tags: , , , AVEF, Press Releases

Trump is Wrong: There is NO Law that Requires DHS to Separate Children From Their Parents

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It is Trump’s Deliberate Policy and a Deliberate Choice that Harms Children in Order to Deter Asylum-Seekers and Unauthorized Immigrants

Amy Harmon of the New York Times reported:

President Trump over the weekend falsely blamed Democrats for a ‘horrible law’ separating immigrant children from their parents. In fact, his own administration had just announced this policy earlier this month….There is no law mandating separation. And the Democrats did not initiate that.

On May 7, Attorney General Sessions delivered remarks confirming that he is working with DHS to prosecute 100% of all parents caught crossing the border with children, thereby requiring those children be separated from parents, to achieve a deterrent effect. He stated:

I have put in place a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal entry on our Southwest border.  If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple….If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.…So if you’re going to come to this country, come here legally.  Don’t come here illegally.

Prior to this new policy, children were not separated from parents unless there were questions of potential human trafficking, danger to the child, or false claims to parentage. Even Secretary Nielsen and her Department’s spokesperson confirmed this prior policy, though the prior policy was repeatedly violated under Trump Administration. According to an internal memo obtained by the Washington Post, the harmful policy of separating children from parents and prosecuting parents was piloted for five months in 2017 in order to test its deterrent effect. And, prior to the implementation of this new policy on May 7, 2018, the New York Times reported that DHS had already separated 700 children from parents since October of last year.

Under Trump’s policy announced just three weeks ago, a DHS official confirmed at a Senate hearing that more than 600 children were taken from parents in just the first two weeks under this new policy.  Not surprisingly, the Trump Administration can cite no statute or provision requiring that the children be separated from their parents. That is because there is none.     

Ur Jaddou, Director of DHS Watch, a new project of America’s Voice, said:  

Deliberately separating children from parents to sow fear in parents as a deterrence is unprecedented and beyond cruel.  Trump must stop lying to the public and end this barbaric policy. There are no ‘loopholes’ nor statutory requirements that children be ripped from their parents’ arms as a matter of routine practice. It is clear, as Attorney General Sessions and White House Chief of Staff have stated, this is a deliberate choice, and a deliberate policy in pursuit of deterrence. And it is an abomination.