WASHINGTON, D.C. — The parents of over 545 migrant children still cannot be found. Lawyers have recently blown the whistle on the fact that two-thirds of the over 1,000 migrant parents separated from their children by the Trump Administration have since been deported and can no longer be located. To separate families in such a manner is a crime against humanity. NOW is outraged by the continuous mistreatment of immigrants seeking refuge and asylum here in the United States, and we demand justice.
NOW called out Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy when it was first announced, and hundreds of migrant families are still devastated by its impact. This issue became a talking point at the second and final presidential debate, where President Trump refused to denounce the fact that 545 families cannot be reunited, arguing that the children currently in cages under U.S. custody are “safe” due to the supposed cleanliness of the immigration detention facilities. But, we wonder how safe these children really are. As experts begin to cite our country’s treatment of immigrant children as nothing less than torture, it is absolutely crucial that protections for migrant families are set in place.
As feminist activists, we must mobilize to unlock the future for immigrant women and girls. The harm done by separating these families is inexcusable. In many cases, the trauma of being ripped away from one’s parents and being deprived of education at an early age can have detrimental effects on a child’s development and mental health. And while some children may receive a home from the federal foster-care system rather than remaining in immigration detention centers, this too can cause the negative impact of their past traumas to be exacerbated, leading to lifelong struggles with mental health.
Looking back to our Bill of Rights for People Housed in Immigration Detention Prisons, we are continuing to call for freedom from sexual assault and harassment, access to healthcare, autonomy over reproductive decisions, access to menstrual products and other hygiene necessities, and countless other basic human rights for migrant women, girls, and LGBTQIA+ individuals.
And we are still in need of legislation like the Stop Cruelty To Migrant Children Act (S.2113), which aims to put an end to family separations, set health and safety standards, ensure migrant children receive three meals a day, expand alternatives to detention, and end for-profit contractors, among other things. As recently proposed by the Biden–Harris campaign, we are also in dire need of a task force that directly aims to reunite the 545 immigrant children with their families.
This election day, we have the opportunity to elect a congress and an administration that will protect and defend the rights of immigrants, as well as put an end to inhumane family separations once and for all. NOW urges our members not only to vote in the name of migrant families, but to call your senators and representatives and demand that official legislation to reunite and protect these families is set in place immediately.