Helen Ceballos, immigration

Donald Trump’s immigration law

The promise of not dividing families and minors does not solve the problem

The interview of Helen Ceballos that I realized raised my curiosity about immigration in America. The photos of his performance not only tell his personal experience but denounce controversial and difficult legislation. Those who lose, as often happens, are minors.

A bit of history

The United States of America is a nation of migratory origin with just 200 years of history. In recent years, several laws have been issued to regulate illegal immigration.

The Flores Vs. Reno case

In 1997 an agreement called Flores’s agreement guarantee the key points for minors in the detention centers.

  • food and drinking water,
  • medical assistance in case of emergencies,
  • toilets and sinks,
  • adequate temperature control and ventilation,
  • adequate supervision to protect minors from others,
  • separation [of children] from unrelated adults when possible

For more in more information, you can read the whole Flores agreement document.

The 2001 attack and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), 2002

The terrible attack on the World Trade Center in New York has decreed the beginning of new laws regarding privacy and immigration. In 2002, the Congress approved the Homeland Security Act (HSA), which created a new body called the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Following the increase in migratory flows, better border control and coordination was required.

DHS assigns border control, detention and reassignment to two different entities: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (ICE) and The United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). The control and detention of unaccompanied minors was assigned to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Three different institutions for greater efficiency due to the increase in immigration.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), 2008

The aforementioned reform aims to protect and prevent the trafficking of unaccompanied minors. By entrusting DHHS with the responsibility of assigning to the child an adoptive family and guaranteeing protection by a lawyer who takes care of the minor’s interests.

Trump’s zero tolerance in reality

The 45th president of America has exacerbated the crime of illegal immigration, prison is now planned. What happens if an irregular family or minor is intercepted at the border?


In the case of unaccompanied children the TVPRA proceeds to custody waiting to be repatriated or given to foster families.

In the situation of a family, the various departments assigned take care and register adults, who are jailed until the conclusion of the legal investigations. And their children?

The penalty of incarceration is not applicable for minors. The bureaucratic phallus that is created, does not allow minors to be adopted or repatriated as legitimate children of filial immigrant parents. It follows the permanence in inadequate structures and often very similar to prisons.

Step backwards

The strong criticism and indignation for the repeated separations forced Trump to back down, signing a decree to guarantee the family unit.

The data, however, do not give reason because different statistics report that only one third of the children re-embrace their parents. For what reason?

Unaccompanied minors, who cross the border, flee from poverty and organized crime. Many parents, living in Guatemala and Honduras for example, are difficult to contact or refuse to welcome their children back home. They hope that they will be adopted or entrusted to a relative legally residing in America.

In the other case, the procedures for applying for political asylum or the simple registration of illegal immigrants require periods ranging from weeks to months. During this time, families are transported to welcome camps. Unfortunately, despite the declared efforts, the centers are often without certification and take prison measures on individuals who have not committed any crime.

The decree guarantees the united family, but does not take into account the long bureaucratic times. In this situation, parents can choose to stay with their children or ask for the separation hoping children to be adopted or inserted through a “sponsor”. Given the poor quality of life, economic resources and international criminal gangs, many parents prefer the second option, rather than seeing them return to their country and end up in criminal gangs.

The structures

The centers of Hutto and Shilom have suffered complaints about the lack of certification of the structure. In addition psychological violence, prison regime and obligation to take psychotropic drugs were. Many lawyers have verified the precarious conditions of the centers. Children in hysterical cries or depressing silences continue their stay for a long time.

Many minors still remain in this sort of limb comparable to prison where political, economic and legal interests slow down the solution for a more appropriate treatment.

Further details

Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview

Codifying the Flores Settlement Agreement: Seeking to Protect Immigrant Children in U.S. Custody

Frequently Asked Questions on the Flores Agreement Settlement


Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation

Marco Pachiega