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IMMIGRATION POLICIES, ANALYSIS, AND RESOURCES

The Immigration Domain tracks and reports on policies that deal with illegal and legal immigration, refugee resettlement and sanctuary cities. This domain tracks policies emanating from the White House, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the US Border Patrol, and state and city government policies that respond to federal policies. Our Principal Analyst is Allie Blum who can be reached at allie@usresistnews.org.

Latest Immigration Posts

 

Where are America’s Child Prisoners Now?

Brief #55---Civil Rights Policy Summary Nearly 13,000 children are currently being held across the US; more than 200 children in detention are deemed ineligible for reunification or release and children as young as 2 years old are appearing in court for their...

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Child Prisoners: An Update

After a chaotic year of many heartbreaking migration stories and tragedies, the Trump Administration seeks to continue such practices that have disturbed much of the general American public. The Administration is proposing to lift the court-imposed limit on how long it can hold children in immigration detention from 20 days to the duration of their immigration case.

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Judge Demands Stalled Deportations and a Plan Amidst Chaotic Reunification Process

On August 16, Federal Judge Sabraw of San Diego extended a freeze on deportations of recently reunited families. Prior to the court ordered reunification of families who were separated at the US-Mexico Border in accordance with Trump’s Zero Tolerance Policy, Judge Sabraw banned the deportation of parents who had children taken from them at the border and were being held in US Custody.

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Where are America’s Child Prisoners Now?

Where are America’s Child Prisoners Now?

Brief #55—Civil Rights

Policy Summary
Nearly 13,000 children are currently being held across the US; more than 200 children in detention are deemed ineligible for reunification or release and children as young as 2 years old are appearing in court for their immigration hearings. In case that was not jarring enough, there have been reports of physical, psychological and sexual abuse accusations in the very facilities meant to house and protect these children.

The large number of migrant children being held in detention has increased the amount of young children appearing in court to determine whether they will be (1) deported (2) reunited with their parents or (3) granted asylum. As extensive background checks (on any adult claiming a detained child) ensue, many children are appearing in court by themselves. Unfortunately, some children have to show up to court multiple times before they can be reunited with a relative. Shelters are filling up, unable to house the growing number of detained children who were only supposed to be held for the short term.

But what of the children that remain ununited? They are moved to a government created tent city in Tornillo, Texas – a tiny, farming town near the Texas-Mexico border – where an anticipated 3,800 children will be housed. Under Obama, children were temporarily housed in tent camps during the height of the unaccompanied migrant minors crisis in 2014; this is not the predicament the Trump Administration is facing. Trump is making this a consistent practice and steadily increasing the number of children detained over the past year, despite decreased illegal border crossings. Through the consistent crackdowns on all types of immigration, the world has watched in horror as the US has displayed a visibly broken immigration system.

Analysis

For many of the children deemed ineligible for reunification or release, it is due to complications with the family member or relative they would be released to. The Trump Administration had enforced extensive and lengthy measures to assure proper background checks, explicitly to weed out adults with criminal and/or abusive pasts from being reunited/claiming vulnerable detained children. Yet ironically, in facilities intended to keep such children safe and away from harm, caretakers are in fact inflicting the assault that is sure to stick with them for years beyond their release and immigration cases.

For example In the case of abuse accusations, 3 children were physically abused in a shelter in Arizona that led to the closure of that shelter. In a different Phoenix area shelter for immigrant children a youth care worker was convicted of sexually abusing 7 teenage boys; and at another facility accusations of a 14 year old girl being molested. Not only are these children traumatically separated from their families, but in a place that is supposed to keep them safe during limbo, they are violated, disrespected and dehumanized.

If the US continues to treat children like prisoners, their health – mental, physical and emotional – will be at stake. Children traumatically separated from their parents are more likely to have emotional problems throughout their lives and damaged memories. The question is when will these vulnerable children begin to fall severely ill or die due to these conditions, before the Trump Administration finds their humanity?

