The US border crisis and immigration policy have been creating uproar all over the world. Here is a simple explanation to this chaos which everyone seems to be talking about.
Who are immigrants and why do they immigrate?
Immigrants are people who enter another country and intend to stay in that country permanently. They can cross the border and enter by air, rail, sea or land. Families immigrate and decide to live in a new country to seek a better life, better opportunities or even a safer living environment. These families come from lands where sometimes even basic food and shelter is not available.
For example, USA has immigrants coming in from Mexico, India, China, Cuba and many other countries.
What does an Immigration Policy do?
An immigration policy controls the arrival of foreigners who want to stay in that country permanently.
Some foreigners apply to the government for a work-permit or citizenship. There are also others who enter a country without any legal permit or visa. They are forced to do this for various reasons. They might not be able to afford the expenses involved. They could be running away from their homeland which is dangerous and very poor, or just be moving in search of a better life. These people enter the new country illegally and are called “undocumented immigrants”.
Most of the undocumented families are crossing the US-Mexico border are from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
What is the US Immigration Policy that has created such a storm?
Around 6 weeks ago, in mid-April 2018, the US President Trump implemented a “Zero Tolerance Immigration” Policy. The US authorities are stopping all undocumented immigrants at the US-Mexico border and separating the children from the parents. The adults are being sent to a federal prison to await trials. The children and infants are sent to separate detention facilities, away from their families. This cruel family separation has shocked everyone worldwide with almost 2300 children being separated from their parents in the past few weeks.
So why is Trump implementing this inhumane policy?
A tighter immigration policy was an important part of Trump’s election campaign. He wants to reduce the number of undocumented immigrants and limit legal immigrants in his country. His administration believes this will help stop crime and make more jobs available to local Americans.
He has proposed many ideas from stricter rules for visa allocation to the construction of a wall at the US-Mexico border, in his new immigration policy bill. He says he implemented this inhumane policy as a deterrent for other families who might even think of attempting an illegal border crossing. But will this policy stop undocumented immigrants crossing over?
Have past US Presidents applied this strict policy?
Many past Presidents have tried to cut down illegal immigration. President Obama had ordered all undocumented families to stay in detention facilities till they were sent back to their homeland. However, this separation of children from their families has been enforced for the first time.
How has the world reacted to this?
Many heart-wrenching videos and photos of crying children in detention centers have gone viral on social media. People across the world are stunned and outraged by this separation of children from their parents at the US border.
Trump is now facing severe backslash. Even his own wife the US First Lady Melania Trump has voiced her disapproval. Various leaders like the Pope Francis, Theresa May (UK) Justin Trudeau (Canada) among others have criticized his actions. Americans all over the country are protesting with “Families Belong Together” campaigns.
What happens now?
Trump has eventually given into the tremendous pressures and signed an Executive order to modify the current policy. Undocumented families will continue to face criminal charges but be held together at military bases across the country. However, with almost 2300 children in different detention centers all over the country, the US authorities will have a tough time reuniting them with their parents.
Immigration remains a hot subject for many countries around the world.
Shruti Divecha was a graphic and textile designer by profession till her curiosity filled daughter pulled out the writer inside her. She writes stories, GK nuggets and teaches recycled crafts to children.