It has been just a few days since Melania Trump’s declarations about the treatment of immigrant children on the US territory. The First Lady has harshly commented on the actions taken by her husband’s administration and has openly declared how children should never be taken away from their parents.
The disturbing videos and pictures at the Mexican-American border have shown immigrant children held in cages after having been separated from their parents and attorney general Jeff Session has recently commented during an interview on Fox News that Trump is actually enforcing the law.
“”We have watched what happened with the Obama policies, and over years, we went from 15,000 illegal entries to 75,000 — this is a huge loophole in our system that’s attracting more and more people, as more and more people understand that, under previous policies, if they enter the country unlawfully, that nothing will happen,” Sessions said.
(The Ingraham Angle, Fox.com)
Jeff Session has than remarked how the relevant increase in the immigrant arrivals to the US border basically depends on the loosen policies put into practice by Barack Obama and his administration. On the other hand a recent report by the Associated Press seems to describe a quite different situation.
Back in 2013 thousands of immigrants crossed the border to look for better opportunities and above all to escape the unhuman conditions of their countries of origin. Poverty, gang violence drug trafficking are just some of the worst reasons why unaccompanied minors left their hometowns in search for freedom and peace.
The arrival to the US was however a bit different from what they had in mind. According to the report by the Associated Press immigrant children were often the victims of sexual abuses and slave labor.
When the official housing services were not able anymore to cope with the huge numbers of children arriving from South America (mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) the Department of Health and Human Services started placing children into the care of private sponsors who would look after the underage immigrants until their requests for refugee status could be examined in depth.
A lack in the background checks by the US Government of these sponsors is the main cause behind the indecent treatment of the minors left in their hands. No fingertips were taken nor birth certificates of the adult applying to be sponsors were requested.
This negligence resulted in a totally uncontrolled situation were children were left alone in houses or private detention centres where they found the same cruelties they were escaping from.
Only the five percent of the sponsors’ houses were regularly checked by government officials, the rest of the minors were basically left in the hands of self-proclaimed distant relatives who, in at least two dozens of cases, abused them.
From 2013 and 2015 almost 90.000 children were placed in private houses and according to AP it is impossible to know how many minors suffered abusive conditions given that the DHHS does not keep any records.
The Trump’s administration does certainly need to re-evaluate the whole immigrant management practices, as recently highlighted by the First Lady, but the stories uncovered by the Associated Press surely demonstrates how the lack in the respect of basic human rights finds its origin during the Obama’s administration, whose policies were not so loosen after all.