Speaking Out for Women and Girls Caught Up in the Zero Tolerance Policy
Since President Trump signed an executive order earlier this week to stop separating children from their parents, confusion has reigned along the border.
According to HHS, close to 30 percent of unaccompanied minors who have entered the U.S. have been girls. But where are they? Girls haven’t been shown in the photos of shelters where migrant children are being kept. And almost no information has been given about where girls are being sent after they are separated from their parents and put into HHS custody.
Vital Voices calls for the administration to immediately release information on the location and conditions of the young girls now in custody.
The executive order also did not address the uncertainty of how the nearly 2,500 children already in federal custody will be reunited with their families or how long undocumented families will now be detained together.
Vital Voices is calling for an end to family detention, decrying the psychological damage and trauma to mothers, children and families. Women are so often victims in times of crisis. A longtime partner of Vital Voices Human Rights programming, Bill Bernstein of Mosaic Services, has been working on the frontlines of this crisis and has seen the fear firsthand:
“There is a reason women are fleeing their native lands with their families: they are coming to America to find refuge from rampant domestic and sexual violence, and threats by drug cartels. If they return to their country, they would either be killed, subjected to sexual assault, or forced to carry drugs.”
Vital Voices believes what is needed is a comprehensive plan to reunify all parents and children who have been separated. Preserving the safety and dignity of women trying to protect their children is fundamental to a thoughtful, enlightened democracy.