Now There’s Talk Of Separating Mothers And Children At The Border. This Is Not Okay

by Mike Julianelle
Originally Published: 
Image via John Moore/Getty Images

The next step in border security may include separating moms from their kids at the Mexican border

In an effort to deter illegal immigrants, the Trump administration is considering a proposal that would allow the government to separate women and children crossing the border from Mexico.

Because when you’re this far gone, who cares about optics?

A Reuters article lays out the details behind the proposal that’s being considered by the Department of Homeland Security. If enacted, the government would be able to keep parents detained in custody while fighting deportation or waiting for hearings. In which case their kids would be remanded to protective custody with the Department of Health and Human Services, in something they’re describing as the “least restrictive setting,” whatever that means.

This new policy is a shift away from “catch and release,” in which those detained at the border are let free and able to live in the United States while awaiting legal proceedings. President Trump prefers a far more aggressive approach to the illegal immigration problem, even if it violates human rights, according to some of those opposed.

Henry Cuellar, a Democratic Representative from a district in Texas that lies right along the border with Mexico, is not a fan. “That type of thing is where we depart from border security and get into violating human rights,” he said in a statement. “Bottom line: separating mothers and children is wrong.”

The world has been getting plenty of chances to see exactly how wrong something like that can be, as the new administration’s ICE crackdowns have resulted in some ugly public scenes. A video circulating on YouTube shows one such instance, in which a father was arrested while dropping his daughter off at school.

According to the story on LAist, Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez has been living in the U.S. for 20 years, and has four daughters, one of whom got to watch alongside his wife as he was detained by ICE officials.

Emi MacLean, an attorney with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) tells LAist that Avelica-Gonzalez was targeted as a ‘bad’ immigrant because of a 10-year-old DUI conviction and 20-year-old mishap with his car registration.”

“If we allow this as a community to continue, then we create an environment where children are afraid to go to school, parents are afraid to drop their children off at school, and people are living in a culture of fear,” MacLean said.

That seems to be a theme these days.

Marielena Hincapie, executive director at the National Immigration Law Center, told Reuters that the new policy proposal “could create lifelong psychological trauma,” said “Especially for children that have just completed a perilous journey from Central America.” But Republicans argue that without the benefit of leniency when they arrive, we’re encouraging women to make that arduous trek. So tearing families apart is fine if it stops them from coming.

The ends justify the means. This is how decency dies.

Yes, Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez was living here illegally and had some dings on his record. Yes, the mothers sneaking over the border with their young children are doing so without proper documentation. Crimes shouldn’t go unpunished, but context should mean something, and making a public spectacle out of a family’s pain seems like the wrong way to go for an administration that is going to need cooperation from Mexico to resolve the immigration issue.

Unfortunately, the only people this administration seems to care about being friendly with are Russians.

This article was originally published on