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Betraying Family Values

How Immigration Policy at the United States Border
is Separating Families


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS For more than forty years, LIRS has provided child welfare
services to refugee and migrant children who are unaccompanied
This report is a joint project of Lutheran Immigration and or separated from family. LIRS staff have expertise in serving
Refugee Service (LIRS), the Women’s Refugee Commission and advocating for the best interests of refugee and migrant
(WRC), and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). It was researched children. LIRS and its partners provide a range of services to
and written by Jessica Jones, Katharina Obser, and Jennifer children and families across the United States, including a range
Podkul. It was reviewed and edited by Michelle Brané, Megan of foster care services, family reunification and support services,
McKenna, Alex Pender, Joanne Kelsey, Annie Wilson, and Kay as well as advocacy and technical assistance.
Bellor. Additional thanks to Lutheran Volunteer Corps fellows:
Katie McCoy and McKayla Eskilson. The Women’s Refugee Commission improves the lives and
protects the rights of women, children and youth displaced by
Our organizations would like to express our appreciation to conflict and crisis. We research their needs, identify solutions
the many government officials, legal and social service providers, and advocate for programs and policies to strengthen their
and other advocates who gave their time and input for our resilience and drive change in humanitarian practice. Since
research. We are especially grateful to LIRS Children’s Services our founding in 1989, we have been a leading expert on the
partners, the Kino Border Initiative, Public Counsel, American needs of refugee women and children, and the policies that
Gateways, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the Evangelical can protect and empower them. Our Migrant Rights & Justice
Lutheran Church of America, and Yale University Legal Clinic program works to ensure access to protection and due process
who shared their research and elevated the many stories of for detained protection-seeking women and children in the
separated families. United States informed by our own monitoring and research.

KIND was founded by the Microsoft Corporation and KIND, LIRS and WRC would also like to extend thanks to
UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, and is the leading the generous contributions of our supporters.
national organization that works to ensure that no refugee
or immigrant child faces immigration court alone. We do
this in partnership with over 335 law firms, corporate legal
departments, law schools, and bar associations, which provide
pro bono representation to unaccompanied children referred
to KIND for assistance in their deportation proceedings. KIND
has received more than 12,900 child referrals since we opened
our doors in 2009, and trained over 14,700 pro bono attorneys.
KIND also helps children who are returning to their home
countries through deportation or voluntary departure to do so
safely and to reintegrate into their home communities. Through
our reintegration pilot project in Guatemala, we place children
with our local nongovernmental organization partners, which
provide vital social services including family reunification,
school enrollment, skills training, and counseling. KIND
also advocates to change law, policy, and practices to improve
the protection of unaccompanied children in the United
States, and is working to build a stronger regional protection
framework throughout Central America and Mexico. We
educate policymakers, the media, and the broader public
about the violence that is driving children out of the Northern
Triangle and their need for protection.

This report was updated with a non-substantive technical correction on April 3, 2017.

How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10, 2017 iiii


GLOSSARY OF TERMS HHS: United States Department of Health and Human Services,
which includes the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
ATD: Alternatives to Detention. These can include various forms
of release, or more formal government-contracted services to HSA: Homeland Security Act of 2002, which dissolved the
help ensure compliance with immigration requirements. former Immigration and Naturalization Service and divided its
responsibilities between EOIR and DHS. It brought under one
ATEP: CBP’s Alien Transfer Exit Program employs a costly departmental umbrella of DHS: the Transportation Security
program of lateral repatriation in which Mexicans subject to Administration, U.S. Secret Service, FEMA, U.S. Coast Guard,
removal are transported along the border to locations far from CBP, ICE, USCIS, as well as other offices and responsibilities.
their entry point in an attempt by the U.S. to break up smuggling
rings and make return more difficult. ICE: United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement,
the branch of DHS responsible for investigative and interior
CBP: Customs and Border Protection of the Department of immigration enforcement activity.
Homeland Security; includes U.S. Border Patrol, responsible
for admissions at ports, and the Office of Field Operations, IIRIRA: Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility
responsible for official ports of entry. Act of 1996.

