Socialist Worker

Migrant children missing at Trump’s racist border

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2606

The fence between the US and Mexico in California

The fence between the US and Mexico in California (Pic: Tony Webster/Flickr)


The world had a glimpse of the reality of the ever-more brutal US border system last week.

Some 1,500 undocumented children were revealed to be missing after the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) conducted checks.

The admission was made by Steven Wagner from the Department for Health and Human Services at a government hearing last month.

This is a consequence of undocumented migrants being treated as criminals.

Previously a “first offence” of being caught without documents was not treated as a criminal act. Now it is—meaning detention and the separation of families.

“People that are aware of this are outraged,” migrant rights activist Roberto Valdez from El Paso, Texas, told Socialist Worker.

Children are supposed to be turned over from the ORR to family members in the US, or to the foster care system.

Racist US president Donald Trump has created the conditions that allow border agencies to launch their crackdown. Just last week he said of undocumented migrant children, “They look so innocent. They’re not innocent.”

Cracked

He then went on to blame the Democrats for creating the crisis. It’s true that Barack Obama’s administration cracked down on undocumented migrants.

And policies supposed to protect child refugees from Central American states were scaled back in 2016—before Trump took office.

No one at the top of the US political system has clean hands.

Last week Trump’s racist attorney general Jeff Sessions announced a zero tolerance policy for undocumented migrants.

He wants to see every person caught crossing the border without documents criminally prosecuted.

Cases of migrant families being split up are already increasing. Between October 2017 and April this year some 700 children were separated from their families—that’s before Sessions’ new policy came in.

Since then, one immigration lawyer reported seeing 33 cases in court last week alone in Texas courtrooms.

Previously he had seen one or two such cases a week.

People are organising against Trump’s hostile environment toward migrants.

Roberto said that people in Texas are holding demonstrations.

“At the local level, groups are lobbying representatives for bills that will hold immigration enforcement agents accountable for their actions,” he said.

Trump’s visit to Britain on 13 July is an opportunity to protest against his monstrous border regime.

Theresa May condones this regime—and the Tories maintain a similar one at Britain’s borders.

“It’s imperative people around the world display their discontent with the policies pushed by Trump’s administration,” said Roberto.

“These kind of demonstrations reinforce to this administration that people around the world will not stand for this inhumane treatment.”

Join the demonstrations against Trump on 12 and 13 July. For more information visit bit.ly/TATrump

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