A new zero-tolerance policy implemented by the Trump administration has a new mother grieving as her infant was allegedly taken away by authorities while breastfeeding at an immigration detention center.
There are few bonds more sacred than that of a mother and her infant. Any mother will tell you how difficult it is to separate from her new baby, whether it be returning to work or running to the grocery store. This mother-child bond extends to all cultures.
According to CNN News, federal authorities took an infant out of the arms of her undocumented Honduran mother while she was breastfeeding at a Texas detention center. When the unnamed woman became understandably upset she was handcuffed by the immigration officers, reports her lawyer Natalia Cornelio.
The new-zero tolerance policy separates children from their parents who are caught crossing into the United States illegally. In the past, border patrol agents have made attempts to keep families together by placing them in the same detention center. However, children are now being sent to group shelters, placed in foster care, or sent to live with other family members in the United States while their parents face prosecution.
Once a parent is in custody, the child is taken into the Health and Human Services (HHS) system.
“If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you, as required by law,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a press conference in May. “So, if you’re going to come to this country, come here legally. Don’t come here illegally.”
Approximately 500 children have been separated from their families since the policy introduction in May. Miguel A. Nogueras, an assistant federal public defender for the Southern District of Texas in McAllen, reports that some arrested parents are told that their children are being taken to be bathed or cleaned up, but they never see them again.
The ramifications of taking a child from their parent are devastating. Many breastfeeding babies have no experience taking milk from a bottle. Therefore, when taken from their mother, they experience difficulty feeding. Further, breastfeeding mothers face engorgement when they are unable to feed their babies. This process can be incredibly painful and can also put the mother at risk for mastitis.
If not reunited within a short timeframe, their milk supply diminishes, and they lose the ability to breastfeed their infants further.
Many migrants seeking safety in the United States do not have access to the resources to understand the ramifications of their decisions to try to enter the country with their children. As a result, they are facing unfathomable heartbreak as their family is torn apart unexpectedly.