CDS: Consequence Delivery System intended to serve as a set JFMRU: Juvenile and Family Management Residential Unit.
of DHS options of punishments to deter future migration. Juvenile coordinators within this unit liaise with ORR for the
transport and care of unaccompanied children.
CFI: Credible Fear Interview. For asylum-seeking migrants placed
into expedited removal, a referral to a credible fear interview MIRP: CBP’s Mexican Interior Repatriation Program seeks to
is the only way to make a case for asylum in the United States. remove Mexicans to interior areas of Mexico far from U.S. border
Otherwise the migrant will be deported without any review of areas to deter future migration.
their case by an immigration judge. A migrant is supposed to
be referred for a CFI interview if they express a fear of return at NTA: Notice to Appear is a letter given and/or mailed to an
any stage during apprehension or custody. The CFI takes place immigrant in removal proceedings with the date the immigrant is
while an asylum seeker is in ICE custody. to appear in immigration court. (Not all migrants being removed
are entitled to a hearing before a judge).
CRCL: DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, charged
with investigating and reporting to Congress on civil rights and ORR: Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is responsible for
civil liberties complaints. the care and custody of unaccompanied children; part of the
United States Department of Health and Human Services.
DHS: United States Department of Homeland Security
RFI: Reasonable Fear Interview, a relatively new process
DIF: Mexico’s child welfare agency, Desarrollo Integral de La Familia established by IIRIRA for asylum-seeking migrants for whom
DHS reinstates a prior order of removal. Migrants encountered
DOJ: United States Department of Justice by DHS must be referred for a reasonable fear interview if a
migrant who already has an order of removal but expresses fear
Expedited Removal: An expedited deportation process created of return. USCIS conducts RFIs after an individual has been
under IIRIRA, under which a migrant is deported immediately transferred to ICE custody.
or after brief processing, unless the migrant expresses a fear of
return and is referred for a credible fear interview. Today, expedited TEDS: CBP’s National Standards for Transport, Escort, Detention
removal applies both at formal ports of entry when someone is and Search.
deemed ineligible for entry into the United States, and can also
be applied to migrants apprehended between ports of entry. TVPRA: The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection
Reauthorization Act of 2008.
EOIR: Executive Office for Immigration Review, the immigration
court system located within the Department of Justice. UC/UAC: “Unaccompanied alien child,” also referred as an
unaccompanied child, introduced in the Homeland Security
FMUA: CBP’s classification of “Family Unit Aliens” consisting Act of 2002, is defined as “a child who:
of children who are apprehended with one or more parents or
legal guardians. (A) has no lawful immigration status in the United States;

How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10, 2017 iiiiii

2017 iviv . the agency overseeing asylum. and (C) with respect to whom — (i) there is no parent or legal guardian in the United States.CHILDREN IN BETRAYING FAMILY CRISISVALUES AUGUST 2016 (B) has not attained 18 years of age. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. and other visa services within DHS. the UN Refugee Agency USCIS: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. citizenship. UNHCR: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. or (ii) no parent or legal guardian in the United States is available to provide care and physical custody.

TABLE OF CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 TEARING APART FAMILIES: HOW IMMIGRATION POLICY AT THE UNITED STATES BORDER IS SEPARATING FAMILIES 3 Introduction 3 SECTION 1: FAMILY SEPARATION DURING BORDER APPREHENSION AND PROCESSING 3 Physical Separation in Short-Term Holding Cells 3 Lack of Mechanisms for Tracking and Recording Family Relations 4 Failure to Identify Family Relationships 4 Separating Children from Their Parents 6 Separation Because of Mixed Immigration Status 7 Separating Families as a Method of Deterrence 8 SECTION 2: FAMILY SEPARATION CONSEQUENCES IN LONG-TERM CUSTODY 11 Separation Causes Trauma 12 Trying to Reunify 12 Due Process Consequences from Family Separation 13 SECTION 3: FAMILY SEPARATION UPON DEPORTATION 15 A History of Separation During Removal 15 An Impossible Choice: Repatriation or Separation 16 Locating Children Who Have Been Returned 16 The Repatriation of Mexican Children 16 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 17 ENDNOTES 18 APPENDICIES: METHODOLOGY 22 THE CONSEQUENCE DELIVERY SYSTEM (CDS) 23 Figure 1: Example of an Evaluation Process for CDS 23 Figure 2: How CDS Can Cause Family Separation 24 FAMILY SEPARATION FLOW CHART 26 WHO TO CALL? 27 Contact Sheet 28 Acronym Glossary (Translated from English into Spanish) 30 .

