The tragic story behind the viral picture of a migrant child that’s breaking the world’s heart – Detained at the border

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Detained at the border

Detained at the border

The viral picture of a 2-year-old girl crying as a border agent at the US-Mexico border pats down her mother has broken the internet. The picture has become a symbol of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, which has led to separation of hundreds of children from their parents and forced them into government shelters. Here’s a look at how it came to this, the burgeoning crisis and what might happen next.

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AFP

The burgeoning crisis

The burgeoning crisis

US announced a “zero tolerance” policy in April that allowed all immigrants apprehended while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally to be criminally prosecuted. The policy has led to family separations as when border agents refer apprehended migrants to court for prosecution, parents are held in federal jail to await trial by a judge while the children either remain in border patrol custody or are moved to facilities.

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AFP

​Ground reality

​Ground reality

Despite efforts to stifle it, illegal immigration into the US remains at high levels. From March to May this year more than 50,000 people a month were apprehended for illegally crossing the border from Mexico. About 15 percent of those are arriving as families, and eight percent as unaccompanied children. Mexican nationals can be pushed back into their country, but an increasing number are from violence-plagued countries of Central America, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

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AFP


What the govt says

What the govt says

The Trump administration says that the government’s previous approach had become a magnet for anyone wanting to enter the United States. They say an increasing number of migrants arrive with the help of human smugglers, well-coached to request “credible fear” asylum, and can’t be turned back.

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AFP

Problem of plenty

Problem of plenty

Between October 2017 and April this year about 700 children were taken from their parents, and held for weeks or sent on to other caretakers before they could be reunited again. But that failed to impact arrivals. In the five weeks from the announcement, more than 2,300 children were taken from their parents and adult relatives.

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AFP

Road ahead

Road ahead

The national outcry has roiled midterm election campaigns, emboldening Democrats while putting Republicans on the defensive. Top conservatives, including key Trump allies, have introduced bills to keep the migrant families together. The House is to vote later this week on two bills that address broader immigration issues to protect young immigrant “Dreamers”, who have been living in the US illegally since childhood, from deportation and fund Trump’s border wall.

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AFP


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