The United States of Abuse

Where are the human rights for undocumented immigrants?


FLICKR COMMONS/ longislandwins

A crowd protesting for the rights of dreamers to remain in the U.S.

Torch Staff

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 14.

“(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries’ asylum from persecution. Human beings have the right to move freely within borders, especially when their lives are threatened.”

The United States, under the Trump administration, made it clear not to acknowledge those fundamental rights guaranteed to all humans by introducing a “zero tolerance” policy which allows for the criminal prosecution of families caught crossing the United States-Mexico border.

Most of the people that crossed the borders reportedly came with their families. Once they reached the U.S border, border control agents imprisoned the parents under harsh conditions while the children were dehumanized, some placed inside of cages in detention facilities, or scattered around in camps and foster homes located in different states, including New York.

Previously, individuals caught crossing the borders are sent back or vetted to see if they qualify for asylum status. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, backing up Trump on the “zero tolerance” policy, declared that they will now prosecute anyone caught crossing the Southwest border.

This policy is problematic because the individuals crossing the borders come with their families to escape the overloaded gang violence, domestic abuse, prosecutions,  murders, and drug epidemics that are flooding their countries. They walk miles with hopes that once they set foot across the border, their children can grow up safely. They envision a better situation where they can work hard and earn money to feed their children.

Most importantly, they want their kids to receive a good education so they can be successful. After they have completed the long and dreadful journey to reach the border, all those goals of attaining the so called “American dream” are shattered, and locked in shackles.

Personally, it is devastating to read the individual stories of families. As an immigrant who came to this country through political asylum, I understand that there are factors beyond our control that lead to taking such risk in order to feel safe in another country. If these families did not feel threatened in their homelands, then they would not go through all the difficulty to leave everyone they know and have back home to come to a foreign land. The stories of children separated from their parents for months with no idea if they are alive or dead flooded my timelines and each one I clicked reminded me of my own story.

One of the stories that portrays the entirety of this policy as evil, gross, and senseless is the separation of Marco Antonio Muñoz from his family, which ultimately ended in his death. Muñoz crossed the border with his wife and their 3-year-old child. Border patrol agents separated them and took him into custody.

Muñoz was later found dead in his cell, and it was ruled a suicide according to the New York Times. It is devastating and I cannot imagine how traumatizing it was for his wife to walk miles looking for protection, just to end up having her sole protector and provider taken away and later find out that he died in a jail cell.

The decision to separate families is insensitive to children’s mental and emotional health. Kids as young as four years old are moved away from their families and deprived of the care, love and presence of a parent. There are other ways to secure borders than to put innocent babies through such sufferings and traumatizing them for the rest of their lives.

Overall, there is a clear lack of decency and respect for human dignity in this cruel act of tearing families apart. If there is one thing we should value as a nation, it should be family.

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