Migrant Fathers Affected Over Family Separation Crisis

Image Credit: tina-bo-677005-unsplash

Border enforcement actions by the U.S. government has us questioning the inhumanity of it all. The national outcry over the Trump administration ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy on undocumented “without papers” migrants seeking asylum at the United States/Mexican border has us on edge and concerned on the long term mental effects of migrant parents and their children.

The Federal prosecution of being ‘without papers’? Spanish and indigenous speaking migrant parents (some unaware of the family separation policy due to months of travel and stress) being forcibly split from the children, adults sent to detention ‘jail’ and their children into questionable government custody centers and homes.

To layer onto the crisis of separation of families, ICE targeted deportations continue and cases like that of an undocumented father from Uruguay, Pablo Villavicencio. While on the job, delivering a pizza onto a military base, being unlawfully asked by improper military personnel for his ‘papers’, unable to provide, but insisted his documents were processing, was arrested or the case of the undocumented California father arrested for gardening, in his own backyard earlier this year.

The separation of families, has been noted to have long lasting health impact of psychological trauma on parents and especially their children. Children separated from their parents at such young ages, can induce stress hormones that suppress immune systems and development of the brain where learning and memory are effected.

The United States government has been diligent in border enforcement, but done very little to handle the reactions and onset of mental instability and potential deteriorating health of migrant parents and their children.

Parents, mothers and fathers left in distress, desperation, anguish, fear, heartbreak and sadness for months and finally, overwhelmed by relief from reunions with their children.

migrant father
Marco Antonio Muñoz / Al Dia News

Some parents, fathers will never see their children again, like Marco Antonio Muñoz who suffered a breakdown.  In a fight to keep his children, the distraught father became violent in reaction. At only 39 years old, he took his own life by hanging himself in an isolation detention cell. The controversial handling of his case led to more anger, shaming and public outcry of the U.S. government.

““He looked at me and said, ‘Hello, Daddy,’ and he gave me a hug,” Pablo Ortiz, a migrant from Guatemala, said in Spanish at a news conference Wednesday at Annunciation House, a Catholic charity in El Paso, Texas, that is providing shelter and legal services for migrant parents.” – news story from NBC News

On June 20, Trump signed an executive order intended to keep parents and children together, but still detained. However, cases are being reported that family separations are still occurring, as unique cases like the inconsistencies of statements, falsification and authentication of documents can reinforce the ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy and any government suspicions in respect to trafficking and potential threat and safety to children.

The Trump administration did miss an important deadline early July, trying to scramble to reunite families with about 102 children under 5 years of age, about 50% were only reunited and reports that reuniting families could take months adding to the continued horror of family separations. The deadline for court-ordered reunions for more separated children is expected on July 26.

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