President Trump’s recent executive orders have deeply touched the lives of undocumented immigrants — and American citizens as well. Consider the stories of U.S.-born children whose undocumented single mothers were arrested and detained for driving without a license and now face possible deportation. These mothers are not criminals; they are hard workers toiling at menial jobs.
Immigrant detention centers across the country are overpopulated. In South Florida, the center is packed with local workers who have been swept up in raids. Their families and friends visit because they are nearby.
It used to take no more than 15 minutes to travel through three levels of guards to enter the visitation room. Now, the journey takes about an hour or more and includes four levels of guards.
The noise level in a visitation room, with guards, detainees, visitors, crying infants, and young children running around is deafening. It is almost impossible to hear each other, even while shouting. Some visitors have been turned away.
In recent weeks, regulations were changed to reduce congestion. The new rules apply only to men, limiting them to two visits a month. This means children only get to hug their daddies every two weeks.
It is doubtful these conditions are unique to South Florida; raids and sweeps have been carried out nationwide.
Immigration arrests soared during the first 100 days of the Trump presidency. The greatest increase has been among those without criminal records, contrary to the guidelines of the executive order.
This situation is likely to get worse as more immigration officers are hired and more detention centers are opened. The deportations raise due process concerns, and heart-wrenching stories will only multiply as more families are ripped apart.
Christine G. T. Ho,