The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.

Western Courier

Immigration proposals are unethical

Jason Adams

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As a pretty patriotic citizen of the U.S., I try my best to understand why our government’s agencies institute or consider policies with which I don’t necessarily agree. I figure there is more going on than the picture I’m seeing. Given some recent headlines, though, I’ve been having a hard time understanding what could possibly be gained. Reuters and ABC News reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering separating women and children who are caught crossing the border illegally. The purpose of the proposal being that it would deter mothers from trying to put their children in a dangerous situation where they could be exploited or killed. It should come as no surprise that this proposal is being staunchly challenged.

The idea would be that the mothers would be put into detention centers until trial and the children would be under the care of a U.S. citizen family member or some other form of guardian. Starting with the fact that, according to investigations by The Los Angeles Times, many U.S. detention centers are already overcrowded and are already a major expense for the government, financially, this doesn’t make any sense. There’s also the fact that immigrants most likely don’t have any U.S. citizen relatives if they’re coming over illegally. Then the children are stuck with court-appointed guardians, which is most likely foster care, until their parent’s hearing. Logistically and financially, this plan makes very little sense. There is one other problem though.

Ethically, this plan is absolutely insane. We are literally talking about separating children from their mothers just because they illegally crossed a border. The journey to cross the border, especially if coming from Central America, which, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a lot of these immigrants are, is a hard and exhausting journey that generally a mother would not put her child through unless it was the lesser of two evils. We take children who we can presume just went through a stressful and traumatic experience and then are pulled away from their mother. Now they are hopefully with a family member, but most likely a foster parent, and have pretty severe psychological and emotional trauma all because certain people in the government want to prove a point. How did we become a nation that won’t talk to terrorists yet considers separating families? As shown by The Center for Immigration Studies, The New York Times and other media outlets, the overwhelming majority of immigrants are less likely to commit crimes. In reality, they’re just looking for a better life, especially for their children. It’s just beyond belief that this is actually being considered. Hopefully it won’t be instituted and it will just stay an ethical and legal landmine waiting to be stepped on.

There are other ways to curb illegal immigration besides separating families. Families coming over the border aren’t even the main problem; those are the immigrants we probably need to worry about the least. Immigrants who try to have “anchor babies” to gain citizenship or use their children as a defense to stay besides doing illegal activities are more rare but should be the problems the DHS is be worried about. If you really want to hold them, hold them together as a family. Don’t hurt children to teach other undocumented immigrants a lesson; that’s just unethical.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Immigration proposals are unethical