How did the United States get to the point of separating children from their parents at the southern border? 7 Eyewitness News got some clarification from Western New York immigration experts.
Rosanna Berardi has been practicing immigration law for decades. She says, the laws haven’t changed, but the implementation of the laws have.
“Really in actuality, this goes all the way back to the Bush administration,” said Berardi. “What's brand new is the zero tolerance policy.”
When undocumented families try to enter the country illegally, the parents are prosecuted. Their children are taken to detention facilities until it's determined if their parents can enter the country. However, there are times that children aren't crossing the border with their parents.
“What's happened over time is smugglers, traffickers would bring back bunches of kids that knew the government wouldn't detain them, they would just turn them back or they would just let them go into the US system,” said Berardi.
This can make the whole process take much longer.
“And that takes time to make sure that you have children who are being taken care of who are being appropriately placed with somebody, somewhere, who has also been appropriately vetted,” said attorney Jennifer Stergion.
Berardi doesn't want to see families torn apart, but she's hopeful images like these will help change the way immigration works in this country.
Steps to change what's happening on the southern border appear to gaining traction in D.C. Two bills will be discussed in congress this week proposing immigration reform.