There are no words to capture the story of despair of a migrant mother separated for four years from her three-year-old son, both victims of poverty or violence and of the unjustifiable zero tolerance policy of the Trump administration, which decided to use cruelty and barbarism as tools of persuasion against migrants from the south.
After those four years that must have seemed like forever, this mother received a temporary humanitarian permit this week to temporarily reunite with her son within the United States. The names of the protagonists of this story are kept completely confidential by the federal government for privacy reasons.
But we know that they were part of the first four families to be beneficiaries of the family reunification policy launched by President Joe Biden, just a few days after he assumed the presidency of the United States, to reverse the cruel and inhumane immigration policy of the presidency of Donald Trump.
However, it is only the tip of the iceberg whose real dimensions are unknown. Although the Biden administration estimates that there are still around 1,000 migrant minors who have not been reunited with their parents, the list could be much larger considering that other cases were classified under different categories.
The damage caused by the Trump-era zero tolerance policy and the separation of minors from their parents is likely irreparable. We all remember the crying of infants caged in border facilities, some of them at nursing age, or the gazes of frightened and crowded adolescents amid the uncertainty of the pandemic. All of them will have to live for the rest of their lives with the psychological trauma of separation.
It is therefore important that the Biden administration recognize that it has a moral responsibility to spare no effort to reunify these parents and to use all available resources to prevent this injustice from continuing.
But in my opinion the responsibility of the US federal government must go further. After all, the Trump-era zero tolerance initiative was once a government policy, though it was later narrowed by the courts.
For this reason, the requests of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is leading the legal crusade against the separation of minors, seem totally reasonable to me: to allow parents and children to live in the United States without fear of deportation; offer them a route to citizenship; make mental health services available to you; establish institutional changes to avoid future separations of migrant families and carry out investigations for effective accountability of those responsible.
If a society measures its moral strength by the way it serves the most vulnerable, this is a historic opportunity to show it.
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