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Separation of Families & Its Influence on Children

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Separation of Families

For decades, America has been portrayed as the land of opportunity, a place that allows dreams to come true and fill people’s desires. A place that reassures anyone that they can successfully achieve anything if they put their minds into it, no matter where they are from or who they are. However, America has had an unheard and heartbreaking history of tearing families apart for many years. Approximately over 2,000 children across the United States were split up from their own parents throughout the course of six weeks from April to May of 2018, who were seeking for asylum.

The media has displayed unnecessary concepts for society to focus on by making it seem like it is a crime to seek asylum and has given a misrepresentation that it is an “illegal entry,” but it is legal right for families from the other side to seek for the help. There has been continuous discrimination and mistreatment towards immigrants for only coming to this country to give their generations a better future and a secure place to live in. The Immigration Law is so corrupt and destructive towards both parents and children, which is causing negative psychological effects and leading them to be ripped apart from each other by the policies that the Trump Administration has signed (Protect Families March and Rally).

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When a parent is the breadwinner of their household and gets deported to their country, the whole entire family that is left behind will feel the immediate impact and shift. In other words, they are now held accountable economically and placed in a significant financial stress. Statistically, men have the highest percentage of deportation and in most cases, they are the primary provider of their families (What Happens to Kids When Their Parents Are Deported). Leaving mothers behind causes them to struggle both financially and with child care responsibilities because they are not use to doing both at the same time. It is often a difficult situation to handle when you’ve been accustomed to staying home doing housewife duties, taking care of your children and relying on your spouse’s support. Some children start experiencing at such a young age about housing stability and often take jobs to help support their family because the parent doesn’t have a well-paid job and lack benefits.

Children with parents who migrated in the United States are witnessing their parent(s) getting taken away by authorities and automatically traumatizes them as they see them get arrested outside of their home. It places these innocent children at an elevated risk for mental health disorders, trauma, depression and anxiety. For example, a U.S.-born citizen, Maria Vasquez, lost her mother due to immigration at just six years old and never understood the reason why her mom’s presence was never around. It led her to have an adulthood feeling very lonely, fearful, and full of anxiety. She stated that “being home alone was really hard” and that “most of the time it was just [her] and [her] dog.” (Citizen Children Experience Trauma After Separation from Immigrant Parents). This process is very clear that it can be severely traumatic and affect a child’s mental growth. It is unfortunate that in situations like these, children tend to grow up aggressive and begin to isolate themselves because they think that their parent(s) might have left them behind and don’t want them anymore, when in reality, deportation has the full blame for this cause.

This type of trauma can be long-lasting and extremely difficult to recover, especially when it begins at such a very young age. When children are growing they are already faced with many changes not to mention all the hurdles that they deal with, but to add the additional stress of having to deal with the possibility that their family may be torn apart because of their parent’s status is traumatic. Imagine not having your mother or father with you during your childhood because one of them was deported. This creates a very emotional and sociological imbalance in their lives. How will the child deal with this problem? The child’s education may also be jeopardized by having to move locations due to laws or acts that are taking place in today’s society. One example is Farmers Branch, Texas where the city council passed an ordinance that stated that illegal immigrants were not allowed to rent apartments (Family Separations Spark Episcopal Response).

As a result, the parent will be forced to make a decision of moving or to stay and take their chances of being deported. In other situations, where the parent was deported to their home country the child may have been forced to live with another family member or return with their parents. In this situation, a parent has to make the difficult decision of taking the children to their home country or leaving them behind to have a better opportunity of life. Parents are fleeing their countries and seeking asylum in the United States because of violence, death threats, persecution, and other harsh conditions going on in their home country. Americans in our country don’t understand that these immigrants are risking their own lives, putting themselves in huge danger and sacrificing themselves for their children to feel safer on the other side. There are countless of parents who don’t even make it and no one ever finds out what happened to them. These families who are able to cross and are experiencing this sort of damage are the ones that deserve to be given treatment by mental health professionals.

Our government should really take that into consideration and give them the proper counseling and psychological services, but they won’t be helping them out precisely because of how cruel and unfair they are towards immigrants (Timeline: Immigrant Children Separated from Families at the Border). Instead of fixing the crisis that the government has started, they end up having nonprofit organizations to fill in the gaps and think that it will make America look great again, when all it’s really doing is making America look disastrous and more like a prison, instead of a home. Other countries around the world are seeing the change within the United States and generalizes every American to be as brutal as the government.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration has not acted in good faith during the past year and seems like they don’t want to take the blindfold off their eyes yet, even though they might be fully aware of how affective it is to have families separated from each other. Illegal immigration can honestly go both ways, but in this situation, it is a problem that should be immediately fixed. The people coming into our country are not the problem. The problem is our society and government because they are the ones that caused the division. How much more different should a child and parent’s life should be than the ones that are legally in our country already? Do citizens really have the right to stay in the United States if they were born here, but not their parents? This is a circumstance that has to be approached differently and have to come up with beneficial solutions for both children and parents who are caught in between this tragedy.

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