For many undocumented immigrants, the United States is anything but the land of the free and the home of the brave. The separation of children and their parents has raised strong objections throughout the US. However, it’s difficult to know just how dire the situation until you hear from undocumented immigrants themselves.
Natalia Cornelio, an attorney working with the Texas Civil Rights Project, is involved with immigrants awaiting prosecution for illegal entry into the country. She interviewed an undocumented mother from Honduras, who between sobs, shared that federal authorities not only separated her from her daughter, but actually took her while breastfeeding her.
When the mother tried to resist the authorities, they handcuffed her.
Officials use another tactic to separate children from parents. One that is less forceful, yet every bit as heartbreaking for families. Parents have said that authorities assure parents that they are taking their children to bath and clean them. However, the children never return.
According to Miguel A. Nogueras, who works as an assistant federal public defender in Texas’ Southern District, “[The parents are] told, ‘We’re going to separate your kids so they can bathe.’ And that’s not true.”
In her many interview with undocumented immigrants, Cornelio has seen many women break down into tears, unable to speak of this separation until they compose themselves. By engaging in these practices, Cornelio says “The government is essentially torturing people…”
These child-parent separations are on the rise since Trump’s zero-tolerance policy. And since May – when the policy was declared – approximately 500 children have been taken from their parents.