Customs mother with a minor child or others arriving together. DHS and its component agencies should document Security and other government agencies currently have little and trace all family relationships. This should include strips the dignity of an individual and their family as a whole. child welfare law. Because the Department of Homeland 2. and removal and repatriation informed in part from our discussions and interviews with the decisions. members being detained or removed separately and often losing contact with each other. 2017 11 . seeking employment. alternatives to detention should be utilized instead of government’s immigration custody and enforcement decisions.S. and regarding detained family members. 1. family unity. and protection. A continuum of is caused. but also because its destruction has a detrimental consider ORRís best interest recommendation as well impact on liberty. family unity in its immigration policy. but can be together.S. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have continued to try forcing a square peg into a round hole. how family separation through the deportation process is dangerous and impedes safe repatriation and reintegration. we as a nation are breaking families apart. traditional institutional detention to avoid separating It explains how the government’s lack of consistent mechanisms families and unnecessary detention causing trauma for identifying and tracking family members result in family and due process complications. DHS should the family unit. should be accessible to ORR and to family members even when accompanied by a parent. to families. DHS Office of Inspector DHS should avoid placing family members. the right to liberty. whether a General. should consider family unity as a primary factor and in doing so have compounded the vulnerabilities of families in all charging and detention decisions. DHS should consider the best interests of the child in Our findings of policies and practices in this report have been all processing.S. how children. documentation. by the U. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Such information should also be collected. During removal and repatriation. children. policy guidance on humanitarian considerations during enforcement actions. the United States has seen a shift in the detention. U. Finally. These changes include: from Central America. processing. This report demonstrates how the process of enforcement analyzed. and track family separation in all cases. 3. It also as recommendations by the DHS Advisory Committee negatively impacts emotional and psychological development on Family Residential Centers in release decisions and well-being. This should also permit families to unaccompanied. DHS Policy. and the Department of Health into expedited or reinstatement of removal. custody. children should be protected from family separation to ensure children are returned safely without causing The federal government should prioritize liberty and undue trauma. often from Mexico.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES EXECUTIVE SUMMARY members. it is a fundamental human right enshrined in their family members. Information along the border subjects families to separation. creates security and economic difficulties. For decisions and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). many families are needlessly torn apart. coming mostly achieved with administrative changes. and to prevent. grandparents. this report explains separation. aunts. and reunification demographics of migrants encountered at our borders—from a must become presumptive principles. majority of adult males. international and U. Instead of promoting family unity. and uncles fleeing Ensuring family unity does not require legislation. access to justice. and how such separation impacts the family’s trace other family members. DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. file complaints about family well-being and access to due process. both intentionally and unintentionally. and protection-seeking migrants. Instead of pursuing policies of deterrence and Over the past five years. DHS agents should receive training and guidance on identification. instead of shifting to adapt to this significant change. their best interests should always be of primary consideration and family relationships Family unity is important not only to maintain the integrity of should be vetted whenever possible. and reported regularly to Congress. can be rendered and their attorneys.1 Tragically. and Border Protection (CBP). including enforcement actions. and This report documents the ways in which family separation placement decisions for families. and seek family reunification. release or removal of In addition. impacting a child. seeking protection in the United States. mitigate. Family separation should be recorded and justified in writing. Government agencies with enforcement and custody responsibilities should have mechanisms to identify family How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. immigration enforcement policies. decisions impacting the custody. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) release and reunification. should investigate cases of family separation to identify trends. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). including ICE. unaccompanied children retain their designation for the duration of their removal proceedings.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES 4. and policies on process to help separated family members be released family separation. and/or reunited. 2017 22 . provide oversight and accountability. DHS should coordinate among its components and with HHS to identify family separation and facilitate 7. DHS and the Department of Justice’s Executive professionals at the border to supervise the protection Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) should ensure of children and families and oversee instances of separated children who have been designated as family separation. DHS and its components. reporting. CBP. This should include mechanisms to help detained family members locate and connect with separated loved ones. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. DHS should require the hiring of child welfare 6. and the and report findings to Congress and the public. should DHS agencies should also work with DHS CRCL to work with HHS and ORR to ensure an inter-agency improve documentation. 5.

