“EVERYWHERE IMMIGRANTS HAVE ENRICHED AND STRENGTHENED THE FABRIC OF AMERICAN LIFE” - J.F.K
People seeking refuge in America have been fighting the long fight for years. They embark on horrific trips to avoid threats in their birth countries. Unfortunately, there are people who are blinded by the “luxury” that this country holds, so much so they do not see the good for people to come here. People flee to pursue what we know as the American Dream. To gain a life that isn’t met with horror, but happiness instead.
WHY DO PEOPLE WANT TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES AND CROSS OUR SOUTHERN BORDER ?
For this investigation we interviewed Rosemary Barbera (Rosie), a professor from La Salle University. She spoke passionately about the immigration reforms Trump has passed and their effect on people who seek better lives in America. We also went in depth on ICE and the thousands of children that have been separated from their parents and forced into modern day concentration camps.
This investigation will focus specifically on the immigration of people from Latin America to the US.
We knew she was a reliable source because of her experience as a teacher and social worker who has traveled all over the world educating herself on this recurring issue. In this interview the interviewee, Rosie, was asked a series of questions that shed light on family separation at our southern border.
Why would you say you have knowledge of the issue?
Well, because I’ve been doing work around Latin America and immigration for about thirty years now, and I’ve done work with some organizations around Philadelphia.
We know that in a lot of these situations, as far as deportation goes, we know that ICE comes in and takes people. So could you just explain to us what ICE is?
So ICE stands for Immigration Customs Enforcement. It’s a part of the Department of Homeland Security and replaced what was called INS, Immigration Naturalization Services after the terrorist bombings in 2001 when the Department of Homeland Security was created . All issues relating to immigration and customs went under that department.
What specifically lead to children leaving on their own to come to the US?
So we’ve got kids coming with families and older adult family members who are being separated. But there is also a long tradition of children coming on their own, particularly teens and older children, so some of that has to do with maybe gang issues, that they’re trying to be recruited in a gang. So it's safer for them to try to leave as they might be fleeing abuse. Family members may have been killed, and there’s no one left. So there’s all sorts of reasons why they leave, or at the same time family members may already be here, and they’re trying to come and be reunited with them.
Could you expand on the word asylum?
Asylum is for people who come because they are fleeing some sort of violence at home, some sort of persecution. So they go into a country, in this case the United States. They say, “I’m fleeing persecution so I would like to apply for asylum.” So our courts are supposed to study the case. What we do is actually arrest the people and put them in jail, which can really be traumatizing for them. Often times they are people that are fleeing violence, and some of the prisons they go to are violent themselves. There are also other people who are coming and are not going through the asylum process and try to sneak in over the desert. or there have been tunnels. There have been other ways people have tried to get in. We see now that a lot of that travel was through Mexico and Latin America, but we also see people from China, India, and other countries. Some people from African countries are also going to Mexico and are also trying to enter that way.
So why would you say that children are separated from their parents?
What happened is that the US, the Trump administration, developed something called the zero tolerance policy. It actually was developed by a guy named Stephen Miller, but very much in agreement with Jeff Sessions, who is the attorney general who oversees these issues. And the idea of zero tolerance was, if we put people in jail, people will stop coming, and of course that really hasn't worked. We have seen people try to enter through the southern border, which started before these practices. We’ve seen an increase however in children. So this hasn't really been something that deters people from trying to make the journey.
No Human is Illegal (March for Sanctuary Cities)
What does this mean for students at Carver?
Since our school is diverse and we come from so many different backgrounds, the immigration debacle is something that affects us all. Our school recognizes this and pays tribute to nationalities that make our school E&S.
What are the implications for future investigations?
The issue involving immigration will not go away as fast as some may hope for, but as the process proceeds there will always be people stories to be heard to spread awareness.