive order to stop further separation of children at the border however, there is nothing in the policy that covers how the administration plans to reunite families if they even plan to. Currently, there are shelters across fifteen different states in the U.S. that are housing the separated children.

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PBS / YouTube

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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A Message To High School Seniors

It's going to be alright.

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Dear High School Seniors,

You've made it! In just a few months you will be getting ready to put on your cap and gown and walk across the stage to get your diploma. Soon, you're gonna say goodbye to the life you've known for the past four years and start a new life somewhere else. At this point, your senioritis has most likely already kicked in and you're probably dreading waking up at 7 a.m. more and more each day. The second semester of senior year is annoying but cherish every moment of it.

Everything is about to change. As you walk down the hallways look around. Take a second to look at your classmates and ask them how their day is going. Learn about them and the stories they have to share with the world. Everybody has some advice to give and you never know what you're going to learn. Before you know it, you won't be seeing their faces anymore. The only form of connection you'll have with most of them is through social media which will eventually fade as well. You don't want your only memories of those you graduated with to be just seeing their face in the hall.

Go to the places you love the most. Whether it's your favorite hometown restaurant or your favorite place to hang out with your friends, go. Go until you're sick of it. Take a second to acknowledge the sights and smells around you. You're going to miss them. In a few months, you won't be able to jump in your car and drive five minutes to get there. The places that make your home your home are about to be a long car ride or flight away.

Spend time with your family. This is one thing I wish I realized earlier more than anything. Your parents are most likely going to soon become visibly upset or scared at the fact that you're leaving them. After all, you are their little girl or boy. This time is just as stressful for them as it is for you. But don't make fun of them, hang out with them. You're going to miss the once dreaded trips to the grocery store with your mom and the annoying car rides with your little brother. You really don't realize how important your family is to you until they're not a few footsteps away anymore. Unfortunately, no amount of facetime calls will ever compare to being with them in person. Don't leave home wishing you had spent more time with them.

Be involved in the things happening at your school. Go to prom. Buy a yearbook and get as many people as you can to sign it. Go to the football, basketball, baseball and soccer games you have left. These activities may seem boring at times but they are what you're going to miss. When you get to a big university it isn't going to be as easy to get involved.

Get excited about for the future. Even if you're not going to your dream school, it's going to be ok. The second semester of my senior year I spent upset over the fact I was going to stay at an in-state school. The school I'm at now was the last place I had thought about attending. I almost didn't even apply. However, I am so lucky that I did. I truly can not imagine there being a school that could have been a better choice for me. The people I have met and the opportunities I have been given would have never been put in front of me if I had attended another school. Try to keep an open mind. Everything really does happen for a reason. If you aren't going to the school you originally were hoping to, don't stress. You're going to end up at the place right for you, at least I know I did.

College is amazing but there will always be something special about your home. Make sure you make these last few months your best months. These next few months will be filled with a whole lot of lasts and followed by a whole lot of firsts. Good luck!

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