Resistance Resources

  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • Kids in Need of Defense: an organization that promotes the protection of children as they migrate alone in search of safety and ensuring children’s rights are upheld and respected.
  • Families Belong Together: an organization that has dedicated its mission to ensuring families are together, especially reuniting children with their families. This organization contributes all its efforts to counter Trump’s separation of children from their families.

This Brief was authored by Kathryn Baron. For inquiries, suggestions or comments email kathryn@usresistnews.org.

Photo by Charlein Gracia

Trump Administration to Limit Green Cards for the “Burdens of Society”

Trump Administration to Limit Green Cards for the “Burdens of Society”

Brief #54—Immigration

Policy Summary
To promote self-sufficiency and protect finite resources, the Trump Administration has proposed harsher reviews of individuals applying for green cards and/or permanent resident status in the US. Historically, federal law has excluded immigrants who are likely to become “public charge,” but Trump has taken his own drastic measures to ensure this. Specifically, immigrants who have previously relied on public assistance benefits such as food stamps, housing subsidies (i.e., Section 8 housing vouchers) and Medicaid for (low-cost prescription drugs) will face stronger barriers to obtaining a green card.

This forces millions of poor immigrants to pick between a green card to live and work legally in the US or accepting financial help. Advocates fear that those with legal resident status will stop using public benefits to protect their status. Roughly 382,000 people seeking to adjust their immigration status could be subject to “public charge reviews” each year to assess how much of a burden they could be on the American taxpayers and government. Immigration law states that age, health, family status, financial resources, skills and education should be taken into account when evaluating. Nearly 1 million people become legal permanent residents each year in the US, so the Trump Administration feels they can be choosy about who is allowed into the country.

But for some, it is not so simple to apply for such legal status. Certain health conditions like mental health disorders, heart disease and cancer are also among the heavily weighted factors being taken into consideration during application. Individuals with the above predicaments are red-flagged and seen as likely to ecru high medical costs and thus be a burden. Some immigrants could be asked in some cases to post cash bonds of at least $10,000 to avoid being denied green cards. For many, this is simply not feasible. While this new rule does not affect refugees, asylum seekers or legal immigrants who serve in the US military, many will feel the brunt of this most recent crackdown on immigration to the US.

Analysis
In contrast to the Trump Administration’s claims, there have been many studies about the economic effects and legacies of immigration to the US. According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services data, immigrants and non-immigrants alike benefit from public assistance at almost the same rate. The lasting effects of immigration has proven even more beneficial to the US as time progresses: first generation immigrants cost US taxpayers roughly $57.4 Billion dollars, but second and third generation Americans make for an economic boost of $30.5 Billion and $223.8 Billion, respectively.

This new regulation creates a caste-like system among US immigrants. Poor immigrants with health conditions are expected to prove they are insured, yet cannot access the available benefits to enroll and thus have a far lower chance at changing their immigration status than their wealthy counterparts. The executive director at the Center for Immigration Studies and others  who supports decreased immigration that low level skilled workers are a mismatch for such a modern society. What they don’t like to admit is the fact that low-skilled immigrants perform many important functions in our country that others eschew, such as cleaning, gardening, picking crops and providing home health care. Tightening immigration policies has become a given to bring Republicans to the polls, while motivating Democrats to stand by their values and uphold the nation’s promise of being a beacon of light for the world.

Resistance Resources

  • The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law: a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to defend and reform – as necessary – the US systems of democracy and justice, focusing on upholding the Constitution and US laws while maintaining national security.
  • Stay up to date with the National Immigration Forum who advocates for the value of immigrants and immigration to the US and promotes responsible immigration policies and addresses those that hinder the success of immigrants.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.

This Brief was authored by Kathryn Baron. For inquiries, suggestions or comments email kathryn@usresistnews.org.

