Federal Judge in Decision and Syndicated WaPo Columnist Blast Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy
Observers are criticizing as cruel and inhumane the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from parents in order to sow fear and deter migrants and asylum seekers.
Yesterday, a U.S. District Judge in San Diego, Judge Dana M. Sabraw, allowed a suit from the ACLU to proceed against the Trump administration’s family separation policy. In the ruling, Judge Sabraw denounced the policy and implications, stating that the policy, “arbitrarily tears at the sacred bond between parent and child” and noting:
Such conduct, if true… is brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency, The facts alleged are sufficient to show the government conduct at issue ‘shocks the conscience’ and violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional right to family integrity.
And a new piece from Washington Post syndicated columnist Catherine Rampell calls out the Trump administration’s family separation policy, as well as the falsehoods and talking points used by the administration to justify its cruelty. We excerpt Rampell’s column titled, “No, Jeff Sessions. We don’t treat immigrant families the way we treat other ‘criminals’” below:
On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions again defended the Trump administration’s inhumane policy of forcibly separating asylum-seeking immigrant children — including infants and toddlers — from their parents at the border.
His defense was that these parents are all committing crimes by sneaking over the border; the crimes need to be prosecuted; criminal prosecutions result in parents going to jail; and generally speaking, jails cannot legally house minor children.
…There are two enormous problems with this “it’s just like how we treat other criminals” claim.
First is that U.S. government is ripping immigrant children out of their parents’ arms even when the parents didn’t actually commit a crime (including the crime of crossing the border illegally).
Second, in some cases the government is refusing to return immigrant children to their parents even after the parents are released from jail. That is not something that happens when parents are released from prison for other, non-immigration-related crimes, unless those parents are otherwise accused of being unfit parents. Which is not happening here.
Let’s talk about the first issue: ripping immigrant families apart even when the parents didn’t commit a crime.
There are lots of asylum-seekers who are doing exactly what the U.S. government has instructed them to do if they wish to seek asylum and avoid breaking the law: They are presenting themselves at a port of entry at the border, and not actually crossing illegally.
And yet they are still being separated from their children.
One of the plaintiffs in the American Civil Liberties Union’s case challenging forced separations of asylum-seeking families is a woman listed as “Ms. L.” After fleeing political violence in Congo, she presented herself and her 7-year-old daughter at the San Ysidro, Calif., Port of Entry on Nov. 1, 2017. Ms. L. also passed a “credible fear interview,” the initial screening for asylum-seekers.
She did everything right. She did not unlawfully cross the border. Nonetheless, according to her ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, her daughter was still taken from her. Ms. L. was sent to San Diego; her daughter, thousands of miles away to Chicago.
After a lawsuit, press coverage and great public outcry, they were finally reunited more than four months later.