ICE Agents Tell Separated Parents They Must Leave the U.S. — With or Without Their Children

The Trump administration’s battle against children, asylum seekers, and human decency continued on Tuesday.  Administration officials have now told U.S. immigration agents that they must force the parents of separated children to leave the country.

Last week a federal judge issued a court order telling the Administration it must take steps to reunite the more than 2,000 migrant children who were separated from their parents in May and June. So now, instead of complying with the court order in a reasonable way, Trump’s DOJ lawyers have come up with another plan. The government is now giving parents who came to the U.S. legally seeking asylum just two options:

  1. leave the country with your kids,or
  2. leave the country without your kids.

The new instructions appear on a government form which can be seen at this link.

The instructions to ICE agents do not allow parents who were separated from their children under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy to be reunited with their children while waiting to receive asylum in the U.S.. That would be reasonable and fair.  That would be the humane thing to do. But it is not what Donald Trump wants to do.

Attorneys and advocates helping asylum seekers have said that even those individuals who have already passed the first step in the asylum screening process are being given the form and forced to make the difficult choice.

“We are seeing cases where people who have passed the first step of “credible fear” interviews, and who have legitimate pending asylum claims, are being given this form and told they have only two choices,” said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  The ACLU has filed several lawsuits against the government including class action lawsuit for family reunification.

Several weeks ago we reported that “children who have been forcibly taken from their migrant parents are being held as hostages so that the parents will agree to voluntary deportation.”

The latest move by the government is their attempt to continue to force asylum seekers to “self deport” instead of staying in the U.S. while legally seeking asylum.  In many cases they are being forced to return to violent home communities where their lives and safety are at risk.

When Trump reversed his child separation policy with a June 20 executive order, he did not provide a path toward reunification for the more than 2,300 children who had already been separated, and there is still no government plan for doing this.  Under the court order there is a deadline for reunification which the government seems to be ignoring.

With respect to parents and children who entered the U.S. after June 20, they are no longer being separated but are being incarcerated together indefinitely. And the government now says that because of a recent court ruling which barred separating migrant children from their families it has the right to detain migrant children with their parents for months or even years as they wait for their immigration cases to be resolved.

This latest move by Trump to punish asylum seekers and children is an affront to human decency.  He is doing it to appeal to his deplorable base of supporters, and he thinks this will help him and his party in November. In just four short months he will receive a rude awakening when there is a Big Blue Wave, and he discovers that the vast majority of Americans are decent human beings and do not support his cruel immigration policies.