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The Family Separation Crisis Continues: We Must Hold Trump Administration Officials Accountable & Bring Deported Parents Back

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Despite the ongoing efforts of the American people, hundreds of families remain separated and family separations are still continuing. The Trump administration’s incompetence is a big part of this story. As Federal Judge Dana Sabraw observed, “The parents didn’t know where the children were, and the children didn’t know where the parents were. And the government didn’t know either.”

But purposeful cruelty on top of the staggering incompetence has made things all the worse: witness how the Trump administration applied pressure and relied on false pretenses in order to deport 463 parents without their children. And over the weekend, Dara Lind of Vox highlighted new allegations that ICE has separated fathers after they were reunited with their kids, following these parents’ refusal to abide by the government’s attempts to coerce the parents into accepting deportation:

The fathers say that shortly after being reunited with their teenage children, they were presented with forms that gave them three “options” for their families’ cases — with the option for deporting the child along with the parent already selected. One parent says the check mark had been made in pen; two others report that they were told they had to sign the form with that option selected.

These new revelations underscore that the architects, enablers and implementers of the family separation policy are still in power — and underscore why we need to remain vigilant and demand accountability.

Finally, after months of this moral travesty, the Republican Congress has finally decided to do something. Tomorrow morning the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold the first and only oversight hearing regarding the scandalous behavior by top officials and line agents.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Our government took thousands of children from their parents’ arms, destroyed records that would have aided reunification, deported hundreds of moms and dads away from their kids, and is now trying to claim credit for a job well done. Outrageous. The government’s malevolence has been topped only by its gross incompetence.

We need to direct our anger and vigilance towards the goal of reunifying all of the separated families. For parents deported away from their children — under coercive and suspicious conditions — we need to bring them back to American via humanitarian parole visas so they can be reunited and prepare for a fair hearing to plead their asylum claims in court. With respect to oversight and accountability, it’s a relief that at least one Congressional committee of jurisdiction has gotten around to asking a few questions. The real question is this: whose heads are going to roll? When does DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen step up, take responsibility, and resign? When does Stephen Miller get called out and called up? When do ICE and CPB agents get called on the carpet for lying, misleading and mistreating people in their custody? We are still very much at the beginning of this unfolding tragedy and aftermath.