Our View: Religion does not justify the separation of families

This summer, headlines were ablaze with photos, testimonies and accounts of the separation of immigrant parents and children. Public outcry quickly broke as devastating images of children in camp-like tents sat, not knowing when they would see their parents again.

Talk of separating immigrant families has been floating around since early 2017 when John Kelly, then secretary of Homeland Security, confirmed that the Trump administration had been considering the action. It wasn’t until April of 2018, when The New York Times published a report of the separations, that the public became more aware of it. The report stated that since October, more than 700 children, 100 of whom were under the age of four, had been separated from their families. This report sparked national outrage.

Later, the number of separated children was reported to be more than 2,000. News coverage from within the camps showed what it was like in the life of a separated, inmigrant child. The tent cities, costing tens of millions of dollars according to NBC news, housed kids ranging from below five years old to 17, for weeks.

It wasn’t until mid-June that public interest spiked, and the Trump administration began catching more heat for their actions. Against public up-roar, the Trump administration defended the separations as a necessary deterrent for illegal immigrants, saying they would not apologize for it. Attorney General Jeff Sessions even went as far as citing the Bible to defend the legislation, using Romans 13, which discusses obeying laws.

Understandably, this further fueled public rage on the issue. Picking verses from the Bible to justify these actions is ridiculous. The separation of innocent children from their parents, causing confusion, uncertainty and fear in their lives is far from biblical. If any attention or effort was put into reading about the Gospel, one could easily see the emphasis on love and grace, two things this administration is missing the point of.

Furthermore, you cannot use Christianity, or any religion for that matter, to validate actions which deliberately harm others. The separation of immigrant children from their families is inhumane, and no religion, or any moral person for that matter, would view it as an action which could possibly be justified.

A court-mandated order to reunite the more than 2,000 families by July 26 was issued, and as the deadline approached, a majority of the families were, in fact, reunited. However, the government used guidelines of “eligible” and “ineligible” to determine which families could be reunited. What deems a family ineligible was the question.

In hundreds of cases of separated children, they were considered ineligible for reunification because their parents had already been deported or accepted “voluntary removal”. This leaves hundreds of children with no family, and it’s up to the U.S. to locate the parents.

In addition to the ethical implications of separating families, the U.S. government spent an estimated $40 million on building and maintaining these “tent cities” for immigrant children to be housed in. This money could have been allocated in a way which would make sustainable headway on the immigration problem, rather than short term advancements and quick fixes.

The government has created an ethical and economic problem which is going to get worse before it gets better. As for the hundreds of children still without their parents, their wait will continue as the government begins the almost futile search for their parents across borders, and the American government works to clean up the mess it has made.

The Carrier’s editorial opinion represents the views of the senior members of the Campus Carrier and Viking Fusion news staff.

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