Photo by Jhon David

Transactional Migration: a Transition in American Values

Transactional Migration: a Transition in American Values

Brief #53—Immigration

Policy Summary
Following up on an Executive Order he made in September 2017, President Trump has signed a new order placing an even lower cap on immigration to the United States than ever before. Last fall, Trump signed an order lowering the number of refugees allowed into the United States to 45,000 – the lowest cap since 1980 under the Refugee Act. This was a 59% reduction from what Obama had set previously and completely blurs the line between refugees and migrants as the guidelines became a transactional ordeal. International relief groups consider the current refugee crisis to be the worst since World War I, yet the Trump Administration seeks to determine what migrants can contribute to the US rather than how the US can help. He claimed the goal should be to host refugees in nations as close to their homes as possible to eventually return them there – which is extremely problematic. However, even under this order the US still accepts more refugees than other countries.

Fast forward a year, and this September Trump seeks to lower the refugee cap to 30,000; an absolute record low. This has been slowly building up through various crackdowns on immigration to the US (both legal and illegal) if you recount the previous travel bans, events at the US Southern border and disregard for America’s history of providing asylum. Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State claimed that the US “must continue to responsibly vet applicants to prevent entry of those who might do harm to our country.”

Analysis
It is becoming increasingly clear that the true goal of the Trump Administration is to essentially deconstruct the United States refugee program and limit immigration on all fronts; regardless of national security demands. A cap is just a cap, the Administration could accept far less than 30,000 – it is a ceiling not a floor. This drastically limits US diplomacy and lowers its image and morality on a global stage.

The Justice Department and White House ignored a report from intelligence agencies proving refugees do not pose a major threat to national security and continued to emphasize the need for extraordinary vetting measures.

Cutting the number of refugees and asylum seekers allowed into the US to what could be nothing, puts the Trump Administration on the path of regimes that America has historically tried to defeat.  Those who support the Trump administration policy are either xenophobic nationalists, or are fearful of opposing an authoritarian leader.

Additionally, the Trump Administration has increasingly blurred the lines between refugee/asylum seeker and migrant in the quest to eliminate total immigration to the United States. An asylum seeker is an individual who has crossed an international border into a country in which they hope to receive refugee status due to fear of persecution for political, social, religious, or race reasons. Whereas a migrant is someone who attempts to permanently relocate to a new country or place for various reasons including personal gain, upward economic mobility, etc. Through Trump’s attempts to lower the refugee cap he has sent a clear message to the vast number of asylum seekers displaced in the world that the US can no longer be considered a place of refuge.

Resistance Resources

  • The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law: a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to defend and reform – as necessary – the US systems of democracy and justice, focusing on upholding the Constitution and US laws while maintaining national security.
  • Stay up to date with the National Immigration Forum who advocates for the value of immigrants and immigration to the US and promotes responsible immigration policies and addresses those that hinder the success of immigrants.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.

This Brief was authored by Kathryn Baron. For inquiries, suggestions or comments email kathryn@usresistnews.org.

Photo by Martino Pietropoli

Child Prisoners: An Update

Child Prisoners: An Update

Brief #52—Immigration

Policy Summary
After a chaotic year of many heartbreaking migration stories and tragedies, the Trump Administration seeks to continue such practices that have disturbed much of the general American public. The Administration is proposing to lift the court-imposed limit on how long it can hold children in immigration detention from 20 days to the duration of their immigration case. Federal Judge Gee who oversees the Flores Settlement had to recently reject a similar attempt by the administration to detain children in jail-like settings for more than 20 days.

The Flores Settlement is an agreement from 1997 that limits the length of time and conditions under which any US officials can detain immigrant children. Under the agreement, US officials are required to give children food, water, medical assistance in emergencies, toilets, sinks, temperature control, supervision and separation from unrelated adults (as much as possible). The decree was meant to be temporary until it could be codified into law, but has remained until present day. The Administration has argued that this settlement encouraged northern migration and for immigrants to bring children along in order to shield themselves from the threat of lengthy detention. Thus, Trump and officials have asked to pull out from the Flores Settlement entirely and replace it with regulations that would ‘honor’ its spirit and treat children with “dignity, respect, and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors.”

