In a new documentary by FRONTLINE, “Targeting El Paso”, an officer is given the task of separating migrant children from their parents, a pilot run of Trump’s family separation policy that has since been scaled to all of Border Patrol.
That officer is now speaking out about the Border Patrol, Trump Policies, and what they were made to do.
Wesley Farris, a high-ranking office with El Paso’s Border Patrol, states that separating children from their families was “the most horrible thing” he has ever done. He continued, “You can’t help but think of your own kids.”
Fariss talks about what it meant to continue those separations as an order from the higher-ups.
“I mean, none of us were happy about it,” Farris says. “but everybody around me was doing exactly what… We were all told to do this.”
Trumps family separation policy has gotten a large amount of backlash from the public since it was executed, saying it was causing more trauma to the families.
The kids being separated from their families tend to experience the highest levels of long-lasting trauma.
Farris decribes the effects he witnessed on a child during the last family separation he conducted.
“It was a young boy, I think he was about two. The world was upside down to that kid, so when the contractor tried to take him away, he reached for me and he climbed up on me again, and he was holding on to me.”
After that, Farris couldn’t work on family separation anymore. “I said at that one, ‘I’m not doing this anymore. I won’t do it.’ I went back to the supervisor and I told him, ‘Don’t assign me to do that anymore.'”
Farris only complained to his supervisor about his experience.
Six months after the pilot program in El Paso ended, the Trump administration made the program national to include all of Border Patrol saying that the idea of family separation was a natural deterrent to immigrants in El Paso.
Ronald Vitielle, the former acting director of ICE, spoke about the program, “It aligned with my experience, in the times where we applied a consequence to people who cross the border illegally, we got less of them crossing the illegally. So when zero tolerance is discussed as a way forward, we knew that it was going to benefit us.”
However, the zero tolerance policy has created a national outcry since it began. More countries see the U.S. as immoral, and many people dont want to live here because of the way the Trump administration treats immigrants.
In November, the number of foreign students studying in the U.S. fell 2%, declining our economy and effectively making the U.S. a more hated country throughout the world.