Trump Administration Decides to Split Migrant Families on the Border After All
TEXAS — August 25, 2018
Trump's migration policy is gradually beginning to come to a standstill as the situation of migrants on the border becomes more and more clear. The government has been unable to provide detainees with accommodation, food, or quality medical care. Instead, rules regarding treatment of migrants, as well as their legal entry into the United States, are becoming increasingly strict.
Now, Federal authorities are forcing deported migrants to sign documents which state they have no right return to the US again, regardless of whether they have family in America, including children. Thousands of migrants have filed complaints in connection with this decision.
In particular, a complaint filed jointly by the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, accuses the Trump administration of violating due process by expediting the removal of the hundreds of migrants, tearing them away from their children because of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.
The document also contained testimony from migrants who claimed that immigration and customs officials had forced them to sign a deportation order, even if they were seeking asylum. Others said that ICE agents forced them to sign documents without explaining what they said at all. If they refused, they were threatened with never seeing their families again.
“I was so desperate to know the whereabouts of my son and finally hold him in my arms again that I signed for both of us to be reunited even if it meant going back to Guatemala,” said a woman only referred to as A.E. who had been split from her 5-year-old boy for 32 days when an ICE agent told her to “sign here (and) you will get your child back if you return to your country,” according to the complaint.
She also said that the representative of the customs service did not propose other possible ways to solve the problem aside from signing the document. The agent allegedly refused to negotiate on the issue of asylum.
Others were made to sign forms completely waiving their rights to be reunited with their kids while being kept in the dark about the possibility of applying for asylum.
The complaint was submitted to the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general. A DHS spokesperson declined to give any comments to reporters, explaining that he was simply following orders.
So far, 528 separated children still remain in Federal custody, despite the fact that the deadline for reunification is already over.
Three hundred and forty-three parents of these children have already been deported from the US.
Not long ago, a death was recorded on the border with Texas. The American Immigration Lawyers Association reported that the child's death occurred shortly after she and her parents were released from an ICE family detention center in Dilley, Texas.
The incident has given rise to tension, and led to debates about the detention of immigrant families, despite that the exact circumstances that led to the child's death are still unclear.
Federal San Diego Judge Dana Sabraw ruled in June that the Trump administration had to reunite all separated children under age 5 with their parents by July 6, and all separated children older than 5 by July 26. The administration severely missed both deadlines.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit that resulted in Sabraw’s ruling, said in a status update on Thursday that it had received “indications that some parents may have been coerced or misled by U.S. government actions that deprived the parents of their right to seek asylum.”
“These incidents include parents who were told that they needed to accept removal and not pursue asylum in order to be reunited with their children, and parents who were required to sign documents they did not understand, in languages they do not speak, that had the effect of waiving their right to seek asylum,” the ACLU said.
The policy pledged to criminally prosecute all illegal entries to the US, resulting in adults being arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service while their children were taken into the custody of the Health and Human Services agency.
Previous administrations have typically prosecuted illegal entries as civil cases, allowing migrants to stay with their children while in custody.
Two weeks ago, the Trump Administration announced it would be tightening entry rules for legal immigrants. These actions will make it harder for immigrants to become citizens or get green cards, as well as to receive access to a range of popular public welfare programs, including Obamacare.
Senior white house adviser Stephen Miller proposed the idea of an informal preparatory process aimed at limiting the number of migrants receiving legal status in the United States each year. Once the decision is made, it will be difficult for immigrants to use Obamacare, handle child health insurance, food stamps, and other benefits.
Details of the proposal for the development of the new regulations are still being finalized.