By Alex Cordero
The “Zero Tolerance” immigration policy set in place by the Trump Administration back on April 6 has caused protests across the nation. The policy enforces a 100 percent prosecution rate for all those who enter the United States illegally. As a result of enforcing this policy many families are being separated.
President Trump signed an executive order reversing a portion of the policy, in which it addresses that families be reunited. However, the protests continue nationwide. Families Belong Together is an ad hoc protest group which was organized at Pasadena City College by student activist Hilda Coleman. On Saturday, June 30, the Families Belong Together march was held in response to the “Zero Tolerance” immigration policy aftermath.
Adults are being prosecuted for violating the immigration policy, and children are being placed in shelters or with relatives in the U.S. According to the Department of Homeland Security, in the last two months approximately more than 2,000 children have been separated from their families. This has ignited the American people to protest against the policy that is causing families to be divided.
The pressure led President Trump to sign an Executive Order on June 20, in which Section 1 of the order titled “Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation” states, “It is unfortunate that Congress’s failure to act and court orders have put the Administration in the position of separating alien families to effectively enforce the law.’” However, some would argue that the executive order does not immediately reunite families. Judy Felton, a South Pasadena resident who attended the march feels that the executive order is not enough because it does not address reuniting families prior to when the Order was set in place last week. The majority of protestors feel that the executive order does not specify a plan on when and how to bring families together, and the only solution to the problem is to terminate the “Zero Tolerance” policy. What do you think about that?
According to sources such as the Texas Tribune, LA Times, and others, they have been reporting on the unhealthy conditions of the shelters in which the children are being detained. Photos and social media outlets are exposing the unfit environments where the children are being placed while they wait for long term placements. In Tornillo, Texas a tent city facility has been built to house the hundreds of children being detained. Many protestors claim that the environments where immigrant children are being held look like camps. Have you seen the tent cities the government is providing for undocumented aliens? If so, do you agree?
Contrary to the idea that undocumented immigrants are coming from Mexico, the majority of people being sent to Federal prison for crossing the U.S. border illegally, are seeking asylum from countries like El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. These countries are experiencing a high rate of violent crime. Immigrants are traveling in large groups to seek refuge and safety. Although the U.S. has laws set in place to provide asylum status to qualified applicants, with the “Zero Tolerance” policy being implemented it is nearly impossible to grant asylum or refugee status to those who may qualify. While thousands of immigrants await their fate in this country many protestors feel the government lacks compassion and empathy in the way they are handling their “Zero Tolerance” policy.
The Families Belong Together march in Pasadena was a protest against our government, demanding that families be reunited immediately, end the “Zero Tolerance” policy in its entirety, and end family detention. The march was peaceful, there were no opposing opinions in sight, and there was no need for local authorities to be called. Large crowds came to express their concern and demand for change. Families marched down Colorado Boulevard with signs expressing their disapproval of the current immigration policy targeting President Trump and I.C.E (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Also, many protest attendees had signs that read “Reunite Families Now.” In a time when transparency appears to be a challenge in our government, these protests happening nationwide against the Trump Administration are clear about their demand for change. Whether protests all over the nation are being effective is something we all have to wait and see.
People all across the country took to the streets on June 30 to protest the Trump Administration’s “Zero Tolerance” policy. – Photo by Alex Cordero /Beacon Media News