Separation of children from immigrant parents at the border – Compilation

Titles of articles related to separation of children from immigrant parents at the border – scroll down for excerpt; click link for full text

Huckabee Sanders Defends Ripping Children From Parents, Because It’s “Very Biblical to Enforce the Law”Excerpt – “That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,” said the White House press secretary by Jon Queally, Common Dreams, June 14, 2018 – Excerpt – Asked to comment on remarks made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier in the day about how the Trump administration’s policy of ripping children out of the arms of their immigrant parents is somehow justified by the Christian Bible, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday afternoon said she could not respond specifically to the AG’s claims but said “it is very biblical to enforce the law.” “That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,” Huckabee Sanders said in response to the question by CNN’s Jim Acosta …Citing increasingly horrific stories of the children of immigrant and asylum-seeking parents being separated at the border, Acosta said “can you imagine the horror these children must be going through” and asked, “Why is the government doing this?” “Because it’s the law,” Huckabee Sanders responded. “And that’s what the law states.”…subsequent reporters pushed back against the false claims the press secretary was making—namely that their family separation policy was “the law” and not a specific policy choice pushed by President Trump and promoted at the DOJ by Sessions on multiple occasions…

How Liberals Got Lost on the Story of Missing Children at the Border  By Amanda Taub,, May 31, 2018

Anguish at Southwest border as more immigrant children are separated from parents

Hundreds of Immigrant Children Have Been Taken From Parents at the border 

Parents, children ensnared in ‘zero-tolerance’ border prosecutions

Separating parents from their kids at the border contradicts everything we know about children’s welfare

Trump Blames Own Border Policy on Democrats

Excerpts from titles listed above:

Anguish at Southwest border as more immigrant children are separated from parents by Suzanne Gamboa and Daniella Silva,, May.22.2018

“Wouldn’t you feel anguish if they took your kids? I’d be going crazy. It’s inhumane,” said a public defender in McAllen, Texas.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a goal to criminally prosecute 100 percent of people crossing the border illegally — including families with children. Those who are charged with improper entry — a misdemeanor on the first infraction — are jailed and separated from their children. Previously, most parents had been allowed to remain with their children in family shelters while awaiting asylum cases or deportation proceedings.

The Trump administration’s willingness to take children from their parents has raised concerns about how far authorities should go to stem unauthorized border crossings and what human cost is acceptable in the name of border security and immigration control.

“There is something terrible happening here that Americans would not support if they understood it,” said F. Scott McCown, director of the Children’s Rights Clinic at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

Sessions: ‘If you are smuggling a child, we will prosecute you.’

From October 2017 to mid-April, before the new prosecution strategy officially went into effect, more than 700 children were reportedly separated from their parents at the border. The federal government has not released figures from May, but those who work on immigration cases have observed a large increase in the number of children affected. Nogueras said he previously saw only one or two such cases a week in the McAllen courtroom in the Southern District of Texas; last week, he saw about 33 cases.

“Wouldn’t you feel anguish if they took your kids? I’d be going crazy. It’s inhumane,” he [public defender Miguel "Andy" Nogueras] said.

Other attorneys and advocates have reported similar torment among immigrant parents…

“The human cost of this will be great,” Franco [Maureen Franco, a federal public defender for the Western District of Texas] said.

… space in shelters and foster homes is limited; The Washington Post reported the administration plans to open facilities at military bases to house some of the separated children…

Trump administration officials have said the purpose of the new zero-tolerance policy is not explicitly to dissuade families with children from crossing into the U.S. illegally, but rather to protect children from kidnapping and smuggling and to more strictly enforce existing laws….

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued over the family separations and sought an injunction to stop them and is awaiting a ruling…

“This is as bad a practice as I’ve seen in my career,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who has worked for the ACLU for more than 25 years. “It has such a cruel feel to it.”

Hundreds of Immigrant Children Have Been Taken From Parents at the border By Caitlin Dickerson, New York Times, April 20, 2018

For months, members of Congress have been demanding answers about how many families are being separated as they are processed at stations along the southwest border, in part because the Trump administration has in the past said it was considering taking children from their parents as a way to deter migrants from coming here.

Officials have repeatedly declined to provide data on how many families have been separated, but suggested that the number was relatively low.

But new data reviewed by The New York Times shows that more than 700 children have been taken from adults claiming to be their parents since October, including more than 100 children under the age of 4.

