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U.S.A: Family Separation Trauma, Some Are Overcoming And Some Are losing

Separating families is part of the Trump’s administration Zero Tolerance policy

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Immigrants seeking legal entry into the United States in McAllen, Texas.
Immigrants seeking legal entry into the United States in McAllen, Texas. VOA

The moment Lucia’s children asked her for food and she did not have anything to give them, and no way to get it, was the last straw. Lucia decided to take on the journey to the United States.

“That was the hardest moment for me,” she told reporters on Tuesday after arriving at the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas.

Lucia is not her real name and though she wanted to tell her story, she still did not feel comfortable sharing her identity. Sitting next to the 21-year-old Guatemalan woman were her 3-year-old girl and 6-year-old boy. They had just been released from the McAllen Border Patrol Processing Center and were among of the group advocates are calling “the lucky ones.”

Separation anxiety 

Lucia told VOA that people in Central America understand how difficult the journey to the U.S. border is, but they are not expecting children being separated.

“I’ve had not heard about this and I believe it is unfair. Like I told [CBP officers] ‘if you’re going to separate me from my children, please deport me and don’t take my children away from me,’” she told VOA.

Separating families is part of the Trump’s administration Zero Tolerance policy under which those detained entering the United States illegally are being criminally charged, a policy that leads to children being separated from their parents because under U.S. law children cannot stay with a parent facing criminal charges.

Art Arthur with the hardline-on-immigration Center for Immigration Studies says the policy has a strategic aim: “It is a deterrent. The only way that we’ll really know whether it works is when we see the numbers for June, July and August.”

A mother seeking entry into the United States with her children in McAllen, Texas.
A mother seeking entry into the United States with her children in McAllen, Texas. VOA

Yellow envelopes

Lucia was not expecting that her children might be taken away from her. She was also not expecting to see some of the things she saw inside the detention center.

“There was a woman that she would wake us up to count us. Since it was so cold inside and some children were able to sleep, some mothers would get up and didn’t want to wake up the children,” Lucia said.

“So, the officer kept saying, ‘Wake your children’ and when the mothers did not do it, the officer would come and grab the children and said ‘Wake up and go with your mothers,’” the Guatemalan woman said.

However, she landed at the humanitarian center where immigrants can rest, take a shower, check email, and receive instructions on what to do next. They can also get in touch with family members and arrange to buy bus tickets and travel to their final destination in the United States.

People at the community center on Tuesday carried big yellow envelopes. Inside? Papers that indicate they have an appointment with immigration. The papers explain that once they attend this appointment, they will receive their court date and receive instructions on what to do until next time inside the immigration court.

At the first appointment with the immigration judge, they will be asked why they came to the United States illegally and if they have a credible fear of going back.

When people come to the U.S. seeking protection, they are permitted to file for asylum regardless of their immigration status. U.S. law offers asylum to those people facing persecution in their home countries on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular group.

Others are hoping to ask for temporary protection.

Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director at the Catholic Charities Rio Grande Valley.
Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director at the Catholic Charities Rio Grande Valley. VOA

‘Lucky ones’

Fifty to 100 people arrive at the center almost every day. Lucia and the other families were released because of a discretionary decision among the Border Patrol, often because of the sheer volume of people being held at detention centers.

The discretionary enforcement decision allows Customs and Border Protection field supervisors to decide who they will stop, question, and arrest – and who they will release.

The ones at the center were released, not separated from their children, and given a chance to prove their credible fear case in an immigration court.

“This is a children’s crisis,” Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director at the Catholic Charities Rio Grande Valley and one of the leaders inside the Humanitarian Respite Center, told VOA.

“They’re not criminals. No criminals. They’re children. They’re human beings. They’re families,” Pimentel said.

Migrants seeking to enter the United States.
Migrants seeking to enter the United States. VOA

Legal basis 

There is no law requiring the separation of immigrant families at the border, however, if people are caught crossing the U.S. border without authorization and between official ports of entry is a misdemeanor crime.

