Family separation at the border
"Wouldn't you feel anguish if they took your kids? I'd be going crazy. It's inhumane."–Public defender in McAllen, Texas
"[Attorney General Jeff] Sessions is a law-and-order man who believes he is protecting our country. I’m a man, a son, a father and a writer who worries about our nation losing its soul." –Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of “The Sympathizer” and “The Refugees” and a refugee himself at age 4.
The Trump administration is forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, a practice that, in recent months, has already led to the separation of hundreds of families. Children are sent to shelters, foster care or to live with other relatives (and possibly, in the near future, to military bases) while parents are prosecuted for crossing the border without authorization, even if they are claiming asylum (which is against U.S. and international law). Reports of 1,500 immigrant children “missing” refer to children who were not accompanied by family when they crossed the border. Many of their parents/sponsors may be in hiding and unable to be reached because they fear deportation if they come forward.
Take action: End family separation at the border
Articles and resources:
- NBC: Anguish at southwest border as more immigrant children are separated from parents
- The Hill: ‘Whatever’ isn’t an option for immigrant children
- WP: Ripping children from parents will shatter America’s soul
- USCCB: Separating families at the border: A costly practice
Local stories, events and resources
Iowa: Heartwarming video message from local police to immigrants: “We are here for you, we are here for everyone”
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World Refugee Day (June 20) resources:
Updates & news
DACA, border walls, discharge petition: A “discharge petition” is only five votes shy of the 218 needed to force a vote on a number of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)-related immigration bills. It could be an opportunity to finally pass the Dream Act or similar legislation. Unfortunately, it could also be an opening for billions in funding for new border walls. (Interfaith Immigration Coalition explainer on “queen of the hill” process and discharge petition.) While Congress figures out how to proceed, Dreamers continue to be targeted for deportation, including in one recent case where a federal judge ruled that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers were lying about a Dreamer’s alleged gang affiliation.
Dehumanizing immigrants: President Trump once again resorted to dehumanizing rhetoric when he referred to immigrants who had committed crimes saying, “These aren’t people. These are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a rate that’s never happened before." White House Chief of Staff John Kelly suggested that Central American immigrants aren’t all “bad people” or criminals but, “they're also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society. They're overwhelmingly rural people. In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm. They don't speak English.” A recent study by Cato found that Central American immigrants, in fact, adjust to U.S. society very well. (And it’s worth noting that Kelly’s own immigrant great-grandparents had little education and did not speak English.)
Enforcement: Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that immigration court judges will no longer have the authority to “administratively close” cases except under very narrow circumstances. Sessions is also reopening the door to deporting 350,000 immigrants whose cases had previously been closed. Both decisions are likely to increase already enormous immigration court backlogs. Immigration officials are targeting immigrants accused of crimes but not yet convicted and denying them their day in court by deporting them quickly.
Detention: The National Immigrant Justice Center reports that ICE has missed two deadlines for reporting immigrant detention conditions to Congress. More than 70 rights groups have asked the United Nations to investigate human rights violations at U.S. immigrant detention facilities.
Border: A Border Patrol officer will face a new trial in the deadly shooting of a Mexican teenager. A CNN investigation alleges Border Patrol has failed to count hundreds of migrant deaths on U.S. soil. U.S. Park Police officers are being sent to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border at a time when national parks are severely understaffed.
Asylum seekers: Of 216 members of a caravan of migrants who arrived at the border last month who have been interviewed by immigration officials, 205 passed their “credible fear” interviews, the first step in the asylum process. According to an analysis by the Washington Office on Latin America, The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting all border crossers (including asylum seekers) will wreak havoc in our prisons, at our ports of entry, and in our courts. Officials from the U.S. and Mexico are discussing a possible “safe third country” agreement that would require migrants passing through Mexico to claim asylum there as the first “safe” country in which they arrived, making it easier for the U.S. to reject asylum claims at its southern border. An op-ed in Newsweekpoints out that children from Central America aren’t risking their lives on a dangerous journey to the U.S. in order to join the MS-13 gang once they get here. “They came here, boys and girls alike, seeking refuge from conscription in gangs, sex trafficking, slavery, and war in their countries.”
TPS: The Trump administration announced an end to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nepal and Honduras. Questions persist regarding whether the Trump administration ignored its own senior diplomats when deciding to terminate TPS for various countries (CLINIC action alert).
- Domestic violence: Her husband beat her and raped her. Jeff Sessions might deport her.
- Refugees: Apartments are stocked, toys donated. Only the refugees are missing. | Teacher of the Year hands Trump letters from her refugee students
- 100-mile border zone: All of Michigan, D.C., and a large chunk of Pennsylvania are part of the area where Border Patrol has expanded search and seizure rights. Here's what it means to live or travel there.
- Canada: Nigerians are walking into Canada, prompting request for U.S. to take action
June 27 - July 3, 2018: Building Leaders 4 Peace (California)
August 4, 2018: The Stranger in Our Midst: Immigration Community Day(Philadelphia)
October 3-8, 2018: Borderlands Learning Tour
- Third Way Café: Separating mothers from their children at the border
- The Mennonite: In search of mercy
- 'Spring best:’ Reflections on my work with MCC's immigration program in South Florida
- Brave New Films: Immigrant stories: Teachers
- New Yorker: A voyage along Trump’s wall: Canoeing the Rio Grande reveals how life and a landscape would be changed along the border
- The Nation: Over 7,000 bodies have been found at the U.S.-Mexican border since the ’90s
- WOLA: Jailing all border crossers and separating families would break U.S. courts, ports, and prisons. (It’s cruel, too.)
- ALCU: Neglect & abuse of unaccompanied children by U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- KIND: Death by a thousand cuts: The Trump administration’s systematic assault on the protection of unaccompanied children
- KIND: A timeline: How the Trump administration is rolling back protections for children
- NY Immigration Coalition: Swept up in the sweep: The impact of gang allegations on immigrant New Yorkers
- ILRC: Deportation by any means necessary: How immigration officials are labeling immigrant youth as gang members
- AIJ: “They left us with marks:" The routine handcuffing and shackling of immigrants in ICE detention
- CPD: Bankrolling oppression: How Wall Street companies finance the private prison and immigrant detention industry
- MPI: Revving up the deportation machinery: Enforcement under Trump and the pushback
- ACLU: Promoting access to justice for immigrant and LEP [limited English proficient] crime victims in an age of increased immigration enforcement
- The Guardian: Why are for-profit U.S. prisons subjecting detainees to forced labor?
Update created May 31, 2018, by Tammy Alexander, Senior Legislative Associate for Domestic Affairs.
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