Why Were Families Separated?

June 29, 2018

June was a significant month in terms of the United States’ immigration policy. The US government decided to separate children from their parents if they were caught crossing the border illegally. Immigration authorities sent parents to jail, while their children, labeled unaccompanied minors, were sent to government care centers or foster care around the country. Almost two thousand children were separated from their parents in April and May alone.

Why was this policy implemented? The Trump administration claims it was meant to discourage illegally crossing the United States border. Historically, if someone crossed the border for the first time, they were detained and, after a court hearing, usually deported. Now, crossing the border is deemed a criminal offense, which means those caught doing so are sent to jail. The children of these parents are then sent to government care centers as they cannot be sent to jail.

The decision has caused a huge uproar across the country—many protestors find the decision to be cruel and un-American. They believe that separating families doesn’t solve the real issue of immigration and that turning away people seeking asylum from dangerous conditions in their own countries is inhumane.

Bowing to pressure, President Trump, who had previously said he had no control over this decision, signed an executive order to allow families to remain together.