Charging someone under the federal criminal statute has been historically reserved for those who committed serious or heinous crimes or those with a vast criminal record.

“The previous administration was also very focused in deportation and also created a way to keep families from being released and put in family detention. This administration has focused more harshly in pushing back and send a deterrence message that really goes to the extreme,” Pimentel said.

And she doesn’t think the message is going to be heard.

“A mother that has a kid that is suffering, nothing will stop her from saving her son,” sister Pimentel said.

Pimentel’s Humanitarian Respite Center is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. has assisted thousands of people and the Catholic sister has no plans in stopping the work.

Also read: Caravan migrants confused over next move at Mexico-U.S. border

“Every people that I am able to [I hope to help],” she said. (VOA)

Next Story

“Modern” Families in India, Today Adopting So Called “Old-Style” Habit of Cooking with Desi Ghee

They are, however, not alone

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Modern, Families, India
Three years ago, this family made a switch to "desi ghee" (clarified butter), again apparently because of its health benefits. Flickr

All the members of New Delhi-based S. Rahul’s family are health-conscious. That’s the reason why olive oil bottles, often perceived to be a healthier option compared to other cooking oils, made way to their kitchen. Three years ago, this family made a switch to “desi ghee” (clarified butter), again apparently because of its health benefits.

They are, however, not alone. More and more “modern” families in India today are adopting the so called “old-style” habit of cooking with desi ghee. What is more, even doctors and nutritionists agree that when consumed in limited quantity, it can strengthen your bone and boost immunity.

“Desi ghee is considered as one of the best immunity boosters in Indian society. It is beneficial for our eyesight, digestive system and even strengthens bones. Desi ghee also promotes healthy skin and hair,” Priyanka Rohtagi, Chief Clinical Nutritionist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, told IANS.

“It is a great antibiotic and helps during cold and cough. It is also used on wounds to speed up healing. During pregnancy, desi ghee provides nourishment to both the mother and the child as they need more nutrients,” she said.

Modern, Families, India
All the members of New Delhi-based S. Rahul’s family are health-conscious. Flickr

Rahul, however, made the decision to switch to desi ghee not on the basis of recommendations of any doctor or nutritionist. He said some YouTube videos explaining the benefits of desi ghee influenced his decision.

“We relied on olive oil before, but we have switched to desi ghee now as it does not burn a hole in your pocket and is also good for health because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It has also eased my psoriasis symptoms,” Rahul claimed.

“After trying desi ghee, we found that it helped us reduce weight while my parents too have stopped complaining about joint pains,” he added.

Desi ghee is made by gently heating cow milk butter. The process becomes complete once the water is evaporated and the fat is separated from the milk solids.

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“Ghee primarily contains saturated fatty acids and is rich in vitamins A, E and K2. It is also rich in Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and Butyrate, both of which have powerful health benefits,” B.L. Agarwal, Associate Director, Cardiology, at Jaypee Hospital in Noida, told IANS.

“A normal adult can consume 1-2 table spoons of ghee per day. Apart from that, this quantity can be slightly changed depending upon the quantity of work out one is doing,” Agarwal said.

However, desi ghee should be consumed judiciously as it results in obesity and people suffering from any heart disease, kidney ailment or cholesterol should avoid or limit its consumption, Rohtagi stressed.

“Those who have vitamin A, D, E and K deficiency should take desi ghee in moderation. Consuming desi ghee regularly is excellent for joint health and can act as a lubricant,” said Shalini Bliss, Head Nutritionist and Dietician, Columbia Asia Hospital in Gurugram.

Modern, Families, India
That’s the reason why olive oil bottles, often perceived to be a healthier option compared to other cooking oils, made way to their kitchen. Flickr

“It is also helpful in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis,” she added.

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However, consumers should keep in mind that desi ghee contains saturated fat and overdose for a long time can increase cholesterol level, which is not good for the body, experts said. (IANS)