Honduran mother, escaped violence, was breastfeeding her baby in a detention center in McAllen when baby was taken from her. “The government is essentially torturing people by doing this," @UN says US is violating international laws protecting children. https://t.co/x2DEDPIrKQ pic.twitter.com/56dZSmG9IZ— Farrah Fazal (@FarrahFazal) June 13, 2018
Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced the draconian measure that will prosecute members of immigrant families who enter the United States illegally — even if that means separating children from their parents.
Since then, devastating accounts of separation of families have emerged.
In the latest incident, an undocumented Honduran mother said her baby was taken away from her as she was breastfeeding her daughter at a detention centre in Texas.
The woman, who remains unnamed, said she was awaiting prosecution for entering the United States illegally and was trying to feed her daughter. While she did that, federal agents took her child away.
She tried to stop the agents from taking the baby away and resisted but she was handcuffed.
“The government is essentially torturing people by doing this. All the women would start crying and would need to take a couple of minutes before being able to continue talking about it,” said Natalia Cornelio, the attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project.
Miguel A. Nogueras, an assistant federal public defender for the Southern District of Texas in McAllen, said, “It depends on who the agent is on that day. They'll be told, 'We're going to separate your kids so they can bathe.' And that's not true. It's really hard to look in the eye of a mother or father who would plead for you – help me get my child back.”
Since the Trump administration rolled out the new policy, more than 700 immigrant children were separated from their parents and over 100 of those children were under the age of 4.
The children torn apart from their parents are reportedly then taken to shelters operated by nongovernmental organizations, where workers look for a relative or guardian in the United States who can look after their children, or they are sent to foster care.
To make matters worse for the already embattled immigrants, Jeff Sessions recently announced a change in asylum law, according to which individuals seeking shelter from domestic abuse and gang violence will not be granted asylum in the United States.
Several other stories have emerged since the brutal policy was rolled out.
Recently, a Honduran man was gripped by a mental breakdown and ended up taking his own life in the padded cell in Texas where he was detained by Border Patrol after he was separated from his family.
In another incident, a child was brutally separated from his father at the U.S. border in El Paso, Texas. He entered the United States from Honduras with his father who was arrested and led away. His mother is still in Honduras and his father is now in a detention centre.
After being separated, the child was handed over to a foster mother who said the boy held onto a sketch of his family and didn’t sleep through the night. She also said he repeatedly asks her where his father is.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Loren Elliott