Systematic Punishment and Detention of Immigrant Parents is Unethical

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We have a major crisis in our hands. Our immigration policy is outdated and at a standstill due to the failure of compromise in our government. Congress has yet to pass a meaningful and sensible immigration policy. Your stance on separating families at the border changed only due to backlash of your unethical policy. We now have thousands of displaced children detained in camps spread around the country with no parents to fend for them. You have a “zero-tolerance” policy that prosecutes every parent who crosses the border illegally.

We have thousands of immigrants being held in detention centers that are eating away our taxpayer dollars. We do not have the capacity nor the capability to hold this amount of people. “…the agencies do not have the capacity to fully implement the policy at present, as prosecuting all border crossers would require increased numbers of federal judges and defense lawyers, U.S. Marshals personnel to transport the migrants, and ICE detention capacity” (Pierce, et al.). We must stop detaining and punishing parents who cross the border with their children and allow them the right to gain access into our country. With the help of non-profit, humanitarian groups, and sponsors, we can care for these families in a humane way while they await due process and earn a right to stay.

Since you have taken office, you have made certain to take steps that deter immigrants from coming here. Under your administration, the Senate has rejected four immigration reform proposals, you have criticized sanctuary cities, and you have deployed troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. Timeline of key points in your current administration:

  • May 2018: You release your “zero-tolerance” policy
  • May 7, 2018: Your administration announces it will prosecute parents who cross the border with their children
  • June 20, 2018: You sign an executive order addressing the separation of children from parents crossing the border illegally

You have made it clear that your administration is implementing a “zero-tolerance” immigration policy and will prosecute them. Prosecution is unnecessary and costly. Your approach to charging these offenses impose substantial costs to not only migrants but to our government, as well. Most importantly, it violates international law. The law requires that we give a screening interview with an asylum officer if they express fear of persecution by returning to their homeland. We are not even giving them that chance.

Many migrants are being denied their right to due process under forced coercion over plea bargains and/or misunderstandings. As part of the Refugee Convention of 1951, we are prohibited from penalizing individuals requesting protection from persecution or torture in their country of origin (American Immigration Council). Most migrants risk the consequences and endure the unimaginable journey to our borders specifically because of the dangers in their country.


Rescind your current “zero-tolerance” policy- This policy is an extension from Operation Streamline, a policy that is unethical and violates international law, and you can take it back. It has caused many families to be separated and our funds/sources to be depleted. You imply that immigrants are making our economy an unfair playing field, yet we are using our resources on people who could be working and giving back to the economy.

Let them earn their stay- Allow parents the same rights as asylum seekers or through Temporary Protected Status; the reasons they are fleeing their countries may not be the prime definition of this, but we need to either create an exception for these specific group of people and/or redefine on what terms asylum or TPS will be granted After a preliminary background check, grant these parents and their children temporary state Reroute the money that is used for the upkeep of detention centers to be used to make temporary living quarters if they do not have family or cannot find a sponsor Give them access to apply for work visas and/or student visas, to let them earn their stay in sanctuary cities that do not mind having them Supply a temporary stipend to get on their feet and once they are established, set up a payback plan.

Allow us to help- nonprofit organizations, sponsors, churches, humanitarian groups.

Resolve the underlying issue- lengthy process, expensive, not accessible, launch a program of legalization that will most unauthorized immigrants already here a chance to stay, expand our policy so that illegal immigration Immigrant parents who come to the border illegally with their children are coming to escape the dangers and lack of welfare in their home countries. Punishing them violates international law. Detaining them is beyond our means and should only come as a last resort measure.

We must remember that we are human beings and treat each other with human decency with regards to the law. We are the United States of America and how we treat immigrants shows who we are to the world. We should allow immigrants the right of due process. We need a sensible, updated, streamlined immigration policy that allows immigrants to come without being prosecuted and the opportunity to apply for legal status with timely results. “The continued failure to devise and implement a sound and sustainable immigration policy threatens to weaken America’s economy, to jeopardize its diplomacy, and to imperil its national security” (Bush, et al.)


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Systematic Punishment and Detention of Immigrant Parents is Unethical. (2021, Nov 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/systematic-punishment-and-detention-of-immigrant-parents-is-unethical/

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