Addressing Fear in Border Families
December is Universal Human Rights Month, and more than ever before, we are seeing more families fleeing their own countries across the globe. Violence in the Middle East and Africa, poverty and trafficking in Latin America, human rights crises in Asia, the war in Ukraine, the list goes on. U.S. borders are fielding thousands of asylum requests. Many who have never lived in fear for their lives wonder why parents would subject their families to such an arduous journey.
Parents want the best for their children, and they will go to extreme lengths to make sure their children live as best as possible. For many families, this means migrating to the United States to have a chance at the “American Dream”. However, many of these families coming to the United States without documentation. While this option is extremely dangerous, for some families it is their only option. There are many consequences while trying to cross the border undocumented, yet thousands of families take the risk every year. The psychological effects that it takes on families, especially children, can be severe. Children who are separated from their parents at the border due to trying to enter the United States without documentation suffer from being placed in detention centers without knowing when they will see their family again. These same children are given a court date to attend to try and explain why they were crossing the United States border. Many children are made to sleep on the floor and go days without bathing or eating due to the detention centers being overcrowded.
In 2022, more than 2 million encounters of people seeking to gain entry to the U.S. were documented by the Border Patrol and the Office of Field Operations, and almost half of those encounters resulted in rapid expulsions. Those remaining are expected to go through a lengthy, confusing, expensive process of seeking asylum or proving legitimate reasons for their immigration.
Living in Fear
Many families make it across the border and establish their lives in the United States. Their children, who many times are born U.S. citizens, have their opportunity at the American Dream. However, it can all be taken away in the blink of an eye. Something as small as a traffic stop can be detrimental to an undocumented family. Undocumented people cannot apply for a driver’s license, therefore being at risk for deportation every time they are behind the wheel. Not only are undocumented people afraid to drive, but many are also scared to go work. People without documentation live in fear every day. Not just the fear of being detained and possibly deported, but the fear of leaving their spouse and children behind. Many times, children have come home to news of their parent’s deportation and with new living arrangements.
Due to being afraid of being outed as undocumented, many people do not speak out and continue to live in fear. Children who are separated from their families usually suffer from depression and anxiety. It is important to support those who do not feel supported by a country they consider their own. If you know anyone struggling with such an issue, do not hesitate to reach out for confidential counseling. Lifeologie has several experienced and empathetic therapists who are bilingual, including those who speak Korean, Mandarin, Urdu, and Portugese. Meet our Spanish-speaking counselors in person or through telehealth at Lifeologie Counseling Frisco, Texas and Lifeologie Counseling Oak Cliff.
Lifeologie Counseling was founded in 2000 with one goal in mind — to bring a fresh, innovative approach to the everyday problems of life. Creative solutions to stuck problems®. With our unique multi-specialty, collaborative approach, Lifeologie Counseling helps individuals and families heal their wounds and break out of old, unhealthy patterns.