I Ask Myself
Die Trennung von illegalen Migrantenfamilien sollte der Abschreckung dienen. Doch diese Art der Einwanderungspolitik ist grausam und unmenschlich.
Amy Argetsinger on taking children from their parents
As Americans recoiled in horror from the scenes along the Us-mexico border, where thousands of sobbing immigrant children had been taken from their parents by the start of the summer, politicians allied
President Trump insisted that it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. “Why, the detention centers are far nicer than what these people are used to in their impoverished villages,” the politicians argued. “Look! They’re watching movies and having warm meals. For these kids, it must seem like summer camp.”
The point is not where they were staying, though. It’s that their parents were not with them. Something I learned a little too late as a mother is the rule of “no surprises.” I used to think that if I just managed to get out the door, my daughter might not notice I was gone. But one night, it went terribly wrong. When my daughter realized I was about to leave, she shrieked and clung to me, then ran to her bed crying, rather than play with a much-loved babysitter. After that, I realized that I needed to give my daughter plenty of preparation if I was going somewhere, or our routine was to be changed. Disruption unnerves a child.
Doctors and social workers have told us how devastating even a short-term separation from a parent can be for a child, especially when it comes unexpectedly. We heard stories of parents on the border who were told that their children were being taken to another room for a bath or a meal — only to realize hours later that they were not coming back. We heard of a five-year-old girl sent a thousand miles away to a foster home in Maryland, where for days she refused to remove the pull-up diaper her mother —now in an immigration jail — had put on her in Mexico.
Soon enough, the extent of the unprecedented and reckless separation of parents and children became clear. The big concern many people had was the long-term impact such separations can have on children — anxiety, depression, trust issues, cognitive delays that can continue long after a child has been reunited with a parent.
National outrage about these separations pushed the Trump administration to end the policy. Yet the story grew even worse. It was feared that reunions would not happen quickly — or at all. Chaos reigned. The young remained in US foster homes or shelters, while their parents were deported back to their home countries, not knowing how to contact their kids. Every parent I know reads about this with fear and sympathy. It’s easy to imagine what these migrant parents have been going through. But for their children, it must have seemed like the end of the world.