DHS Memo Fails to Outline Steps for Reunifying Families Seeking Protection
New York City—In response to the Zero-Tolerance Prosecution and Family Reunification fact sheet issued by the Department of Homeland Security last night, Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer issued the following statement:
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) memo raises concerns that this administration plans to keep families separated if they pursue refugee protection in the United States.
This statement does not identify any steps Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will take to unify parents held in its facilities with their separated children, it merely describes steps the agency will take to set up telephone calls for these families and “removal coordination.” This indicates that the administration will only reunite families in ICE detention for deportation rather than while their asylum cases move ahead.
It is clear that the Trump Administration will continue to use family separation to deter and punish families who seek protection in this country. Parents seeking asylum should not have to choose between uniting with their children and pursuing protection for their families.
Additionally, President Trump’s comments on Twitter indicating that he wants to send people back to persecution and violence without judges or court cases makes a mockery of the rule of law. Our country is one governed by laws, not by autocrats who seek to vilify and dehumanize vulnerable people. This is not who we are as a country.