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US News Isolated migrant children, a new symbol of the American presidential campaign

01:40  24 october  2020
01:40  24 october  2020 Source:   lepoint.fr

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During the final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Thursday evening, the pair clashed over The Obama administration first built the “cages” to temporarily hold the migrant children . “They are so well taken care of ,” the president then claimed.

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Une mère retrouve son fils dont elle avait été séparée à la frontière entre le Mexique et les Etats-Unis, en aout 2018 à Guatemala © ORLANDO ESTRADA A mother finds her son from whom she had been separated on the border between Mexico and the United States, in August 2018 in Guatemala City

The drama of 545 children separated at the US-Mexico border and whose parents remain untraceable invited themselves to the US presidential campaign thanks to the debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on Thursday.

La journaliste Kristen Welker lors du dernier débat entre le président américain Donald Trump et le candidat démocrate Joe Biden, le 22 octobre 2020 à Nashville, au Tennessee © JIM BOURG Journalist Kristen Welker during the last debate between US President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee

"How can these families be reunited one day?", journalist Kristen Welker questioned, addressing the President of the United States.

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Some 545 children were separated from their parents under a Trump Administration 'pilot program' which ran between April and December 2017. About two-thirds of the parents had been deported back to their country of origin before a judge ordered that they must be reunited with their kids.

A timeline of events related to migrant children 's detention centers in the United States. Trump administration family separation policy. Casa Padre. Casa San Diego. Prison–industrial complex.

The parents of 545 children separated when they entered the United States since 2017 have not been found, according to the powerful civil rights association ACLU.

"We are working on it, we are making a lot of efforts," replied Donald Trump, without further clarification, more than two years after a federal judge ordered the end of the separations and the reunification of families.

It is not the government, but associations, in particular the ACLU, which carry out most of the research to find the parents, of whom about two thirds, expelled, are now in their country of origin, according to their estimate.

"The children were brought in by coyotes and a lot of bad guys, the cartels, to enter the country," Donald Trump said, assuring that many had been brought to the border without their parents.

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They were Native American ancestors who crossed a narrow spit of land connecting Asia to North America some 20,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age. Immigration from Western Europe turns from a trickle into a gush, which causes a shift in the demographics of the United States.

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The ACLU, on the basis of data communicated by the American administration, however noted more than 5,000 cases of effective separation. "It's criminal," Joe Biden denounced during the debate.

Un centre de l'immigration américaine en juin 2018 à McAllen, au Texas © Handout An American immigration center in June 2018 in McAllen, Texas

"Today we have the safest border we have ever had", continued the head of state to justify his policy migratory.

- "The beginning of a nightmare" -

"They are very well taken care of," said the Republican billionaire about unaccompanied minors, who are, according to him, in "very clean" premises.

The Department of Homeland Security has assured the Washington Post that all these children, of whom about 60 are under five, have now been entrusted to relatives or a referent adult.

But several observers have testified to worrying accommodation conditions for these minors when they were still in closed reception centers, particularly in terms of hygiene.

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Children sleeping on floors, changing other children ’s diapers. Families torn apart at the border. Migrants crammed into fetid detention centers. These have become familiar sights as people fleeing gang violence, domestic abuse and poverty arrive on the southern border of the United States.

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"If the president considers polyester blankets, concrete floors, windowless rooms and fences to be the norm for children's wards, he's missing the point," Krish O said. 'Mara Vignarajah, president of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services association, after the debate.

Le président américain Donald Trump (g), le candidat démocrate Joe Biden et la journaliste Kristen Welker (c), lors du dernier débat télévisée, le 22 octobre 2020 à Nashville, au Tennessee © Chip Somodevilla US President Donald Trump (g), Democratic candidate Joe Biden and reporter Kristen Welker (c), during the last televised debate on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee

"These conditions were not that the start of a three-year nightmare that is not over and could traumatize them for the rest of their lives, "he added.

Beyond the policy of separation, since abandoned, the difficulties in reuniting families still broken up are "incredible negligence", according to George Hoffman, director of the Immigration Clinic of the University of Houston, which supports migrants in their efforts.

"The Trump administration has implemented this policy to satisfy its base, without legal authority," he adds, also mentioning the closure of borders to nationals of countries where the Muslim religion is dominant.

Pushed to justify himself, Donald Trump returned the ball to the Democratic camp, repeating several times: "who built the cages, Joe?"

He was referring to warehouses converted into accommodation centers by the Obama administration, overtaken by a wave of migrants that he could no longer manage.

Former vice-president of Barack Obama, Joe Biden did not directly counter-attack on the subject, but specified that the Obama administration had never ordered the separation of children at the border.

Contrary to what he had promised during his first campaign, Donald Trump only had a few kilometers of wall built between Mexico and the United States in places where one did not already exist.

But it has adopted a tough migration policy, restricting visa, asylum and nationality applications, while strengthening the prerogatives of the immigration service, ICE.

lbc / tu / leo

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