Crisis hits the border

Peyton Marinelli, Staff Writer

Since October, thousands of immigrants have crossed the border from Mexico into the United States with the hope of immigration reform.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border last year was nearly fifty-thousand. That number has just about doubled in the past few months. Most of these children are arriving from Central America: El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, and the rest come from Mexico. The reason why these families have been sending their children to the United States is to escape poverty, crime, and gangs. Once crossed, the goal is to reunite with relatives already in the states. What many families don’t realize is that by law, those who immigrate illegally cannot simply be sent back.

“I’m sure there are a lot of families that keep in mind and consider what those families are going through. I’m sure they’re doing what they need and what they can to help them out, whatever that might be,” said Warren Lasater, a junior.

The main reason the government detains an immigrant is because of the belief that the individual could be a possible public safety threat. When someone is caught crossing the border illegally, Border Patrol Agents will take the individual to the closest Border Patrol station to be processed. If detained, they have the right to remain silent, and speak to an attorney. According to US Media, as of March 2021, Border Patrol Agents are holding more than fifteen-thousand unaccompanied children in custody. These children are then kept in detention centers, which are often crammed and unsanitary, for the legal limit of seventy-two hours before being transferred to the custody of health officials in the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

“I think the impacts of border states get more people’s attention than they would say in the midwest or near the Canadian border. So It depends where they’re at geographically,” said Steven Mitten, a history teacher.

Since the beginning of his presidency, Joe Biden has been working to reverse the immigration restrictions implemented by Trump. These actions include plans to boost refugee admissions and deportation relief for those who immigrated to the U.S. as children. Biden has also created a task force to reunite migrant families who have been separated at the border by Trump’s 2018 ‘zero tolerance’ strategy. The policy that consists of stopping and questioning people acting suspicious.

“It’s hard to say if there should be stronger security at the border or not because people should be able to cross, but it’s also important to keep things safe,” said Logan Polvorosa, a freshman at PVCC.

While this situation seems to be solely in the government’s control, there are ways to help. The U.S. Border Children’s Relief Fund is accepting donations to ensure children will be protected. Writing emails to policy makers and speaking out about children’s rights will help spread awareness about the current situation at the border.