If the government is successful US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can run more family detention centers without the need for state licenses and more children will be kept in prison-like facilities while their immigration proceedings go on (can last up to a year). They also have plans to oversee new detention centers that could hold more than 12,000 immigrants and to hold children with their parents in ICE residential facilities rather than state licensed facilities.

Analysis
In regards to the Administration’s claims of the Flores Settlement encouraging northern migration with children as a buffer, there have actually been no records of this being an upward trend. Unauthorized crossings along the border with Mexico have actually sharply declined in the past 20 years. Many immigrant advocates are preaching that most migrants bring their children with them to escape poverty and/or violence, not as “bargaining chips to avoid detention.” Any logical member of civil society would assume parents would bring their children along wherever they are going, especially young children.

Another point of concern is the quality of these family detention centers even before the idea of extended stays were on the table. A toddler recently died of a respiratory infection after being released from a family center in Texas. Thus the mother filed a claim alleging negligent medical care within the facility. She is not a solo case, there have been many claims of children being returned to their parents in sub-par conditions, which makes one question the legitimacy and validity of Trump’s proposal that will further punish children and make prisoners out of toddlers.

Resistance Resources

  • The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law: a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to defend and reform – as necessary – the US systems of democracy and justice, focusing on upholding the Constitution and US laws while maintaining national security.
  • Stay up to date with the National Immigration Forum who advocates for the value of immigrants and immigration to the US and promotes responsible immigration policies and addresses those that hinder the success of immigrants.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.

This Brief was authored by Kathryn Baron. For inquiries, suggestions or comments email kathryn@usresistnews.org.

Photo by Matteo Paganelli

President Trump Puts Hurdles in Place for Legal Immigrants to Gain Citizenship & Work

President Trump Puts Hurdles in Place for Legal Immigrants to Gain Citizenship & Work

Policy
President Trump has made it increasingly difficult to obtain American citizenship even for individuals who have legally immigrated to the United States. In April 2017, Trump created a Buy American and Hire American Executive Order that was intended to limit the amount of foreign specialists and professionals from taking American’s jobs and opportunities.

Such a visa – an H-1B – is specifically for skilled foreign workers, like computer engineers and other professionals (medicine, law, etc.) On August 28, 2018, the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it would suspend the processing until approximately February 2019 (originally until September 2018). Thus, in line with the Executive Order, it has become increasingly hard to acquire and renew H-1B visas.

Additionally, the Trump Administration has made it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have ever used public welfare programs – and this covers not only a broad spectrum of programs but individuals. Essentially, if any foreigner provided labor or work at the expense of the US Government, they are not deemed worthy of citizenship or a green card because they still contribute to the “theft of American prosperity.”

Analysis

In delaying and denying work visas, due to lack of information or a cap on the number of issued H-1B visas is harming local companies and businesses. Employees who remain must pick up the slack in the short-term, but the long-term effects could prove dire. Corporate executives worry that talented engineers and programmers will go to Canadian corporations instead since they are more willing to accept foreigners. This would lead to a prolonged reduction in immigration that could then hinder economic growth overtime as baby boomers retire and leave a gap in the job market. Aside from Administrative claims, there is no research that cutting immigration is actually good for the economy.

Resistance Resources

  • The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law: a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to defend and reform – as necessary – the US systems of democracy and justice, focusing on upholding the Constitution and US laws while maintaining national security.
  • Stay up to date with the National Immigration Forum who advocates for the value of immigrants and immigration to the US and promotes responsible immigration policies and addresses those that hinder the success of immigrants.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.

This Brief was authored by Kathryn Baron. For inquiries, suggestions or comments email kathryn@usresistnews.org.

