Despite the fact that President Donald Trump was ordered by a judge to stop the separation of families at the border back in June, a new report reveals that the breakup of families continues to happen. A story published on ProPublica yesterday asserts that families are still being separated at the border under alleged claims against the parents.
At least 16 new cases show that immigration officials have separated kids from their families based on the pretense that a parent is a criminal.
According to publication, 16 incidents of separations since the Trump Administration was ordered to end his policy and immigration officials are not denying it. This number is only based on what the publication found, whether additional cases exists still remains to be seen. Previously under Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, all undocumented people that were entering the country with children were separated. After Trump reversed the policy back in June via a signed executive order, officials apparently continued to separate the kids in cases where it was assumed that one or both of the parents were criminals in their country of origin. Under this clause, in which the parent is a danger to the child, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) claim they are within their rights to separate the families, whether they have proof or not.
In response to the new report, senior CBP official said that the current White House administration “continues to comply with the law and separates adults and children when required for the safety and security of the child.”
Neha Desai, a senior attorney at the National Center for Youth Law, added that if “the authorities have even the most specious evidence that a parent was a gang member, or had some kind of blemish on their record, anything they can come up with to say that the separation is for the health and welfare of the child, then they’ll separate them.”
Even though CBP has claimed they have the authority to separate a child from a parent if they’re a danger to the child, Susan Watson, a civil rights and family lawyer, tells the publication that CBP still need to have the authority of a judge to do that. “Constitutionally, before a parent is separated from a child, you are entitled to due process,” Watson said. “Some decision in a dark corner by the Border Patrol doesn’t meet that standard.”
In one case, a 4-year-old child was separated by his father after immigration officials alleged he had been part of MS-13. According to ProPublica, this claim was made without proof. The boy’s lawyer had no idea that his client had been separated or that the father was looking for him.
There is proof, however, that child detention centers continue to expand and are overflowing with undocumented minors.
As one child who was there said: “They need a hug, and nobody is allowed to hug there.”
Remember, the children locked inside Tornillo are never charged w/a crime; crossing illegally into the U.S. is a civil offense. pic.twitter.com/WJYBpt61A9
— ???????????????????????? (@RAICESTEXAS) November 27, 2018
As the centers begin to expand with more children, the government is in desperate need to hire staff at these detention facilities. The rapid rate of the facilities shows that employees do not have proper clearance to be working with children. According to the Associated Press, 2,100 staffers currently stationed at a Texas-based tent city that holds over 2,300 teens have not been subjected to rigorous FBI fingerprint background checks.