When there is political conflict, kids often pay the biggest price. In war torn nations, they make up an alarming majority of civilian casualties and trauma victims. In fact, that more than half of civilians killed or in wars are children. These casualties represent the utmost degree to which the horrors of war affect the innocent.
When we think of the impacts of systematic conflict, many Americans envision a far away land. After all, wars are waged by soldiers in conflict zones, not on our home soil. However, not all systematic oppression takes the form of violent threats.
At this time in America, the immigration debate has intensified. While people on both sides of the argument have valid points in their favor, the way that immigrant children have been treated cannot be ignored. Immigrant kids crossing the U.S.-Mexico border with their parents have been arrested and detained.
Thousands of them have been taken away from their parents and even taken out of state. Farhad Azima has seen this sort of suffering in the past, particularly when he helped evacuate orphans from war-torn Kosovo. Farhad Azima recognizes that this work is critical, since it’s everyone’s responsibility to help children in need.
In the United States, the 2016 presidential election race triggered a lot of change. This includes a significant shift in the way that we discuss immigration. Among its other policy initiatives, the White House has advocated strong borders. This includes a renewed commitment towards ensuring that immigration laws are followed.
In April 2018, President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a zero-tolerance policy on illegal immigration. Thus, there has been a recent boost in immigration arrests. Individuals caught crossing illegally are being arrested and brought to detention centers. At these centers, they wait to receive the judicial due process they are entitled to receive.
Some of the immigrants arrested crossing the border have children. Others are unaccompanied minors themselves.
There are growing concerns about the way immigrant children are being treated in ICE detention centers. In fact, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon visited one such detention center and relayed what he saw.
“When I was at the center at McAllen Border Station,” Merkley in an interview reported in the Washington Post, “I did see the people, hundreds of children locked up in cages there at that facility.”
The article went on to explain that this practice has been underway for years. However, the new zero-tolerance policy has caused more and more children to be detained by U.S. immigration.
The news cycle was full of stories of immigrant parents lamenting over their lost children. One father from El Salvador was interviewed by NBC News about his 11 year-old son. The father and son were separated trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this summer.
The man told journalists that he has not been able to stop crying since his son was taken away from him. The man indicated that he did not even know where his son was taken or whether he will ever see the boy again.
Many of them are pleading for help, and sometimes the public attention they get does help their cause. For example, one mother and daughter were recently reunited after being separated at the border.
Their reunion was expedited by a recording recently released to the media in which immigrant children were pleading for their parents. The pain and fear in their voices reached the hearts and minds of many, and in some cases have helped spur reunification.
Even if they have access to what they need for basic survival, the fear and discomfort they experience can be traumatizing. Often, children stuck in the middle of political conflict are simply helpless. In these cases, children often suffer the loss of their support systems.
They often lose those they depend on for survival, as well as for care and empathy. These disruptions cause a number of children to lose all adult connections. When this happens, they required to navigate a new and complex world alone. That’s when private citizens like Farhad Azima step in to help.
In 1998 and 1999, a violent ethnic conflict in Serbia separated many children from their parents. At this time, violence was everywhere. Children were constantly in harm’s way. They witnessed terrible acts of violence. Some private citizens, including Farhad Azima , saw this as a call to action.
Between 1998 and 1999, the conflict in Kosovo displaced an estimated 300,000 people, and the majority of these refugees were children. Just like the kids detained crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, many of these children had no place to return home to.
Some, however, were able to find a new home in Switzerland. But how were they supposed to get there? This is where Farhad Azima’s humanitarian efforts play a considerable role.
The Swiss government accepted tens of thousands of refugees from the conflict in Kosovo. Of the nearly 150,000 Yugoslavian citizens who sought asylum in Europe, Switzerland sheltered nearly one out of every four. This included many unaccompanied children, who had no way of arriving to safety without help. This is where Farhad Azima hears a call to action.
He transported children left without a family via airlifts. Without a doubt, many children are alive and well today due to these tremendous achievements.
Farhad Azima wishes he could simply airlift the unaccompanied and orphaned immigrant children of America to their new homes. But unfortunately, the problem is much more complicated than that.
Fortunately, the Trump administration has been ordered by a Federal judge to reunify detained immigrant children with their families. According to Politico, these reunification efforts are accelerating quickly.
Hopefully, private citizens won’t have to step in and provide humanitarian assistance if the government fails to live up to its commitments. But if they must.Farhad Azima will be among the first to offer up his support for these innocent children.
New Audio Gives Voice To Migrant Kids In U.S. Detention Center | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC
Published on Jun 18, 2018
Ginger Thompson, senior reporter for ProPublica, talks with Rachel Maddow about newly published audio from inside a migrant child detention center, which Thompson received from a civil rights attorney who obtained it from a client.