Saturday, November 17

Keeping Up With The U.S. Border Crisis & How You Can Help

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            There’s
been a crisis at the United States’ Mexican border for a while, but only
recently, it has been the focus of many a Twitter feed, podcast, blog, and even
mainstream newspaper. Children who are immigrating to the US are being
separated from their parents at the border. What exactly has been happening to
these children? There are two bleak outcomes for these children, unfortunately:
living with a foster parent in a state that is unfamiliar to them, that doesn’t
speak their native language, or stay at a camp.

            There’s
no reason to explain in more detail why separating children from their parents
at the border is problematic – it just is. No matter your stance on
immigration, this is a downright cruel act. These children are in the prime
development. This type of trauma could severely affect their mental growth.
These children will never forget this chilling moment in their lives, and their
lives will never be the same ever again. Does ICE realize the traumatic effect
that they’re ensuing on these innocent families? Probably not, and that’s why
we need to #AbolishICE.

If you’ve been keeping up, this is old news. However, there have been many updates since this story broke into the zeitgeist. Given the past track record for the Trump administration, it’s no surprise that the attack of civil and human rights didn’t end at ripping children from their families and trapping them in camps. Sadly, and unsurprisingly, it’s only gotten worse. Below are some updates on the worsening situation at the US border. Fret not – after, I’ll go over some ways in which you can help!

  1. The Sexual Abuse of Children

There’s no word to describe this besides how my body felt when I read the headline – chilling. According to The Nation, a 6-year-old girl  was sexually abused while at an Arizona detention facility run by Southwest Key Programs. She then was, “made to sign a form acknowledging that she was told to maintain her distance from her alleged abuser, who is another child being held at the same detention facility.” The poor girl was fleeing gang violence in Guatemala. She ran from violence right into abuse, that will only create further trauma for her. Southwest key claims that they’re going to be implementing new policy so that this type of thing won’t happen again, but I doubt that.

     2.  Parents Unknowingly Signed Away Rights for Family Reunification

You may have seen this
horrific development in the news. If you just saw the headline, Pod Save
America interviewed Vox’s Senior Immigration Reporter Dara
Lind
to get the full breakdown.

It all stemmed from
the self-imposed deadline from the administrations, and requirements that make
parents “not eligible for reunification”. They set a date that was a goal to
have all children under five reunited with their families. Things were – and still
aren’t – looking like that deadline would be met. At the day of the deadline,
something to the tune of 1500 children were reunited with their families. There
were still, however, around 750 children not reunited because their parents
were “not eligible for reunification”. The parent is not eligible if they’ve
already been deported, are still in detainment awaiting trial or simply cannot
be found.

Most parents who have been reunited have already had an order for deportation place don them. They then have to decide whether they want to bring their children with them, or if they want their children to stay. Parents are unknowingly signing the right to see their children in this catch-22 decision, because this question is presented to them via a form after the trial with little to no native language translation. Most of the time, when the form has been presented, the latter has already been checked off for them, and they unknowingly sign up to leave without their children. The decision has been made for them, and they’re not allowed to say goodbye to their children on top of that.

    3.  “Icebox Cage” with 60 Girls

According to Bloomberg, a teenage girl who was forcibly taken from her mother after attempting to flee to the US from El Salvador is now telling the story of being crammed into a windowless room with 60 other girls, deprived of food and rest for three days. In case you were wondering how (not) humane the conditions of these camps….. here’s your answer. According to an affidavit, the girls of ages ranging between three and 20 years old weren’t told when they would see their parents again.

    4.  Ivanka Trump Claims that this is “one of the Darkest Parts” of her Time in the White House

You don’t say? Admittedly, I was surprised
when I got this news alert at first. I know that in the beginning of this fever
dream there was a huge “save Ivanka” push from ladies of the left, saying that
they knew she wasn’t supportive of everything
her putrid father did. Before he officially took office, our sentiment was that
there’s still time to leave everything behind and some to the right side of
history (the left side). I lost hope in her, however, once she let everything
that’s happened since January 2016 go through. If you stay silent, you’ve
chosen the side of the oppressor.

After knowing the current situation and
the subsequent updates, you’re hopefully you’re inspired to act by now.
Luckily, there was a good amount of action when the news first broke. During
the last Saturday in June 2018, over 600 “Families Belong Together” marches
occurred across the country. One was even strategically placed on the Mexican
border in El Paso, Texas.

These marches were to support the Keep Families
Together
act. You can still support this act, however, by calling your local
legislature
. You can always, of course, donate / get involved with noble, related
causes:

This issue will not go away overnight, so it’s never too
late to act. If you have yet to call your representative, donate or volunteer,
the time is now. Be resilient in this resistance!

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About Author

Nikki Vergakes is a 22-year-old writer, podcaster and PR Specialist. She enjoys writing and making content for digital media. She also dedicates her time to political activism. She'll take any chance she gets to combine the two. In her free time, she takes a break from the computer with... the computer. She enjoys deep-diving into memes, YouTube videos, Netflix originals and vine compilations (no wonder her glasses prescription is so high!) She does run half marathons and hikes occasionally, however, so she does get outside. E-mail her with tips, story ideas, ways to collaborate on digital content and any YouTube drama!

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