Yesterday, on MSNBC, FWD.us’ Vice President of Advocacy, Alida Garcia, discussed how the Biden administration is processing migrant children at the U.S.- Mexico border and how the U.S. can welcome vulnerable children seeking safety with dignity while keeping our families and communities safe.
“The increase in migration to the Southern border, of recent history, began in the Trump administration. What we’re experiencing right now is a continuance of that; that began before Joe Biden entered office… I’m a mom, and God forbid one day I was separated from my children and they knocked on the doorstep of a stranger seeking help. I would be wanting two things from that stranger: 1) that they do not harm my child, and 2) that they quickly, safely find me to reunite my children with me. And that’s what the Biden administration is trying to do.”
You can watch the clip here.
The challenges the Biden Administration is facing to process migrant families and children seeking humanitarian relief at the border is a result of the chaos created by the Trump Administration. The current uptick in arrivals at the border didn’t start with Biden; it started in April of 2020 under Trump. Under Trump we saw the highest year to year increase in border arrivals since the 1940s. In addition to separating families, Trump cut aid to Central America, ended the program that let kids apply for protection near their homes rather than taking a dangerous journey to the border, and dismantled the asylum and processing systems that were in place.
Currently, the Biden administration is working around the clock with an all-of-government approach to put in place a safe, orderly and humane system. While the borders are mostly closed, and most new arrivals are being apprehended and removed, the main group of people allowed into the United States are children travelling alone as unaccompanied minors.
These vulnerable children have fled violence and danger in Central America, and have either a parent or close family in the United States who are ready to welcome them into their homes. With FEMA’s help, we urge the Biden administration to quickly reign in facilities and processing challenges to make sure kids are treated with dignity in the best interests of children.
We must draw back the hysteria of this moment at the border and focus on treating children and families with dignity. Restoring vital asylum protections and well-functioning systems to manage migration across the hemisphere and secure our border includes allowing migrants to enter the U.S. to seek asylum when faced with violence and persecution, as is their legal right under U.S. and international law.
A robust, smart asylum system will keep our country safe, strong, and prosperous, while doing right by thousands of vulnerable families.