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The “zero tolerance” immigration policy introduced by the Trump Administration in April recently gained deep and widespread condemnation from both politicians and the American public, as well as the international community.

More than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents, many seeking asylum due to escalating instability and dangerous conditions in their native countries. At least 100 of those children are under the age of 4, according to a report by ProPublicaThese people are awaiting prosecution for seeking to cross the Mexico-U.S. border illegally, considered a misdemeanor charge (although re-entry is a low-level felony).

FACING CRITICISM

One of the most notable examples of criticism is the public scrutiny issued by all five living First Ladies, including current First Lady Melania Trump. Former First Lady Laura Bush penned an op-Ed for The Washington Post, published on Sunday, June 17, writing: “I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

American citizens also made their opinions heard, within social media and in real-life protests. One San Francisco couple started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $1,500, enough money to free one migrant parent with a low bond. Within days, they had raised more than $15 million—and the total continues to grow. They have since handed over the fundraising effort to Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a Texas nonprofit that will use the money to assist these families.

On Wednesday afternoon, President Trump signed an executive order intended to keep families reaching the border together while they wait to be granted asylum. However, it is unclear whether this effort will also assist the parents already separated from their children locate and reunite with them. 

A REAL PROBLEM

In spite of political affiliations or personal feelings, one of the most prevalent issues apparent as this story escalated was the spread of misinformation and the misrepresentation of facts. Though the Border Patrol has been around since 1924, it became evident that many American citizens are unaware of the full extent of the organization’s duties and policies. The same can be said for the zero tolerance policy: Although the policy in its current form was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions just months ago, this issue has existed for some time.

Humanities E-Book has myriad titles dedicated to the topic of Migrant Studies and continues to add more to our collection in an effort to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information to our subscribers. It is impossible to grasp the history of America without understanding the history of migrants, from their journeys to the communities they inhabit and mold.

Featured Image (“Immigrant rights march for amnesty in downtown Los Angeles, California on May Day, 2006”) via Wikipedia Commons, by Jonathon McIntosh (CC-BY-2.5)

Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol

Coming soon: By Kelly Lyle Hernandez (University of California Press, 2010)

Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America

By Mae M. Ngai (Princeton University Press, 2004)

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Mexican New York: Transnational Lives of New Immigrants

By Robert Courtney Smith (University of California Press, 2005)

READ 

Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation

By Alejandro Portes and Ruben G. Rumbaut (University of California Press, 2001)

READ

Anglos and Mexicans: In the Making of Texas 1836-1986

By David Montejano (University of Texas Press, 1987)

READ

War, Diplomacy, and Development: The United States and Mexico, 1938-1954

By Stephen R. Niblo (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1995)

READ

Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945

By George J. Sanchez (Oxford University Press, 1995)

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