In President Donald Trump’s America, migrant toddlers who may not even necessarily know the names of their parents, might be asked to appear in immigration courts to defend their deportation.
Most of these children are distressed after being separated from their parents but now they may face a complicated legal system all because of Trump’s draconian anti-immigration policies.
After facing immense backlash for his inhumane “zero tolerance policy,” Trump rescinded his decision. However, many children are still scattered across various states. The government apparently reunited 500 families, according to immigration officials.
However, the government doesn’t plan on reuniting the remaining families until the parents get done with their deportation hearings.
These legal processes can take months.
Till then, their kids who don’t even know about the kinds of threats existing in their home countries will be forced to go through a complex legal system – all by themselves.
“In some cases, children as young as 5 will be in front of an immigration judge, expected to explain why they should not be deported and manage the legal process that is required to prove that,” said Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch, an immigration lawyer who has been interviewing migrant women.
Apparently, there is no minimum age for appearing in immigration court.
Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense, an organization that makes unaccompanied minors get in touch with lawyers, explained that usually the parents of babies subject to deportation represent them. However, what these children are going through is totally different.
“Babies are subject to deportation,” she said.
“The norm is that babies are supposed to be with their parent and the parent would speak for the baby [in court]. But, in these cases, we’re seeing them separated,” added Young.
A judge will ask these toddlers some basic questions at the hearings such as their name, their parents’ names and date of birth, along with some tough questions like if they admit or deny the allegation of entering the country illegally.
“If a mother is taking her child out of a situation where the child is in danger, she’s not going to tell her daughter that she could be raped or killed,” said Lincoln-Goldfinch. “She’s just going to tell her she’s going somewhere safe.” But if kids don’t give a reason to why they need asylum, they are at greater risk of being deported, she added.
Parents crossed borders to enter America because their own countries were violent. But being violent and ignorant is exactly what the Trump administration is doing with these migrants.
Department of Homeland Security has been accused of forcing parents being deported, to make a request that their children must be deported with them.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Jose Luis Gonzalez