LatinaLista — Earlier this week, a congressional hearing was held in Washington, DC to discuss the impacts of immigration raids, conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, on children and families.
ICE representatives, community leaders from across the nation and national organization leaders presented testimony.
One of those who testified about the academic impacts of those raids on the children was San Rafael, California Principal Kathryn Gibney.
Gibney testified that as a result of raids conducted within her community over a year ago, "she is still seeing rising absenteeism and falling test scores."
And it's not going to end anytime soon.
Yesterday, coincidentally, ICE went back to the same area and conducted another raid. Obviously, concerns and recommendations made in Washington on how to minimize the trauma of the event on the children fell on deaf ears.
Reports are coming in that children were not only traumatized by the events but were put right in the middle of them.
According to reports:
Bahia Vista Principal Juan Rodriguez saw ICE rounding up people on the childrenâ€™s route to walk to school.
Youth from Canal Allianceâ€™s afterschool programs who were waiting for an early morning school bus called Director JuanCarlos Arauz to report seeing a â€œcommand postâ€ at Mi Tierra Market and ICE vehicles driving up and down neighborhood streets. Youth text messaged friends and families to spread the news while others ran home.
Today, the schools are reporting multiple absences:
Seventy nine children at Bahia Vista Elementary, sixty five at San Pedro Elementary, and fifty three at Davidson Middle School stayed home today.
You don't have to be Dr. Phil to know that these raids are traumatizing children and yet the stories barely make Page 1 of the newspapers.
Is it because they are the children of undocumented parents?
It shouldn't make a difference. Children are children the world over and they deserve to be safeguarded by the government of the country they live in.
It's a demand that we make of every country on the planet and condemn those who don't adhere to this universal law.
To conduct raids or establish an intimidating presence where children are known to be with their undocumented parents doesn't justify the fear and terror that will stay with these children for a very long time, if not the rest of their lives.
ICE's actions may satisfy a short-term goal but it creates far-reaching consequences:
Children will learn to fear and mistrust government authorities. It may not matter now but as they grow up they will have little use to cooperate with laws and authorities.
The psychological impact of seeing parents rounded up, strangers waiting outside their schools and homes, strange cars and vans cruising neighborhood streets and angry-sounding men and women pounding on doors of homes and demanding to be let in, have to have an effect on these impressionable children who don't understand why this is happening in their communities.
It's an impact that will need to be treated through counseling or more, and paid for by the state or federal government.
In yesterday's raid in Marin County, with all the terror that was inflicted, only 17 people were arrested.
That number doesn't even come close to the number of children who are suffering as a result of those 17 arrests and who don't deserve to be subjected to this treatment by a country that touts itself for its humanitarian good deeds.
Where is our humanity now?