A Child Alone and Without Papers

reportcoverLast week the Center for Public Policy Priorities released a study on undocumented children and their treatment within the US Immigration system. The report:

...reveals what happens to more than 43,000 undocumented, unaccompanied children removed annually from the United States and repatriated to their home countries. Policy analysis and interviews with adults and children in the system revealed the U.S. often compromises children’s rights, safety, and well-being, contrary to international law and U.S. child welfare standards.


Among the findings are:

In clear violation of international and U.S. child welfare standards, our interviews with the Mexican and Honduran children uncovered troubling claims of child abuse and maltreatment by U.S. Border Patrol officers, including: • Inattention to repeated requests for medical attention; • No access to water while in the border patrol station; • Having to sleep on the floor without a blanket in a heavily air conditioned cell; • Not being given any or enough food; • Not being allowed to contact family; • Being struck and knocked down by agents; • Being handcuffed; and • Being transported “like dogs,” in kennel like compartments.

As Xicanopwr's post at Para Justicia y Libertad states:

dehumanization is the central process that changes a normal person into someone indifferent. The process clouds the mind of one’s thinking and foster the perception that “other” people are less than human. What these children encounter at the hands of the Department of Homeland Security is no different from the undocumented immigrants locked up in our detention centers.

If we are a country that believes in family and family values, how do we justify treating children like this?