Immigration policy impacts children nationally and locally

Immigration policy impacts children nationally and locally
(Advocates for basic legal equality (ABLE) are providing free legal aid to those impacted.)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - One picture is bringing the immigration issue front and center. The photo shows a little Honduran girl crying as her mother is questioned by border agents.

Whether for or against the tightening of the borders, most feel for the children who are caught in the middle.

These children being separated from their families are happening all across the county even right here in our area.

"Just confusion and chaos really," said Mark Heller, a senior attorney with advocates for basic legal equality.

It has almost been two weeks since families were separated in Sandusky after Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 114 people as Corso's Flower and Garden Center.

"They are all still in shock and there is a lot of crying and real concern about what is happening and how soon will they know anything," explained Heller.

Advocates for basic legal equality (ABLE) are providing free legal aid to those impacted.

Heller said hundreds of family members are affected and of those families, more than 100 are United States citizen children ranging from two to ten years old.

Therapists said separating kids from their parents in this manner can have lifelong impacts.

"My concern would be for these kids day after day losing the belief that anyone is going to come and comfort or rescue them or that they'll ever see their parents again," explained Erin Wiley, MA, LPCC and executive director at the Willow Center. "It's extremely distressing to a developing brain and alters neurologically how a child's brain develops."

ABLE is working with the families impacted by the raid at Corso's to provide defense against deportation or help families understand their next steps.

Lawyers said it could be months or years for some of the cases, but they are all discouraging.

"They were doing landscaping nursery work and making ten, twelve dollars an hour and working hard and trying to give their kids an opportunity," said Mark Heller, attorney with ABLE. "So, we don't see it as any great advancement for the United States that they were arrested and now they are all sitting in jail and we're paying for them to be detained."

ABLE lawyers said they are still unsure what led ICE to Corso's, but they do expect more raids like it to happen across the state in the future.

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