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Migrant teens held inside the Tornillo detention camp sit inside the facility Sunday in Tornillo, Texas. 

Between this April and the beginning of June, more than 2,000 children were separated from their families and held in detention cells at the border. Within a two-week span, that number grew to become 11,517 according to the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families.

Separating children from their families for choices they are simply too young to understand or handle creates trauma. The Associated Press reported children are forced to sleep in cages, using only a foil sheet as a blanket. Not only that, but they are fed chips and water as meals and forced to sit in an enclosed space, completely petrified, alone with other children and guards whom they don’t know and leaving them to feel abandoned.

According to the Los Angeles Times, A former youth care worker at a shelter in Tucson, mentioned how horrifying the conditions were and how children were attempting to commit suicide. There was screaming, things being thrown, children running away and kids being unable to comfort other children.

Why is it that once these detention centers have the children in custody, they continue to treat them less than human? Children need emotional security, social skills, physical safety and reasonable shelter.

This zero-tolerance policy by Trump administration is creating trauma for innocent children and causing unnecessary harm, just to prove a point to those who cross the border illegally. This situation must be handled differently.

Jessica Martinez, Kearney

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