In May, the Trump administration announced the draconian measure to prosecute members of immigrant families who enter the United States illegally — even if that meant separating children from their parents.
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.
One such child, who was brutally separated from his father at the U.S. border in El Paso, Texas, is five-year-old José. 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.
José was handed over to a foster mother in Michigan by the U.S. government. The split was traumatizing for the young child to say the least.
His foster mother, who was identified only as Janice, described the child’s ordeal. She told The New York Times that José was so upset that he cried himself to sleep in the initial days and wouldn’t even sleep through the night.
Janice added that the five-year-old was handed over to her with two bags full of dirty clothes.
“For two days, he didn’t shower, he didn’t change his clothes. I literally had to peel the socks off his feet. They were so old and smelly,” Janice said. “I realized that he didn’t want anyone to take anything away from him.”
He also had two drawings with him that he called “photos.” One of the drawings had a stick sketch of his family, which he introduced as “mi familia.” The other picture had a sketch of his father.
“He holds onto the two pictures for dear life. It’s heart-wrenching. I am watching history happen before my eyes. It’s horrendous,” she said.
José also described the journey the father-son made to get to the United States and she added that the innocent boy repeatedly inquires about his father.
“When will I see my papa?” asks José.
A question that is unanswered.
Janice further said José had no contact with his parents until last week. Something that is very unusual because all the migrant children her family has taken care previously were in contact with their parents.
However, the phone call did little help because it reignited the pain and grief of being separated – a fact that was blurred out in the child’s mind as he gelled in with his new family.
“It was really hard to watch. The look on his face was anguish,” said Janice.
José’s story is just one of the hundred heart-wrenching stories that are hidden in the dark.
The unsympathetic plan of the administration to tear families apart sparked uproar among immigrant advocates and legal attorneys.
However, despite the massive backlash, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the cruel practice of ripping apart immigrant families during a recent interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
When asked if it was “absolutely necessary” to separate kids from parents when they are caught at the border, he replied, “Yes.”
“What's happening is we are having more people coming bringing children with them entering between the ports of entry, between the ports of entry illegally, and they're not, you cannot give them immunity. That's an offense,” the attorney general added. “We believe every person that enters the country illegally like that should be prosecuted.”
The horror of this is too much to bear. Thank you for reporting Jose’s story, Miriam— Emily Dreyfuss (@EmilyDreyfuss) June 7, 2018
Just imagine fleeing your home country because of internal war, conflicts and civil unrest; only to loose your children when you get to America while searching for asylum. ??????????????????— Wendy Yuille (@yuille_wendy) June 7, 2018
So sad??— Luna Sea (@LifeIsLunaSea) June 8, 2018
I'm glad he has a loving host though.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Stephanie Keith