Michigan foster organization readies for border kids taken from families
(WJBK) - Heartbreaking audio obtained by the Associated Press reveals children crying at the border after being ripped from the arms of their parents.
Their parents detained under the Trump Administration’s zero tolerance policy for illegal immigration. Outrage is growing - as both Democrats and some Republicans work to stop the separation of families.
Over the last six weeks - more than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents and are now being held at detention centers at the southern border.
"It is very scary," said Lena Wilson. "And the fact that we're not sure what due process is being done, it's pretty scary right now."
Lena Wilson the vice president of Child and Family at Samaritas, Michigan's largest private foster organization, recently agreed to help find homes for 60 children being held at the border.
Wilson says this is new territory.
"It wouldn't be often in the United States that you would see a large congregate facility for children in which you see them housed now," she said. "In fact there is federal legislation that talked about the best place for children is with their families.
"We're not sure how this is going to work. There is so many things at play that are not usually in play. When the parents have an English barrier and the child has an English barrier, the real concern is making sure that we can communicate with them. Making sure we have interpreters and making sure the parents know where their kids are and that they don't get lost."
That is the biggest fear right now - undocumented parents are working through the criminal system while their kids are being placed in foster care.
Some children are so young they aren't able to reveal basic information about themselves or their parents. The big question now is who is keeping track of these children?
"For those that I guess we can locate the parents and figure a safe way to make sure they are reunited perhaps," said Wilson. "If not, they would remain here so their legal jurisdiction would be in question."
Wilson says they expect the displaced children to arrive in Metro Detroit by the end of the summer. They will first be housed at the Wellspring facility in Farmington Hills and eventually foster care.
The Samaritas organization is quickly working to get more foster parents, mentors and interpreters to make sure support is in place for the kids likely traumatized by being taken from their parents.
"No matter how nice a congregate facility is, it is still a congregate facility," Wilson said. "It is a very sterile environment, there is not a lot of structure caring hugging a child needs from parent.
"There are a lot of things that can happen and a lot of long range impacts for this. And that is what's scary."
There is no law dictating children must be separated from their parents who have been caught crossing into the country illegally. However, there are laws against entering the US illegally.