In the News: Detention Centers
By Emma Coyle
This weekend Trump has once again denied that there is a policy that separates children from their parents as they enter the country. Yet, it was reported last month by the New York Times that hundreds of children have been separated from their parents. The Department of Homeland Security has a fact sheet detailing this, if it is assumed that the parents entered the country illegally. This is part of the Zero Tolerance Policy which was revealed by Jeff Sessions in May (approximately six weeks ago). This policy claims that all individuals who entered the country through illegal channels, even those seeking asylum, are criminals and to be detained. The United States systemically separates detained criminals from their children and has been doing so for many years. By classifying all asylum seekers as criminals they are, in fact, setting up the conditions to ensure that families are separated.
Anyone who went to public school in the United States is familiar with zero tolerance policies, which have been proven to be the cause of more problems than the solution to eliminating unwanted behavior in students. Richard R. Verdugo says that zero tolerance policies “raise serious questions about race/ethnicity and social class in American public schools, especially in urban schools where zero-tolerance policy sanctions are more likely to be applied to ethnic/racial minority and poor students” in his study Race-Ethnicity, Social Class, and Zero-Tolerance Policies The Cultural and Structural Wars. So, not only are zero tolerance policies proven to be ineffective, but also affect minority individuals with more frequency and harshness.
The same goes for the Trump administration’s Zero Tolerance Immigration Policy. It is likely to affect people of color who are entering the county illegally more frequently than white immigrants seeking asylum. No matter who it affects, it is an abhorrent policy that will have lasting effects on all those who are its victims. It is only made worse by its bias against those who have been historically ill-treated by the US Government.
Not only is this policy being enacted upon those who are already lacking in privilege, but the conditions that they are kept in are inhumane. Border control spokespeople have admitted the accuracy of the detention centers being described as “cages” during a CBS This Morning report and members of the Trump administration have gone on the record saying that they lost more than a thousand children who had been detained (so far). This is clearly unacceptable and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad has called for the practice to stop.
This policy has been widely criticized by everyone from former White House Communications Director Anthony Scarimucci to United States Bishops from the Catholic Church to Holocaust Survivors like Yoka Verdoner who says that “we can expect thousands of lives to be damaged, for many years or [forever]” by this policy.