The data was prepared by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services that takes custody of children who have been removed from migrant parents….a spokesman for the health and human services department on Friday acknowledged in a statement that there were “approximately 700.”…

But Trump administration officials have suggested publicly in the past that they were, indeed, considering a deterrence policy. Last year, John F. Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff, floated the idea while he was serving as homeland security secretary…

If approved, the plan would have closed detention facilities that are designed to house families and replaced them with separate shelters for adults and children. The White House supported the move and convened a group of officials from several federal agencies to consider its merits. But the Department of Homeland Security has said the policy was never adopted…the children can languish in custody indefinitelyOnce a child has entered the shelter system, there is no firm process to determine whether they have been separated from someone who was legitimately their parent, or for reuniting parents and children who had been mistakenly separated, said a Border Patrol official, who was not authorized to discuss the agency’s policies publicly.

“The idea of punishing parents who are trying to save their children’s lives, and punishing children for being brought to safety by their parents by separating them, is fundamentally cruel and un-American,” said Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, an advocacy group that conducts interviews and monitoring at immigration detention centers, including those that house children. “It really to me is just a horrific ‘Sophie’s Choice’ for a mom.”…

Protecting children at the border is complicated because there have, indeed, been instances of fraud. … Mr. Trump has repeatedly expressed frustration that the agency has not been aggressive enough in policing the border, according to a person at the White House who is familiar with the discussions.

Officials presented Mr. Trump with a list of proposals, including the plan to routinely separate immigrant adults from their children. The president urged Ms. Nielsen to move forward with the policies, the person said.

But even groups that support stricter immigration policies have stopped short of endorsing a family separation policy. Jessica M. Vaughan, the director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, one such group, said that family separation should only be used as a “last resort.”…

Parents, children ensnared in ‘zero-tolerance’ border prosecutions By Curt Prendergast and Perla Trevizo Arizona Daily Star, May 25, 2018

Parents who cross the border illegally with their children may face criminal charges as federal prosecutors in Tucson follow through on a recent directive from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prosecute all valid cases… said U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Cosme Lopez.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection started referring families caught crossing illegally for prosecution several weeks ago, Lopez said. Those prosecutions unfold both in Streamline cases and through individual prosecutions….

“When they will be reunited, I cannot say because that’s an immigration matter,” [Christopher] Lewis, [federal prosecutor] said…

In an April 6 memorandum to federal prosecutors, Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy for first-time illegal border crossers. On May 7, he said the Department of Homeland Security was referring 100 percent of illegal crossers for criminal prosecution in federal court.

“If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you,” Sessions said. “It’s that simple.”

The children would be “put into foster care or whatever,” Kelly said in response to criticism that taking a mother from her child is cruel and heartless….

Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector apprehended 2,500 people crossing the border as families from October to the end of April, CBP records show. In the Yuma Sector, agents apprehended nearly 8,000. The borderwide total is nearly 50,000, down from 59,500 during the same period in fiscal 2017.

At Arizona’s ports of entry, about 5,500 people traveling as families were deemed inadmissible from October to April. The borderwide total was 30,000, up from about 21,000 during the same period in fiscal 2017.

Separating parents from their kids at the border contradicts everything we know about children’s welfare By [Dr.] Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Opinion section, LATimes, May 03, 2018

…Studies overwhelmingly demonstrate the irreparable harm caused by breaking up families…These parents are given two untenable options. They can return with their children to their home country and the conditions that forced them to flee in the first place. Or they can endure being detained sometimes halfway across the country from their children… In some cases, parents have been deported, leaving a child behind in government custody.The American Academy of Pediatrics has written to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security — now Kirstjen Nielsen — on at least five occasions opposing the forced separation of parents and children at the border. More than 200 child welfare, juvenile justice and child development organizations signed a letter urging Nielsen to abandon any plans to systematically separate children from their families. Members of Congress have spoken out in opposition. And yet we know the practice continuesDr. Colleen Kraft is the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Trump Blames Own Border Policy on Democrats By D’Angelo Gore,, May 22, 2018

President Donald Trump wrongly blamed Democrats for a Trump administration policy that will separate parents and their young children caught entering the U.S. illegally.

“We have to break up families,” Trump claimed, because of “bad laws that the Democrats gave us.” But there is no such law. Instead, it’s the administration’s decision to criminally prosecute all immigrants who cross the border illegally that will cause children to be separated from their parents…

U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions outlined the new enforcement actions on May 7.

“If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple,” Sessions said. “If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.”…

Because minors cannot be kept in jails for adults, children would be separated from parents charged with committing a crime, Brown explained. Children would then be considered unaccompanied minors and turned over to the refugee resettlement office.

In fact, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who was Homeland Security secretary before Nielsen, indicated in March 2017 that DHS was considering splitting up parents and children as a strategy to deter other families from illegally immigrating to the U.S…the decision to prosecute all offenders is one that was made by the current administration. It is not a law that “Democrats gave us,” as Trump said…

last update: May 27, 2018 by Phyllis Stenerson, editor

How Liberals Got Lost on the Story of Missing Children at the Border By Amanda Taub,, May 31, 2018