America is facing a fundamental human rights crisis that needs immediate attention.
On Wednesday, after weeks of heartbreaking reports that thousands of migrant children were separated from their families at the border, the Department of Homeland Security finally took initiative to draft an executive order which would end the child separation policy, according to AP News. President Trump would need to sign the action in order to halt the separation practices.
“I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat pre-emptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation I’m sure,” Trump said to a pool of reporters Wednesday afternoon. “I’ll be signing something in a little while that’s going to do that,” he continued. “We want to solve this immigration problem.”
The haunting images showed migrant children living in Texas detainee camps, a product of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy. The practice was made legal in April after the Trump administration decided to enforce as many border-crossing offenses as possible. The policy is a roll-back on the Obama administration’s policy which focused mostly on deporting immigrants with violent offenses.
Housed in small cells, the children are regulated like inmates. They are told when they can eat, sleep and play.
At least 17 states, including Michigan, Florida and California, are also housing migrant children according to a report by Mercury News. New York is also one of the participating states, much to the shock of those who believed the practice was only carried out in Texas.
NY1 released a report on Wednesday, showing a group of young girls being escorted to and from the Cayuga Center facility, a foster shelter located in East Harlem.
A WNYC article estimates that over 200 migrant children are living in New York, some have been transported to group homes or foster care facilities. Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed a lower number, stating that at least 70 children are being held in New York State. According to the outlet who spoke with advocates against child separation, the detainee centers located near the border are filled to capacity, prompting the centers to send the children elsewhere because of space constraints.
NBC News reports the estimated cost of each migrant child is $775 per person, per night. The Keep Families Together Act, A bill proposed by California Sen. Diane Feinstein, calls for an end to the separations. Every Democrat in the senate supports the bill, while no Republican senators have backed it.
However prominent Republicans, including former First Lady Laura Bush and First Lady Melania Trump, have spoken out against the devisive policy.