family members are separated along their their mother that because she had been deported previously journey or as they are crossing the border. 17 years old. taken into custody. removal. Ervin constantly expressed sadness actions taken as part of deterrence policies. family member’s right to family unity. In other cases family and crossed illegally. There is no agency-wide policy defining what constitutes a family. 17 years old families migrate together to the United States. After two weeks. government affirmatively renders children “unaccompanied” by physically separating and transferring children away from their accompanying family members. where they were placed enforcement actions can be unintended consequences of intake in a LIRS foster care program. search of protection with their mother. Daxany and Ervin Undocumented or mixed status families encountered or were released to their father. These cases are sometimes the result of inadequate government systems How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. family separation practices effectively strip away a In the summer of 2016. After arriving safety. parents.S. nationalities. DURING BORDER APPREHENSION their rest was abruptly interrupted when they were woken up by officials who told the children to say goodbye to their AND PROCESSING mother. a disturbing new trend has emerged at the U. or regions Angel. Cristina was removed from the cell. Ervin overheard officials telling In some cases. near the U. and in others they are the How Immigration Policy at the United States result of an intentional focus on enforcement. SECTION 1: FAMILY SEPARATION The family huddled together and fell asleep. and grandparents. at official ports of entry. the U. border: families torn apart. immigration custody. which do not take into the family separation was traumatic to Daxany and Ervin. – Story provided by LIRS During this process there are multiple ways and reasons a family may become separated.S. the number of documented cases of family separation has escalated.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES TEARING APART FAMILIES: and practices to protect families. Arizona. small 15 years old. and processed. both U. Two months later. Following apprehension by Border Patrol.S.5 These cases are not specific to certain families. Daxany and Ervin were transferred immigration enforcement actions such as detention. border. nor a requirement for documentation of all family separation incidents. Angel later shared with a social worker that he migration journey. citizens and noncitizens.S. children. Physical Separation in Short-Term Holding Cells Over the last year. Daxany. 2017 33 . traveled with his younger sister Isabela. – Story provided by LIRS some instances. are deeply traumatic. or can be intentional During the separation. As the case examples in this report demonstrate. Cristina. The children were given no explanation. in 2016. 5 years old In all cases. in states including California. and Border is Separating Families punishment. and to those upsetting. or to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of prosecution. Social workers reported that and detention policies and procedures.4 As an increasing number of Angel.S. When Angel asked what happened to his sister. They affect siblings. and Texas. the Border Patrol agent Separation has long been recognized to occur during the yelled at Angel. Cristina was apprehended by U. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are released from ICE custody and reunified3 with her children. she was not allowed to stay with her members who arrive at the border together are separated due to children. they were taken into Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody and locked in a secure holding cell. of the United States. 5-year-old Daxany2 and her 15-year. In partner organization. Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody.S. spouses. It was not until they were in ORR custody that they apprehended while crossing into the United States at unofficial were eventually reunified and placed together with an LIRS entry points. and worry for his mother and he desperately wanted to know what happened to her. deterrence. and old brother Ervin fled to the United States from Honduras in cause significant long-term consequences to a family’s integrity. and access to due process. no traceable documentation of those Introduction familial relationships. After an hour. placed in secure holding cells. account the importance of family unity. Shortly thereafter. but it also occurs after apprehension and while was very concerned for his sister and that the separation was in U. Angel and Isabela were held in separate cells.

