The Trump administration has instituted a zero-tolerance policy on illegal immigration, pledging to prosecute every single person who is found crossing the border without documentation. In order to do that, officials are separating adults from any children who are traveling with them, sending the kids to government shelters or military bases to stay while authorities give clearance to a long-term sponsor who can assume care.
Until that sponsor is located, children are waiting in shelters or sent to temporary foster parents who volunteer to provide transitional care. The New York Times spoke to several temporary foster families, who described the extreme anxiety and uncertainty that migrant children face after being separated from their parents.
One caregiver described the entire process as "horrendous," telling the Times that a 5-year-old boy she is fostering cried himself to sleep for days, keeping drawings of his Honduran family tucked under his pillow. When she had to tell the boy, José, that it was unclear when he would see his parents again, he erupted into "anguish" and fury.
The director of Bethany Christian Services, an organization that is placing migrant children with foster families in Michigan and Maryland, said José's story is sadly typical. Kids who are separated from their parents often have nightmares, anxiety, and stomachaches, she said.
Other foster parents described an inconsolable 3-year-old who is now terrified of being separated from his foster mother, and an 18-month-old girl who is now upset every time she has to leave her foster home. "It's heart-wrenching," said José's foster parent. Read more at The New York Times.