Alvarado: There is a Human Rights Crisis at the Border

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Alvarado: There is a Human Rights Crisis at the Border

By Andrea Alvarado

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The wall has been marketed as the sole solution to the influx of migrants to the United States-Mexico border. The president and his administration have held this enormous construction as a cure for all evils — despite there being little evidence to support this claim. Meanwhile, the president’s whim has resulted in the longest partial government shutdown in American history. This, as well as his decision to declare a national emergency, could set a precedent of abuse of the executive power for generations to come. There are, no doubt, human and drug trafficking problems that require sweeping solutions. However, the current policies at the border have done little to nothing to discourage immigration and have created a human rights crisis that has muddled the international reputation of the U.S.

Perhaps to his fan-base, these inhumane policies are necessary in order to prevent an “invasion” because Trump, and his mouthpieces at FOX news, have portrayed migrants as inherently dangerous and criminal. The caravans have been depicted as unstoppable mobs comprised of MS-13 and ISIS members seeking the destruction of the U.S., or at best, opportunistic people attempting to leech on American taxpayers. Beyond dehumanizing rhetoric, Trump’s administration has enforced brutal policies to discourage the flow of immigrants to the border. Families continue to be separated without any sort of due process and are detained in migrant camps for an indefinite amount of time.

These centers are inadequate for the number of people and children being held. Not only do they lack the infrastructure and the staff to do so, but they are also unable to provide clean water and food to the increasing number of migrants being detained on a daily basis. The places are far from the narrative of “summer camps” Fox News anchors continue to feed to their audiences. The detention centers sometimes lack heating or enough beds for every migrant. Some children are forced to sleep on the floor in freezing cold weather. In addition, Homeland Security has failed to conduct thorough background checks on the staff at the detention centers despite their charge of unaccompanied children. On top of these inhumane conditions, these facilities are unable to provide adequate healthcare to an ever-growing number of migrants.

There is no doubt Trump has delivered his campaign promises of treating immigrants as dangerous criminals, even if they are too young to understand the situation. It is appalling to witness other politicians, who proudly claim to be safeguarding Christian values, support his policies or simply turn a blind eye to the problem. Despite the numerous reports by human rights organizations detailing the horrific practices at the border, these elected representatives sustain the importance of a secure border, even at the expense of the future of their constituents. They continue to sell the wall as the absolute solution, although the administration doesn’t have a plan to return the separated children to their parents.

The reality is these centers are only meant to hold detainees while their request for asylum is processed or during their deportation process — not for months on end. While the staff doesn’t have the necessary resources to assist a record number of migrants, it appears as if the government doesn’t intend to remedy the situation. Perhaps expecting to discourage other people intending to cross the border, Trump’s administration is confining children and adults to facilities closer to a “dog-pound” than a shelter. Trump has declared a national emergency at the border to gain access to funds in order to build his infamous wall. He is disregarding the evidence stating a wall won’t solve the U.S. immigration problem. Trump is attempting to appease his fan base and guarantee their votes for reelection rather than advocating for a real solution.

Furthermore, the money he will have access to by declaring a national emergency is intended for “counter-drug” programs for the Department of Defense as well as construction funds designated for public and military infrastructure. On the campaign trail, Trump assured his MAGA crowd that Mexico was going to pay for the wall, and the same people chanting in unison will end up paying for it, as well as the rest of American taxpayers. The real national emergency is the complete disregard for human rights by his administration. Rather than seeking to process asylum applications for the current migrants at the border, Trump has taken these people into custody to treat them worse than criminals without due process. Even though these immigrants are aware of the inhumane treatment they will be subjected to by the U.S. government, they are so desperate to escape violence and hunger that crossing the border seems a more viable option than remaining home.

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