Recently, a particularly horrifying statistic has arisen on social media: 1,500 children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border have gone missing. Hashtags such as #WhereAreTheChildren have emerged, and the internet has made an outcry about family separation.
On Wednesday, several Democratic representatives — and, oddly enough, Brat Pack star John Cusack — hosted a protest in Washington, D.C. Beginning as a march, the protest ended with a sit-in on the steps of the office of Customs and Border Patrol with the intention of getting arrested. Cusack took to Twitter to make his reason for the protest clear; he was hoping for an arrest.
We Shut down ice entrance for a long while today- but they wouldn’t arrest us – I guess they didn’t want that photo op – but they don’t mind taking children away from their parents- pic.twitter.com/66ubxA69QS
— John Cusack (@johncusack) June 13, 2018
Unfortunately, no arrests were made, prompting Cusack and the representatives to criticize the Trump administration for being willing to separate families but unwilling to arrest the protesters (Cusack claimed they “didn’t want that photo op” over Twitter). Adamant to push forward, the group says they are meeting again on Thursday to form another plan.
As everyone knows, the modern age is one swirling with “fake news” and other misinformation. So, how accurate are the claims of the missing 1,500 children?
The assertions sound like they must be fake — how can a country mistreat children and get away with it, and how is there not a larger outcry over this?
Recently, reports that the Trump administration is considering “tent camps” to house the undocumented migrant children make this issue more relevant than ever, but what is the truth?
The issues of the missing children and family separation seem to be lumped together in a lot of these cases, which is inaccurate; the claimed missing children were migrant, unaccompanied children.
Once migrant children cross the border, they are taken to the Department of Homeland Security and then to the Department of Health and Human Services, where they are most often placed with a family member or another close adult that they have met.
However, the 1,500 children in question are “missing” in the sense that their whereabouts are unknown to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Although it is irresponsible that they have lost the location of the children, the situation does not necessarily mean that the children are in any sort of danger.
Border separation is an issue with a different ugly face. Families are being separated at the border because of a policy stating those who cross over illegally must be sent to prison, leading to inevitable separation.
However, reports on how long that separation lasts vary; several stories report families permanently torn. It is impossible to know exactly how many families have been separated and reunited. Like with the “missing children,” this is where the systems of immigration fail; they are unable to keep track of the country’s most vulnerable.
The missing-children issue is a very concerning turn of events in American history, and people should speak out about it. There will be more protests, and by using social media to spread the facts, more people can come to light on these issues.
Our systems are failing these people, and it is up to the citizens to fix them.