On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order to end the separation of children and parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. While this step will prevent families from being torn apart in the future, it does little for the children who have already been taken away. As of now, over 2,300 children are separated from their parents, and some of them are infants as young as three months old. For the state of Michigan, this poses a serious problem.
Michigan has long been a place where refugees resettle. In the past, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights has supported unaccompanied immigrant children by providing foster care placement.
And under the “zero tolerance” policy, the Department was prepared to care for the children separated from their parents, too.
The Executive Director of Michigan Department of Civil Rights, Agustin V. Arbulu, issued a statement saying,
“While the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, along with people all over the nation, decry the forced separation of children from their parents taking place on our southern border, the policy is a federal issue and beyond the scope of this department’s responsibilities under the law…For those children who have been separated from their parents and brought to Michigan, the Department of Civil Rights has a duty to make sure their civil rights are protected.”
However, the Department is very worried about just how young these children are, and how they will be able to give hem adequate care. Arbulu continued saying:
“We have received reports and are very concerned that the children arriving here are much younger than those who have been transported here in the past. Some of the children are infants as young as three months of age and are completely unable to advocate for themselves. While we commend the work of resettlement agencies in Michigan attempting to serve these children with dignity and compassion, nothing can replace the love, sense of security and care of a parent.”