Last week’s news was filled to the brim with more discussion about the horrible treatment of migrant children who tried to seek refuge in the United States after escaping persecution in their home countries. Luckily, social media has played an incredibly important role in spreading awareness about how these some children are currently being treated, as well as the conditions they are being forced to live in. Hashtags, pictures, and videos have spread like wildfire across the internet, but despite the discussions, there is still a strong feeling of confusion amongst the public regarding which pieces of information are truly credible. Whenever a migrant family is apprehended by the Border Patrol, parents are immediately taken into custody and sent to trial for criminal prosecution. Meanwhile, their children are also taken into custody and are watched over by the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The U.S. government has stated that the separation of parents and their children is a tactic used to prevent adults who are trying to cross into the United States from bringing their children. While the ORR used to specifically be responsible for young adults who hadn’t turned 18 yet, they have now been given the responsibility of watching over children of all ages. With many of the children’s parents being in custody, the ORR has decided to keep the children in cells, while in many cases not giving the kids access to essential hygiene products such as toothpaste or deodorant, further worsening the already poor quality of life the children are forced to accept. If the parents of a child do get released, they are given no information as to where their child may be, as the Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) and ORR do not have a system for tracking the whereabouts of each child that is in their custody. News stations have spoken about how the Border Patrol have reportedly abused some of these children, which leads many to ask why the government feels that officers working at the Border Patrol are best suited to be responsible for watching over these helpless kids. While currently being held in rooms with no showers or beds, what actions have to be taken before these children are given proper conditions to live in?
Another major topic in the news recently has been climate change, and the devastating financial effects that may be awaiting the United States in the years to come if proper attention is not given to the issue. Wild fires, deadly weather events, and high levels of heat have the potential to cause health problems, weaken the country’s infrastructure, as well as cost the United States billions of dollars in lost labor. Climate change issues are becoming increasingly apparent on a global level as well, as this past year has caused the first rise in carbon dioxide emissions since 2015. Issues such as these were meant to be on the mend thanks to the 2015 Paris agreement, which saw 195 countries vowing to reduce their overall emission output, but clearly things are not going as smoothly as the agreement had planned on paper. The United States government must take action to prevent matters such as these from getting worse, otherwise there may be detrimental consequences for the country and citizens down the line.