OurView: Abuse of migrant children at the border reveals administration’s carelessness


Courtesy of Creative Commons

1,300 allegations were reported to the Department of Justice, but there were 4,550 allegations in total.

If migrant family separation doesn’t sound horrifying enough, new revelations are about to take it to another level.

Last Tuesday, documents were released by a Democratic lawmaker that detail thousands of allegations of either sexual abuse, sexual harassment or inappropriate sexual misconduct. These allegations range from the years 2015 to 2018.

Of the 4,550 allegations, only 1,300 were actually reported to the Department of Justice. Though most of the allegations seem to be between inmates, around 180 of them involve a staff member.

The idea of this enormous amount of allegations being made, and no one doing anything to prevent them is sickening. Even if the majority took place amongst the children, there should be preventive methods in place to stop that from happening.

Jonathan Hayes, who is the acting director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency that oversees the care of migrant children, said that remedial action was taken after hearing about the allegations.

Instead, why were there no actions taken to stop these kinds of things before they happen? Caring for these children who have been separated from their families and who might not know what is going on is an enormous responsibility.

Migrant children usually travel without their parents and face numerous struggles along the way. Why do you think these children put themselves through such a difficult journey? Many cross over for economic opportunities and jobs, but many others are fleeing violent corners of the world. These children are fleeing for their lives.

These children range from the ages of three to 18, so it is hard to imagine many of them making this decision on their own. The decision is usually made for them by their parents. Their parents are by no means wanting to put their children in danger. Parents want better for their children and know that even though they’ll be apart, their children won’t be forced to live in such a dangerous area. What a huge disservice this country is committing against these loving and fearful parents.

Migrant children undergo a long, strenuous journey and are forcefully separated by their families. Is this not enough harm done? The Office of Refugee Resettlement doesn’t seem to think so.

If this atrocity had been committed at a local daycare, little league sports team, preschool, or even a high school, something would be done and the perpetrators would be held accountable. If these children were U.S. citizens, the Office of Refugee Resettlement would be outraged. If these children were U.S. citizens, they would be treated like human children– human children that are scared and alone.

If our government isn’t equipped to make sure these things don’t happen, then maybe they shouldn’t be separating families in the first place. Just because they are migrant children doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be treated like human beings, despite what this administration might think.

The current administration has done migrant children no favors, and lines have been crossed time after time. But this newfound information absolutely tears that line to shreds. These children deserve much more than what they’ve been given. Migrant children deserve justice now.