DHS Secretary Nielsen claimed that children are not separated from parents when they seek asylum at a legal port of entry, she lied. In an op-ed on CNN today, Maria G. explains her 18-month-old son’s fear and her anguish when DHS forcibly took her child from her. Maria was separated from her son despite various documents proving their relationship and a credible asylum claim, which she made at a legal port of entry.
Ur Jaddou, Director of DHS Watch, a new project of America’s Voice, said:
There are alternatives to detention, including a successful program that the Trump Administration ended. But the Trump Administration made clear that their policy of separating toddlers from their parents is about inflicting fear and harm as a deterrent for families escaping violence and persecution who are fleeing to the United States. Already more than 600 children were taken from their parents in just the first two weeks of Trump’s new family separation policy, which means that thousands of more children will be forcibly taken from parents within weeks. This is a humanitarian crisis that any parent – any human being – should be concerned about. The U.S. government, is purposely instituting a cruel, senseless and costly policy that harms children, inflicts torment on parents, and costs taxpayers unnecessary money. Maria’s story is heartbreaking but unfortunately, not unique.
Read excerpts of Maria G.’s account below and the her full account here.
…[I]mmigration officers brought us outside where there were two government cars waiting. They said that I would be going to one place, and my son would go to another. I asked why repeatedly, but they didn’t give me a reason.
The officers forced me to strap my son into a car seat. As I looked for the buckles, my hands shook, and my son started to cry. Without giving me even a moment to comfort him, the officer shut the door. I could see my son through the window, looking back at me — waiting for me to get in the car with him — but I wasn’t allowed to. He was screaming as the car drove away.
I could barely move or speak or think knowing that my son had never spent time without me before, and now he was alone in a separate government facility.
I was not able to see him or receive any photos. My son is too young to speak, but at least they could have let him hear my voice. I didn’t know if he would forget it.
My heart goes out to the other mothers who are still aching for their children. I pray for them to have strength, and that they encounter people who can help carry their spirits, like the other women in the detention facilities did for me. In the face of such cruelty, it made all the difference.