Often. there is no dedicated hotline across ICE. consulates. mothers with children. non-parent relatives with children. Anthony.S. adult men. CBP. Luna overheard agents to reconnect with them. The two younger children were shortly involving parents and minor children. Government officials with whom they yelling at her aunt as they separated her from her niece come into contact after separation may also be left without the and nephews. ICE’s database thereafter reunified by ORR and placed in an LIRS foster care system has no searchable fields or linked cases to easily identify program. Anthony reunify families. CBP introduced a and 19-year-old cousin to the U. or reunite with a loved one. who had raised them for the past six years. LIRS does not know what happened to the cousin. For family members seeking information. border. Escort. contact. women and/or children Not only is there no systematic coordination between CBP may not get a chance to see their husbands. and Rocia in yet another cell.7 There are no during holding. ORR has a HELP Line. Upon or information about where their family members are or how apprehension by Border Patrol. instead of being allowed only clearly requires documentation when there is a separation to remain with them. separation.8 Similarly. there is also no requirement that family separation be following separation and placement in a holding cell. traveled with his 7-year-old sister to locate. 11. including or through separate screening interviews by child welfare Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP. and 9 years old individuals while in the custody of ICE. Usually this means a holding cell for: teenage unaccompanied boys. and CBP runs the CBP INFO Center. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 4 years old. Jazier. Federal law and policy clearly underscore CBP’s responsibilities teenage unaccompanied girls.S. 11. individuals have little meaningful recourse Jazier. 2017 44 . this information is not available to Luna. – Story provided by LIRS ICE has a Detainee Resource Information Hotline (DRIL). According to Border Patrol practice. 12. very young unaccompanied boys to safeguard the best interests of children in its custody and and girls. There is no government of an adult family member. CBP. government agencies cell for adult male parents with children. or professionals. where they were national border policy in October 2015. the U.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES At CBP stations or central processing facilities. In many cases they are not reunited entity charged with systematically tracking family separation. information relating to family in a holding cell with other young children and without the care separation is often not transmitted. partners. In practice. Detention. Jazier was separated from his sister and on Transport. and David in another. border officials Lack of Mechanisms for Tracking and typically separate family members in order to group migrants Recording Family Relations together in one secure cell according to age and gender. yet. Similarly. Luna. or fathers and ICE. Although the agencies have a process to share data or other young children may find themselves scared and alone among their respective databases. CBP agents also do not always corroborate shared databases between the law enforcement agencies within family relationships through identity documents. toddlers children. and 9 years old The widespread failure to record and track this information respectively—fled South America with their maternal aunt results in families separated and left without any knowledge Rocia. Luna information or assistance they would need to reconnect or would have been placed in a separate cell for girls. 4 years old Because of this lack of infrastructure and documentation. documented or justified. once separation occurs. This could result in separation for the duration of with the ORR which is tasked with caring for unaccompanied families’ short-term detention. the National Standards apprehended by CBP. which cousin by CBP officials in custody. Because of this practice. Anthony. and David. and occasionally a to protect the family unit. and Search (TEDS). this means currently have little policy guidance on family unity and a number of sibling groups.6 However. after this initial separation. and David—12. and no consistent or comprehensive mechanisms or husbands and wives with or without children are separated to document family status or trace family members. family relationships. and ORR that could help identify the location of a separated family member or assist with reunification. or ORR. – Story provided by LIRS How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10.

There is no clear. such as Elliot may be placed with ORR without any information adult children. together not only do not receive the designation of a “family his grandmother. the lack of any kind of recognition of these claimed and providing support. aunts. The grandmother. The law limits the release of a child to a parent or legal guardian while In some cases. In all of these cases. siblings. and therefore no recording or tracking of these relationships or separation. however. uncles or grandparents traveling from CBP detailing the relationship of the primary caregiver. – Story provided by LIRS definition used by immigration authorities relies on definitions in immigration law for unaccompanied children that require the transfer of an unaccompanied child to ORR. or even impossible. articulate. change if have legal authorization to enter the United States but other the availability of a child’s parent or legal guardian changes later. the failure requires an initial separation and transfer of an unaccompanied to identify these children as part of a family results in their child to ORR custody while a more thorough assessment is separation from a trusted adult who has been caring for them conducted. If ORR is not informed of these potential relationships. As will be described in greater detail further in the report.11 The policy permits family separation. 5 years old In some cases. relationships. when they were Immigration officials can therefore make custody decisions apprehended by Border Patrol.10 This means. and how to contact him or her.” or even a parent if there is children to create a restrictive definition of family as being suspicion that the claimed relative is actually a trafficker. two married adults traveling together are not considered family. definition of family used by DHS that takes into account the LIRS has been unable to ascertain what happened to Elliot’s reality of migrant family structures and migration patterns. families composed of spouses or partners. Additionally there are no standards to protect the unity of families other than what CBP defines as In some cases. Elliot was later placed by ORR without knowing that a family member exists. In only a parent or legal guardian accompanied by a child or these cases it is difficult to subsequently reunify the child with children under the age of 18. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. For example. these separations are traumatic and can result in long-lasting or even permanent damage to children and to family structures. ORR’s knowledge of a child’s family members is critical to its family reunification process.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES Failure to Identify Family Relationships Elliot. family separation occurs to protect and vet in DHS custody. families are not identified as families release before detaining her due to her role as Elliot’s lifelong because the definition of family used by immigration officials caregiver.12 While child(ren) and a parent or guardian should generally be family reunification should always be a priority. a child might be separated from an accompanying “uncle” or as DHS has relied on this language describing unaccompanied articulated above. a grandmother and her two young grandchildren are While in these cases the law regulating the treatment of not considered family. release on alternatives. because they are afraid of how the information may be used. or the accompanying unit.9 a family connection and disrupt trafficking.” but they would receive no special consideration for the relative or caregiver (e. that his or her family member even if the relationship is later found siblings traveling together without a parent are not considered to be valid and in the best interest of the child. and should not. 2017 55 . for example. meaning. as in the case above. a “grandparent. makes family reunification after TEDS also states that family separation between a minor processing all the more difficult. family members do not share information about separated family members with immigration officials Five-year-old Elliot was separated from his grandmother. Following release from ORR. of “unaccompanied” for legal proceedings or subsequent whenever CBP agents or officers determine some family members custodial considerations does not. what happened to her. there is little to no investigation by CBP into the a “family unit”—a parent(s) or legal guardian and their minor specifics of family relationships. the designation avoided. and a child traveling with a cousin or unaccompanied children and protection from trafficking often uncle are not considered family. a child child(ren). family members do not. ICE should have considered Elliot’s grandmother for But in many cases. reunification and/or release to an appropriate sponsor is delayed or perhaps prevented entirely.. family.g. and. into an LIRS foster care program where he was reunified with his father. preservation of their family. and practical been deprived of her consistent care and nurturing presence. who was his primary caregiver all of his life. ICE custody). Elliot would not have is very restrictive.

