In just one week, Trump reversed his earlier executive order with a new one - backing down from his original child separation and imprisonment policy because of the mobilization of millions of people across the U.S. His new reversal order keeps children with their parents in detention centers, but still criminalizes and detains them indefinitely. Currently, children are only allowed to be in detention centers for a maximum of 20 days, but since their parents can be detained indefinitely, children would still be forced to leave their parents after 20 days. Trump’s administration is seeking to extend the legal time limit on children being in detention with their parents, and right now they are deploying military prosecutors to the border to expedite the convictions and deportations of those crossing the border. Families’ and children’s lives on the border are being used as a bargaining chip to build his promised Border Wall and a new harsher immigration system that has already devastated the lives of millions.
Separating children from their parents is illegal, immoral and unethical. It has been happening in immigration and criminal courts for years, both on the borders and in the interior, without due process. Family separation has been used as a threat by ICE agents against undocumented immigrants to coerce them into signing self-deportation papers or to scare them from asserting their rights or a legal defense. Recent reports also revealed that children taken away from their parents in immigration detention facilities have suffered abuse, trauma and have also been released to child traffickers due to the lack of protection received by the Foster Care System and Health and Human Services Agencies that were supposed to ensure their safety and well-being.
Trump’s original executive order this week laid bare his dehumanizing anti-immigrant ideology, tearing children out of the arms of their parents, criminalizing their families, and imprisoning even infants in cages along the U.S. Mexico border and across 17 states in the interior. While families in detention have already been violently separated by immigration courts, this new phase of “zero tolerance” border enforcement now criminalizes ALL people crossing the border, including many potential refugees (both economic and political) and asylum seekers. This will only ramp up the profit-driven militarization of the border and the building of more private prisons and detention facilities at the cost of millions in taxpayer dollars going directly into the pockets of military and prison corporations.
Trump has turned what used to be a mere civil offense into a crime, creating a new pipeline on the border into the prison system, once again targeting people of color and working families. Trump’s new enforcement scheme continues his scapegoating of immigrants as the problem of U.S. society, when it is the decaying system of US imperialism and his own ego-driven racism and fascism that are to blame for the country’s ills. Children and families migrating to the U.S. doubly suffer by having to leave their families, communities, and home countries devastated by neoliberal economic underdevelopment and imperialist wars and military aggression. They are then subjected to border violence, additional family separation trauma, and inhumane detention conditions, when they arrive in the U.S. and are met with a highly militarized instead of a humanitarian response.
In our home countries, it is working poor peasants, farmers, and workers and their families who suffer under neoliberal economic and trade policies like NAFTA and APEC, which are forced upon underdeveloped countries by powerful elites, multinational corporations, and their government allies. With few options for survival at home, many of these forced migrants cannot fathom leaving their children or parents behind, so they travel as a family to escape wars and military occupation, lifeless local economies, underground narcotics and gangsterism, and political repression, becoming susceptible to labor traffickers, coyotes, and human smugglers just to live. Fleeing these unbearable conditions, they then face the boot of military and police agents who enforce the power and privilege of the wealthy, both in the privatized urban centers of their homelands and on the borders and interior of first world nations.
In less than 2 years during his presidential candidacy and administration, Trump has tried to justify his anti-migrant policies by dehumanizing immigrants as “animals,” “criminals,” “rapists,” “drug smugglers,” “child-traffickers,” “terrorists,” coming from our homelands, some of which he infamously called “shitholes.” He has now shown himself as the ugliest face of the rising xenophobia, racism, narrow nationalism, and protectionism spreading across Western Europe. What those host countries saw as a “migration crisis” for themselves in 2015 was actually a humanitarian crisis for the more than 1 million forced migrants and displaced people caused by the imperialist wars being waged upon the people of Syria, Yemen, and the surrounding region.
The U.S. and other imperialist powers are directly responsible for the life-threatening conditions which give the tens of thousands of forced migrants crossing borders every day no choice but to take this challenge head on. Trump’s policies of “zero tolerance,” “prevention through deterrence,” and “extreme vetting” at our nation’s borders will not resolve this crisis, but such pronouncements merely expose his administration’s cruel, extreme and fascist enforcement and support of the existing order, while trying to normalize these attacks on our communities and see how much repression they can get away with.
All of this, and especially Trump’s most recent immigration enforcement executive orders, have awakened the moral outrage of all people with any sense of human decency. There are already calls for the United Nations to investigate this latest Trump attack on the human rights of children and people entering the U.S., prompting the Trump administration to suspend its membership on the UN Human Rights Council. Trump is increasingly isolating the U.S. from international standards on human rights, environmental responsibility, and migrant rights in particular. While we continually uphold and fight to advance the rights of asylum seekers, migrants, and refugees in the face of watered down projects like the UN’s Global Forum on Migration and Development and the new Global Compact for “Safe, Regular, and Orderly” Migration (GCM), we also hold the US government and all countries and their enforcement agents accountable for their daily human rights violations against forced migrants and refugees.
IMA-USA has supported the growing resistance across the US against the unnecessary ICE detention centers including the calls to shut down various facilities for their inhumane treatment of detainees and deportees. We have opposed the political targeting of immigrant rights activists like Maru Mora-Villalpando by ICE agents and spoken out against the detention, torture, and deportation of Philippine human rights activist Jerome Aba by Customs and Border Protection agents at SFO. We have mobilized here and internationally to decry the state-sponsored violence against the people of Mexico and Central America crossing both Mexican borders, and we connect and expose the historical exploitation of the “braceros” in U.S. labor camps to the labor trafficking of forced migrant workers today, implicating U.S. corporate profit interests and their government supporters in the political crisis that has exploded this past week.
As the African American, Japanese American, and Indigenous Peoples across the U.S. have connected this latest fascist Trump attack to their own historical experiences of slavery, violent family separation, kidnapping, child imprisonment, trauma, and abuse, we stand with all oppressed peoples in the U.S. and around the world who are disgusted with this latest enforcement tactic that the people have resisted and scaled back. We will not stop fighting until all families, and especially children, are no longer detained and treated as criminals for merely seeking to survive. As we have supported the resistance against the Muslim Ban, shutting down international airports across the country, we call on all people to mobilize again in the streets and on the border against the inhumane immigration, customs and border enforcement of Trump’s fascist administration.
Until the attacks on our communities, in our homelands, on the borders, and in the interior of the U.S. stop, we will militantly resist this violence on migrants, families, and children and on all working people seeking a better life and a better world for us all. Join us in the streets on June 30th, at the border on July 2nd, and also at the World Social Forum on Migration and at the 4th General Assembly of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) in Mexico City, November 4-7, 2018 to continue to build the international grassroots movement of migrants and refugees.
No to Child Imprisonment or Family Separation!
No to Forced Migration!
Stop criminalization of migrants and refugees!
Stop arrest, detention, and deportation of migrants!
Uphold and Implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families!