A parent who is an illegal immigrant to the US is arrested under Donald Trump’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy while children who cannot be detained in adult jails face separation from their parents. Several such children are compelled to represent themselves in front of immigration courts.
What may seem absurd finds its way into world politics. The word proudly speaks about the significance of child rights and the need to bring forth sensitivity to the rights of children and their wellbeing. The paradox remains that while these ideas remain celebrated the pragmatic political discourse tends to compromise on its basic guiding principles. The fact that children are susceptible to exploitation that they require care and love is widely acknowledged but the way that policies like ‘Zero Tolerance’ deal with toddlers is unacceptable given its inhuman and insensitive treatment of children. The world is condemning the way that the US is dealing with immigrants and their off springs, compelling them to face inhuman conditions.
The hue and cry over the way the US is treating the children of immigrants from separating them from their parents has indeed surprised the world and put forward many questions about children’s rights. It seems absolutely absurd but in several cases the migrant children as young as three are asked to represent themselves in immigrant courts without their parents or lawyers in the US.
The condition of the children who have are compelled to represent themselves in the courts without their parents or lawyers, the anxiety the pass through, the helplessness and the innocent questions that haunt their minds have been realistically captured on celluloid by a short film made by director Linda Freedman that recreates the heart-breaking trajectories of these little children. The children are compelled to represent themselves in courts, face judges and questioned on issues like deportation.
Another short documentary entitled ‘Unaccompanied: Alone in America’ has been adapted from real recordings of court proceedings in which lawyers, immigration service workers and children are involved in conversation.
The fact that several immigrant children have no lawyers means that they are more alone and vulnerable in front of the establishment. The number of immigrant children who have no representation in US has tripled in the recent years. Under the US law children arrested for illegally entering the country don’t have the right to demand a court appointed lawyer or an interpreter. Many children are facing immigration proceedings without their parents under the ‘zero tolerance’ policy of Donald Trump, this makes them have a very disadvantageous position.
The anxiety and restlessness that these children face is depicted profoundly in the two short films made on the issue. The way the toddlers were appearing before the court without their parents and without any representative stands for the inhumanity ingrained in the US immigration policy.