#Keepfamiliestogether is a commentary on the current consequences of America’s immigration policy. This social justice issue is pertinent given the separation of families happening at the US-Mexico border, resulting from our current administration. As of summer 2018, the zero tolerance policy (people entering US illegally face prosecution) separated more than 2,300 children from their families. Though Trump ordered that families crossing illegally can’t be separated anymore - following public dissent - 2,000 plus children are still separated from their parents. For a country that so adamantly tries to uphold the nuclear family ideal, it is contradictory that diplomatic actions aim to break apart parents and children. Border Patrol will separate a family based off of a parent’s trivial criminal record, or if they think the parent and child aren’t really related. Once separated, adults can go to detention centers and children are usually housed in shelters, alone and scared. These fear mongering tactics should not be used, particularly when they undermine any family.
A lot of the images that go along with the #keepfamiliestogether “movement” (also referred to as “families belong together”) - featured on protest posters or promotional flyers or in the media - depict a child and parent’s hand reaching towards each other, or the child clutching one of the adult’s finger. I wanted to take that a step further and have the two hand (though in the case of my print, a hand and a foot) overlapping, the adult hand supporting the child.
The image on my print - based off a personal photograph - features a mother’s (or adult’s) hand and a child’s foot with the phrase “Where Are The Children?” and an upside down “Where Are The Parents?” The print can be inverted with the same effect. The common phrases used in this conversation about immigration rights and family unification include: “keep families together,” “families belong together,”“familias unidas no dividas,” “save the children,” and “make America care again.” I wanted my print to be more so a call to questioning. It is no coincidence that the colors reflect that of the American flag: red, white, and blue. This is meant to invite conversation in the viewer to further explore the current state of our treatment of immigrants. Not only does it promote not separating families in the first place, but also encourages us to wonder what happens to the broken families after separation.
- Hayley Pierpont, Scripps '22