Photo by John Bakator

President Disregards America’s Tradition of Offering Asylum

President Disregards America’s Tradition of Offering Asylum

Brief #50—Immigration

Policy Summary
In accordance with the travel ban covered in Brief 46, Trump claims he wants to “ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas.” Trump finds it absurd that the US offers refuge and asylum when “no other country” does it. In June 2018, Trump announced that it would order the US Immigration Courts to stop granting asylum to victims of domestic abuse and gang violence who come to the US seeking safety. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions backed this by saying survivors of “private crimes” were not eligible for asylum in the US.

There are over 100,000 people in line to be processed for resettlement in the US during this fiscal year. Many of them have already made it through the intense vetting process and have waited years only to be told they must endure another waiting period. Now, they must wait again. Upon leaving their home because of discrimination, a woman and her husband and 6 kids had fled Sudan to Jordan only to be rejected by the US. She went on to tell reporters, “to be discriminated by a nation we see our future in, is so disheartening.”

Analysis
The US has been a symbol of hope, equality and a light at the end of a tunnel since its founding; a nation built on immigrants through and through. The American Dream is well-known around the world for individuals who want to start a new life, grow their business, give their children a better life, and especially those in danger or escaping their homeland in search of refuge. Individuals such as the woman from Sudan who fled her homeland due to violent prejudices only to face more discrimination from the one nation she had laid all her hope in prove how strong the notion of the American Dream is. She endured so much in the hopes that an end to her struggles would be found in the sanctuary that is the US and to turn away individuals like her would be to bury the American Dream as it has become known to the world and discount how far our immigrant ancestors have come.

Resistance Resources

  • The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law: a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to defend and reform – as necessary – the US systems of democracy and justice, focusing on upholding the Constitution and US laws while maintaining national security.
  • Stay up to date with the National Immigration Forum who advocates for the value of immigrants and immigration to the US and promotes responsible immigration policies and addresses those that hinder the success of immigrants.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.

This Brief was authored by Kathryn Baron. For inquiries, suggestions or comments email kathryn@usresistnews.org.

Photo by Jose Fontano

Judge Demands Stalled Deportations and a Plan Amidst Chaotic Reunification Process

Judge Demands Stalled Deportations and a Plan Amidst Chaotic Reunification Process

Brief #49—Immigration

Policy Summary
On August 16, Federal Judge Sabraw of San Diego extended a freeze on deportations of recently reunited families. Prior to the court ordered reunification of families who were separated at the US-Mexico Border in accordance with Trump’s Zero Tolerance Policy, Judge Sabraw banned the deportation of parents who had children taken from them at the border and were being held in US Custody. Referring to Brief #47, the US Government still deported a sizable amount of parents without their children upon varying grounds. Sabraw and the ACLU – an organization that has remained a prevalent advocate for individuals seeking asylum and unaccompanied minors at the border – discussed the potential of bringing back deported parents who were forced to leave without their children to pursue asylum with them. ACLU representative, Lee Gelernt was a strong advocate for this and voiced that those who were deported should be allowed to return to accompany their children through the asylum process, especially those who were misled to believe that if they agreed to deportation they would be reunited with their children. In the week of frozen deportations, lawyers can make the trying decision of whether an adult should be deported with their child(s) or to allow a minor to remain in the US to pursue the possible right to stay.

Thus, the next day, on August 17, Judge Sabraw ordered that the government alongside the ACLU shall devise a structured plan to address the rights of parents and children who were separated at the southern US border. Claiming that delaying deportations does not “unfairly or unduly tax available government resources,” Sabraw believes it is the morally correct and just thing to do throughout this process as there are numerous families fleeing their homeland violence and thus should have their stories heard while they seek asylum. The government is opposed to delaying deportation because parents ‘waived’ the rights of their children to pursue asylum after the adults signed – many unknowingly and under duress – deportation forms.

