KBI Media Report: December 2018–January 2019
Our media report this month is one that reveals the far-reaching impact of U.S. immigration policies on migrant families, in the U.S. and in their countries of origin, as they cope with the traumatic aftermath of extended detention, court delays, and most tragically, the death of a child.
- Family Separation Update: As immigrant children, forcibly taken from their parents at the U.S.–Mexico border last year, are reunited with their parents, the traumatic longer-term effects of their experience are increasingly coming to light. Confusion, listlessness, and distrust of one’s unpredictably changing circumstances are common. Also problematic, young children must reconcile the affection they may have developed for their foster families and their enjoyment of American culture and conveniences with longing for their parents, siblings and home communities and worries about being stranded away from their loved ones. This profile of a reunited Salvadoran family illustrates the deep relief of reunification as well as the heartbreak of children altered, perhaps permanently, by the separation: https://www.propublica.org/article/trump-administration-zero-tolerance-policy-family-separation-foster-care-immigrant-children.
- Government Shutdown Impact: With the recent government shutdown, already backlogged immigration courts are now closed, postponing long-awaited court dates with no certainty about when they can be rescheduled. Though the delays end up extending the time before possible deportation, the impact is largely negative, creating greater anxiety and financial hardship both for federal employees going without a paycheck as well as immigrants coping with the legal limbo they are forced to endure. This article covers the implications of the shutdown for undocumented individuals in greater detail: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/immigration/2019/01/04/government-shutdown-closes-immigration-courts-adding-huge-backlogs/2478195002/.
- Mourning a Child’s Death: What began as a journey of hope and a search for a life free from poverty ended in the greatest of tragedies. On Christmas Eve, eight-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo became the second Guatemalan child to die in U.S. custody in December. The devastation of this loss is felt by many in both countries, but nowhere more than in Felipe’s small village as his family and others mourn his death and try to make sense of the unexplainable. The deaths of Felipe and another migrant child in U.S. custody point to an overwhelming need for greater oversight, proper medical attention, and humane conditions in the U.S. detention system. Read here about the impact of Felipe’s death on his family and hometown: https://tucson.com/news/state-and-regional/guatemala-village-mourns-nd-child-to-die-in-us-custody/article_981229ba-ac53-57e1-b745-4f75d4692a91.html?fbclid=IwAR1DbSajW0qPjtfSArCBqcoe0acCrkIfK5eNMilXgbYeYSP4-Bk9YtiIzfU.