Separation at the border
On June 27, our colleague Chris Sweeney in the Harvard Chan Office of Communications interviewed Harvard FXB’s director of research, Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, on family separation for their feature Three Questions. Below is an excerpt from the piece, with one question and answer:
In all of your years working on migrant issues around the world, have you ever seen a similar policy enacted?
I can’t think of a contemporary example in peacetime where a government has willfully separated parents from children in this way without any kind of criminal charges or national security concern. We have examples from last century during the two world wars when families were ripped apart and those are now considered some of the absolute darkest chapters in history.
What is also deeply concerning is the level of chaos surrounding how this was implemented and managed. I have been in touch with consul generals from Mexico and some Central American countries who are trying to get information on where these children are, and there doesn’t seem to be a central registrar or even a complete list. There is concern that the administration has been cavalier at best in relation to its moral and legal obligations to ensure children are protected from deep and possibly enduring trauma. It is hard to imagine the enormity of a situation where tiny children are separated from their primary caregiver with no system in place for ensuring prompt reunification. I fear that reunification is going to be a chaotic, protracted and a hit-or-miss process. Some parents, particularly those deported prior to reunification, may have enormous difficulties ever reestablishing contact with their children. This has been the legacy of previous deportation raids where parents have been rounded up at work without prior notice, while their children are in day care or school. Their children have ended up in the foster care system.
Read the rest here.