The American government is separating children from their families who are seeking asylum at the U.S. border. News of horrific stories of family separation is causing widespread outrage and continue to need the world's attention.
As people and organizations alike organize efforts to provide support to migrant families, here are five of the many essential aspects of the border control crisis to keep in mind:
1. Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the border within the span of six weeks.
The image that best symbolizes #Trump’s America isn't from his rallies, magazine covers or the summit with North Korea but this image of a toddler being taken away from her mother at the border. pic.twitter.com/fmjKSGYSkE— Miguel Bernas (@phatfreemiguel) June 18, 2018
According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), 1,995 minors were separated from "alleged adult guardians" at the U.S. border over a period of six weeks, NPR reported. A spokesperson for DHS said the separations occurred in 2018 between April 19 and the end of May.
2. There's no preceding immigration law that calls for the separation of children from their parents, despite what President Trump has suggested.
President Trump has notably said, "the Democrats gave us the laws" in response to questions about the border control crackdown and family separations. But no law requires the separation of children from their parents at the border. Instead, Attorney General Jeff Sessions' "zero tolerance," policy, enacted in May, has, in turn, led to mass family separations.
The Trump administration's border control policy stands that all adults crossing the U.S. border illegally are to be criminally prosecuted. As a result of the criminal prosecution, adult migrants are sent to federal jail and brought before a federal judge weeks later – which in turn causes their children to be separated from them since you can't keep your children in jail.
As this Business Insider report reveals, DHS has issued a press release detailing its steps to prosecute "all amenable adults who illegally enter the country, including those accompanied by their children," under Sessions' direction.
"If you cross the border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you," Sessions said last month. "It's that simple."
3. Many faith leaders have publicly condemned the Trump Administration's immigration policy amid Sessions' recent use of religious Scripture to justify the policy.
Sessions recently quoted the Bible to justify separating children from their families at the border, but many faith leaders have responded by publicly condemning the practice.
As ABC News reported, many evangelical Christian leaders have released public statements and letters to the White House denouncing the practice of separating children from their families.
Religious leaders representing many faiths, including Muslim and Jewish leaders, have also unified to express disapproval of Trump's immigration policies publicly.
4. Some Border Patrol agents are allegedly lying to parents at the border about how long their children are being separated from them.
According to a Vox report, federal defenders have said some Border Patrol agents are lying to families about their separation time periods at the border. Border Patrol agents are allegedly misleading parents; reports reveal they're telling some parents their children are briefly being taken away for questioning or that they're getting a bath – when in reality they are being separated indefinitely.
5. The Trump administration is reportedly considering housing immigrant children in "tent cities."
The government is reportedly considering "tent cities" as an option to find space for migrant children, including the surging numbers of those separated from their families at the border, Vox reported.
Information on government shelters and the numbers of migrant children has been widely reported – one location in Texas is a former Walmart converted to house 1,500 boys aged 11 to 17, according to The New York Times.
The tent cities are reportedly a possible solution for space to house 1,000 to 5,000 migrant children.