By US Rep. Michael E. Capuano
By now, nearly every American has seen the terrible images of children being torn from their families and heard the sound of children begging immigration officers to call their relatives. Those images and sounds are the truth of what has been happening at our border because of Donald Trump’s despicable and immoral immigration policies.
Now, the Administration officials who said they could easily reunite children and parents are failing to meet a court order to do so because it turns out they can’t do what they said they could.
Along with Congressional colleagues, I traveled to the Centralized Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, a few weeks ago, where those who are detained at the border are first sent. We went to the McAllen Border Patrol Station and Intake Facility, where officials monitor the border and detain individuals. We went to the Port Isabel ICE Detention Center, where detainees are kept.
When we visited the “processing center,” as it’s called, we saw rows and rows of silver Mylar blankets, with small figures lying underneath. Children. We saw a half-used box of diapers sitting out. Some of the children who have been taken from their parents are no more than infants.
When I was in Texas, I saw children in cages, scared and confused. These children will suffer lifelong trauma and consequences as a direct result of Donald Trump’s hateful policies. The detainees I saw were terrified and confused. Many did not know where their children were. Some knew where their children were being held but had not spoken to them in a long time. No one knew when they might see their children again. And no officials could answer our questions on how families would be brought back together.
Today, Donald Trump would like that all swept under the rug. Hesitantly, and with great delay, his administration is reuniting select families. This is not enough, and it’s not acceptable. Donald Trump wants us to forget about the horrors created by his policies – but we can’t and we must not. I will not stop working to bring each and every family back together. That’s why I attended a rally in Boston the day after I stepped off the plane from Texas, why I joined protesters during the Keep Families Together march, and why I’ve been sharing what I’ve seen with you.
Bearing witness to this trauma isn’t enough; pointing out that what’s happening is wrong doesn’t stop it. That’s why we need policy change, and why I have introduced legislation to stop the deportation of families at the border and reunite separated families quickly. To be clear, it won’t be easy to pass anything in the Republican-controlled Congress. It will be a battle. But it is a battle we absolutely must fight.
We must continue to stand up to Donald Trump and make sure this policy ends and never happens again. Together, we will end this policy and make a difference. Trump’s horrible policies deny who and what we are as a nation as well as our deepest held values and beliefs. We are a nation of immigrants, stronger because of it.