Our Kids in Cages: Immigration Laws Hurting Children Julio Jones II

Yanela Sanchez and her mother escape from poverty and make their way to America only to reach the confinement they where running away from.

Yanela Sanchez

Yanela finds herself in a detention center. She is awaiting her future with twenty other children in a cage. This little girls story is not uncommon to many people in his situation.

"Men, women and children wrapped in mylar blankets as a means to stay warm."

The separation of Central American immigrant families is an epidemic in the United States of America. Many people assume that illegal immigrant children are being well taken care of while in a detention center. Research about this topic has shown that this statement is not true. In this paper I will argue that too many children are being separated from their loved ones, the detention centers for these children are overcrowded, and that these children are not being cared for properly.

According to Vox “Between October 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018, at least 2,700 children have been split from their parents", meaning a very large number of children are being taken away from their mothers and fathers that are just looking for a better life in the states (Lind). Adults that try to cross the Mexican-American border illegally are supposed to be criminally prosecuted, resulting in these parents being separated from their children. The Trump administration has enforced a zero-tolerance policy for immigrants who try to cross the Mexican-American border illegally, meaning if an immigrant family tries to cross the border illegally they will be prosecuted, and separated.

According to USA Today, “in May the U.S. government couldn't account for the locations of nearly 1,500 immigrant children, some people wondered how this could happen” (Estepa). Based off of these numbers, one could infer that these immigration children are not being well taken care of. Immigrants might claim asylum, but in many cases the asylum system is denied by the government (Estepa). Seeking asylum is giving an immigrant permission to stay in another country because of a risk of persecution. According to the New York Post, “More than 1,100 detainees were being held in an old warehouse in McAllen, Texas, Sunday, separated within chain-link fences — including one cage that held 20 children (Eustachewich)”. Twenty children in a cage is inhuman, and barbaric. These actions should not be taking place in the United States of America, the home of the free. These children are not free.

Even outside of the cages the quality of life is not pleasant for these children. According to Eustachewich, “There are no toys or books in the 77,000-square-foot facility, which a Department of Homeland Security official called the ‘epicenter’ of the Trump administration’s controversial immigration policy, according to NBC”. These children are not being given the childhood they need, and deserve. Imagine having a child and just wanting the best for them only for them to end up in a cage with twenty other children they do not even know. The separation of families is detrimental to both child, and parent. According to Vox “one Honduran man killed himself in a detention cell after his child was taken from him” (Lind). This man was under so much stress and uncertainty about his child that he decided to take his own life.

The act of separating children from their loved ones and placing them in cages is wrong. These Central American children are being punished for the wrong doings of their parents, which is unfair and unlawful. There is a gross amount of children separated from their parents, and on top of that the conditions that the facilities that the central American children live in are horrible. Finally these children are lacking everyday objects that are needed for the development of young minds.

Political views can be described with songs, books, movies, and pictures. Many people do not realize how difficult it is to become an American. Many Central American immigrant children face many trials and tribulations, and are confused on their journey to their new found home in the United States of America. Each path to America has its pros and cons, the question is which option will be the quickest and the safest. The quicker way to become an immigrant would be the illegal way. The safest way would be the legal way but that way might not be so quick, and this option may not be possible because it is a very competitive. Imagery plays a very large role in how people view certain aspects of life. Cartoonist have a way of conveying a very powerful and important message for Americans who do not understand how tough it is to become an American.

This image also portrays the Wizard of Oz, and the child character Dorothy who is depicted as an immigrant child. Dorothy ends up in a mysterious place and wants to find her way home, or a better life. In this cartoon the words “illegal” and “immigration” are written on the yellow brick road. Basically an immigrant child only has two options to becoming an American. The option depicted on the left is the illegal route which is the quick way to become an American. The path on the right might lead an immigrant to border security which might have the potential to get an immigrant child deported or end up in an illegal immigrant detention center. The other route that an immigrant child could take would be the legal route which can take a very long time. The upside to this choice would be that Dorothy would become a documented citizen in the states which has its advantages. The immigrant child Dorothy could also join the guest worker program. The guest worker program is “a foreign laborer working temporarily in an industrialized usually European country” (Merriam-webster). Both of these paths lead to the “wizard of Oz”, but to Central American immigrants this would be the equivalent to the United States of America.

Think About It

In reference to the yellow brick road there is an old saying for immigrants that “the streets where paved with gold”. This saying gives the idea of the American dream. The scarecrow figure in the center of the cartoon seems to resemble former president George W. Bush who was the forty-third leader of the executive branch. Former president George W. Bush enacted the Homeland Security act, the primary goal of this act was to prevent acts of terror (Homeland Security). This act primarily make it harder for immigrants trying to enter the United States of America legally. The scarecrow is pointing in two opposite directions with the words “this way is an interesting approach, too”. Meaning both paths are very complicated, both have their pros and cons.

The image above shows a lot of the problems that the immigrant community face today. The problems that date back from the George W. Bush administration to the Donald Trump administration hurt the children of the immigrant community. With all the trials and tribulations some immigrant children get to live out their dream and become an American.


  • Lind, D. (2018, June 11). The Trump administration's separation of families at the border, explained. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/2018/6/11/17443198/children-immigrant-families-separated-parents
  • Estepa, J. (2018, June 19). Immigrant children: Here's what's happening with kids at the border, policywise. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/05/29/heres-what-happening-immigrant-children-u-s-border/650755002/
  • The asylum process made simple. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.asylumaid.org.uk/the-asylum-process-made-simple/
  • Eustachewich, L. (2018, June 18). How children live inside cramped immigration detention centers. Retrieved from https://nypost.com/2018/06/18/how-children-live-inside-cramped-immigration-detention-centers/
  • Cumming-bruce, Nick. “Taking Migrant Children From Parents Is Illegal, U.N. Tells U.S.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 June 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/06/05/world/americas/us-un-migrant-children-families.html.
  • “Guest Worker.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/guest worker.
  • “Homeland Security Act of 2002.” Department of Homeland Security, 22 Sept. 2015, www.dhs.gov/homeland-security-act-2002.
  • http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/ad-offers-up-to-6054-a-month-tax-free-to-house-illegal-immigrant-children-in-california/
  • Shaw, Adam. “Crying Migrant Girl on TIME Magazine Cover Was Not Separated from Mother, Family Says.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 22 June 2018, www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/06/22/crying-migrant-girl-on-time-magazine-cover-was-not-separated-from-mother-family-says.html.


Created with images by Nitish Meena - "Immigrants make America Great" • JoeBamz - "mexican flag flag mexico" • Arwan Sutanto - "untitled image" • tiburi - "trump donald trump donald president usa politics" • babawawa - "prison jail detention fence wire barbed metal" • TeroVesalainen - "thought idea innovation"

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