Providing the opportunity for these families to seek permanent legal status is the first step for our country to repair the long-term damage caused by one of the darkest anti-immigration acts in history.
U.S. officials in recent months have been announcing plans to remedy the injustice of the “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that resulted in thousands of children being taken from their parents at the Mexican border.
Announcements have been made, only to be taken back a few days later.
The official White House stand on the issue was made public in late January when U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas confirmed to NBC News the administration supports granting a pathway to citizenship to the immigrant families affected by the policy.
That is the fair and right move.
Providing the opportunity for these families to seek permanent legal status is the first step for our country to repair the long-term damage caused by one of the darkest anti-immigration acts in history. Fixing this wrong is something the affected families deserve and is moral action the country needs to take.
Still working on reunification
The zero-tolerance policy was approved in May 2018 by a show of hands in a meeting with senior advisers to then-President Donald Trump. The cruel tactic was meant to scare and discourage immigrant families from crossing the border by punishing them with a nightmare scenario. Under mounting pressure, including from members of his own party — not to mention large public protests across the country — Trump signed an executive order, reversing the policy about a month later.
The policy was short-lived, but the damage done throughout those few weeks remains.
Hundreds of children have not seen their parents in almost four years, and the children who have been reunited with their parents have shown severe trauma symptoms.
“The Trump Administration’s ‘zero-tolerance’ family separation policy was a moral stain on our nation that medical experts have characterized as government-sanctioned child abuse,” as Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said. “Simply put, thousands of babies, infants and children were forcibly removed from their parents to create a stark warning to any others seeking refuge in our country. And years later, many families remain separated.”