Separating families in the first place violated their rights as a family, so Sabraw felt the need to reiterate his points, as he had already ordered a delay in deportations that was taken lightly. There are still around 70 children who were separated at the border that have not yet been reunited with their parents because they cannot be identified and/or located; 3 weeks after the court first ordered the US Government to reunite families.

Analysis
In many regards, the need for a structured plan to address the rights of parents and children is a necessary step regardless of any prior events. As the Trump Administration had already proven challenged in reuniting families for a multitude of reasons, as they struggled to meet their deadline(s). What is more disheartening is that Judge Sabraw, had to firmly reiterate his call for an extension of deportations as it was essentially ignored in his last Executive Order (a week before deportations and dates for reunification). In a nation that is built upon immigrants and stands for liberty and justice, Sabraw should not have had to explain the rationale for stalling deportations of parents with children who were still in Federal Custody, let alone, repeat himself. Separating families should not have been a matter of parties or a difference in withstanding political views, but that of a moral dilemma. As Sabraw said, “no matter how nice the environment is, it’s the act of separation from a parent, particularly with young children, that matters, and it’s time that is the issue.”

Resistance Resources

  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights.
  • Families Belong Together: an organization that has dedicated its mission to ensuring families are together, especially reuniting children with their families. This organization contributes all its efforts to counter Trump’s separation of children from their families.
  • Kids in Need of Defense: an organization that promotes the protection of children as they migrate alone in search of safety and ensuring children’s rights are upheld and respected.

Photo by tom coe

Update: Trump Administration Reunification of Families Proves Chaotic

Update: Trump Administration Reunification of Families Proves Chaotic

Brief #48—Immigration

Policy
President Trump was court ordered to reunify families by July 26, 2018 (see Brief #47,) While the government claims the deadline was met, more than 700 children (yes, every 1 in 3 children)  still held in government custody were not reunited by 6 pm on the day of the deadline. The government has not offered a timeline for tracking down the hundreds of parents who still remain unaccounted for.

Parents of about 430 children were deported – despite the court ruling against deportation of separated families, in June 2018 – and thus those children were deemed ineligible for reunification. The remaining children of the 700 were also deemed ineligible due to red flags for a wide array of reasons that prevented reunification. In some cases parents were labelled “released” even though they were still in custody which made for an even more chaotic affair.

For those 1,820 children 5 and over that were reunited with their families, some parents waited up to a week for their children and were not allowed access to showers, phones or religious services during that time. One young migrant mother was greeted by her son who had a cough and a black eye; and some children were sent to the wrong facilities. What should have been a systematic and clear-cut system was in practice chaos.

Amateur fund-raisers have played a large role in helping to reunite families, providing food and travel essentials; as have larger groups, such as Fwd.us backed by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg that raised millions of dollars for immigration court bonds and plane tickets. The ACLU filed a motion July 25 to protect the parents whom the government has claimed waived their rights to immediately recover their children. Many signed things they did not understand because they were not translated and  signed documents under duress. Additionally, faith based organizations and other groups  provided meals, clothing, legal advice, plane and bus tickets to families at ICE locations (even new shoe laces because those were taken away – like prisoners).

Analysis
This approach to reuniting families based on who is eligible and who is ineligible seems to be a form of organized disarray. The emphasis appears to be on counting children rather than parents, even though 1 parent can have more than 1 child. This seems like  a backwards way to approach the issue and come to a mutually beneficial solution. There are a number of various steps that could have been taken – perhaps more accurately keeping written record of parents and their child/children.

Additionally,  the Trump administration did in fact deport some parents without their children (reference above), which went against the court ruling that families who were separated could not be deported and could not be deported immediaitly upon reunification. This may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things due to statistics and the general public’s focus on making sure every child has a parent, but it is a  bold move on the Trump administration’s part that defied court orders

Resistance Resources

  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights.
  • FWD.us: an organization that aims to promote the tech community to support policies that keep the American Dream alive. They specifically and currently focus on immigration reform.
  • Kids in Need of Defense: an organization that promotes the protection of children as they migrate alone in search of safety and ensuring children’s rights are upheld and respected.
  • Families Belong Together: an organization that has dedicated its mission to ensuring families are together, especially reuniting children with their families. This organization contributes all its efforts to counter Trump’s separation of children from their families.

