Commentary by Francois Crépeau: ‘“Zero tolerance” policies are harmful. We need to move towards harm-reduction policies. Undocumented migration is not a crime, merely an administrative offence, just like driving without a permit: no one is hurt, no property is damaged or stolen, and 99.99% of undocumented migrants do not represent any threat to national security. Thus, the comparison with breaking and entering is specious: undocumented migrants are not criminals.’
We as a nation have crossed so many ugly lines recently, yet one new policy of President Trump’s particularly haunts me. I’m speaking of the administration’s tactic of seizing children from desperate refugees at the border.
“I was given only five minutes to say goodbye,” a Salvadoran woman wrote in a declaration in an A.C.L.U. lawsuit against the government, after her 4- and 10-year-old sons were taken from her. “My babies started crying when they found out we were going to be separated.”
“In tears myself, I asked my boys to be brave, and I promised we would be together soon. I begged the woman who took my children to keep them together so they could at least have each other.”
This mother, who for her protection is identified only by her initials, J.I.L., said that while in El Salvador she was severely beaten in front of her family by a gang, and she then fled the country to save the lives of her children.
Who among us would not do the same?
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