This Brief was submitted by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Kathryn Baron: Contact Kathryn@usresistnews.org

Photo by Matheus Ferrero

Courts Challenge Trump’s Separation of Immigrant Parents and Children

Courts Challenge Trump’s Separation of Immigrant Parents and Children

Brief #47—Immigration

Policy Summary
In reaction to the Trump Administration separating families at the border there has been a lot of responses, more often than not, questioning the morality and effectiveness of the practice. On June 26, 17 states (including California and New York) sued the Trump Administration in attempts to get them to reunite families. The court ruled children can only be separated if the adults accompanying them appear to pose an immediate threat to their safety and that if families are separated, adults may not be deported from the US without their children. However, the Trump Administration had successfully separated many families and scattered children across the country to foster care or shelters with no concrete plans of reunification and some had even failed to keep track of which children belonged to which parents. There are currently nearly 3,000 children in federal custody. Three-Thousand. And of the roughly 100 children under the age of 5, 19 of those parents have been deported, despite the court’s ruling.

Thus, the court ordered US immigration agents to stop separating families at the border and that all children under the age of 5 were supposed to be reunited with their families by July 10 and all children held in federal custody must be reunited by July 26. The Trump Administration has continued to bargain for more time due to challenges they claim they are facing with reuniting families. Some families are now thousands of miles apart, and with lost records of which child belongs to which parent, they are insisting on taking time-costly measures to ensure the correct familial relationships are identified. The government does not wish to delay reunifications, but they also want to make sure that in rushing to reunite families they do not accidentally release any child to adults that wish to exploit them and want to ensure their safety as well. The government also feared that with this court order to reunite families would come with mass deportations. So, to further ensure the safety of families upon reunification, on July 16, the court ordered the halt of deportation of families upon reunification. Deportations are to be stalled for at least a week to provide proper time for families to decide whether they would like to continue the process and stay in the US or leave. Though, despite Trump’s pleas for extra time, Judge Sabraw has demanded Trump move faster in reuniting children with their parents.

There are some complications and loopholes that leave some children potentially ineligible for release such as those who did not cross the border with their parents, parents who are serving criminal sentences, parents with a background of criminal histories, in particular child abuse and therefore deemed unfit. Lastly, some parents were simply deported, thus making the process even more difficult.

Analysis
The Trump Administration’s separation of families has left a “gaping wound in our country” and can only be healed by morally and respectfully adhering to the nation’s commitment to individual rights. Trump is a firm believer in hard borders and remaining tough on immigration, claiming “without borders, you do not have a country.” His response to some earlier questioning about missing his first court appointed reunification deadline was to call for individuals to come to the US legally and there will be no issues. While on the surface, that may seem simple, there are specific cases such as asylum seekers and refugees who may not have as clear cut of a path to safety and thus must resort to unconventional migration.

In some cases, it is fair to confirm familial relationships so that unaccompanied children are not put in precarious situations, but there were steps that could and should have been taken early on to ensure familial connections were secure and confirmed. In the Executive Order issued June 26, there were no steps laid on for reuniting families, thus making it relatively easier for the Trump Administration to attempt to bargain. But, as there has been a universal plea for the end of separating families, it is crucial for society to continue pushing for social justice.

Resistance Resources

  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • Kids in Need of Defense: an organization that promotes the protection of children as they migrate alone in search of safety and ensuring children’s rights are upheld and respected.
  • Families Belong Together: an organization that has dedicated its mission to ensuring families are together, especially reuniting children with their families. This organization contributes all its efforts to counter Trump’s separation of children from their families.

Photo By Fancycrave

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