mother Two-year-old Estefany was in her mother’s arms when her mother was brutally murdered by gangs. and Estefany was taken from their mother by officials because they were at risk transferred to ORR custody.) she picked up Rosie and grabbed Odalys by the arm.13 For all family members. decided to flee to the United Odalys and 2-year-old Rosie.S. by her only living relatives—her aunt and uncle. Even though her uncle entry.S. The ICE report stated that the three U. citizen children were the aunt and her child were released. and children. If parents or legal guardians are not informed of the process. citizen children. The uncle’s release status is unknown to LIRS. There were no potential sponsors identified for Rosie and Odalys. or reunification may be delayed for a long time. whether for a short period or indefinitely. family was separated.S. citizenship was never communicated to ORR. the processing office to return to Mexico with Odalys and Rosie. After LIRS service providers ultimately designated as unaccompanied may not find out contacted Maria. caretakers. After arriving at a U. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. The family. Odalys and Rosie were also taken from Maria as a result and were placed in ORR custody. CBP – Story provided by LIRS claims that Maria dragged Odalys a little and her face was scraped in the process.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES Estefany. – Story provided by LIRS their case. (Estefany remained in LIRS of child endangerment. nor was information provided to Family members and caretakers separated from a child ORR about how to contact Maria. weeks later. 2017 66 . her father was also murdered. Maria and her children were detained and processed had official documentation of her father’s passing and that by CBP officials. The report based this assessment on foster care until reunification with her aunt two-and-a-half the assertion that when Maria was fleeing from the agents. they came to the conclusion that it was not what happens to their child family member after the physical in the best interests of the children to be separated from their separation. port of States where they were apprehended. 2 years old Separating Children from Their Parents Maria. citizen children and two non-U.S. The placement of their older siblings who have U. they could potentially lose their parental rights as they remain in immigration custody or are removed. Maria unsuccessfully attempted to flee the the aunt and uncle were Estefany’s only living relatives.S. Three months later. Estefany was taken in Maria fled her abusive partner in Mexico with three U. mother and LIRS advocated for Maria’s release from ICE There is no requirement that separated family members or other custody so Odalys and Rosie could be reunified with their caretakers be informed of their relatives’ location or status of mother. the separation and lack of information is traumatic and potentially devastating both emotionally and to the outcome of their legal case. 3-year-old along with Estefany’s cousin. The uncle was sent to ICE custody.

and parents from their children in which border officials decided that should never be conducted by CBP agents without appropriate separation was in the best interest of the child. policy and practice. Lucia and her husband were sent to different adult detention centers. Border agents may decide to pursue an immigration enforcement action against the undocumented family members and send them to detention. A parent can effectively lose illustrate the importance of training on child abuse or neglect.S. the second family member was mother’s suitability based on very limited information and in no longer able to care for the children because of medical a manner inconsistent with child welfare standards.16 identified as unaccompanied. Although CBP officials confirmed the as punishment for their refusal to allow the children to pair’s biological relationship with the consulate. These agents made judgments regarding the member. The family member abused In one case. custody of their child without any judicial oversight and in which can also provide guidance to border agents on appropriate a manner and for reasons inconsistent with current child reporting of allegations to state or local authorities and/or the welfare legal standards. while CBP referred their young children to San Diego Child Family Services. CBP officials detained Brandon and members tortured and killed their extended family members his father at the border. CBP could hire social workers to welfare expertise. From detention. However. 2017 77 . LIRS served toddler children who were separated and neglected the two children. Children who are U. Examples may include parents who have violent criminal histories or in which there was an incident of alleged child abuse which was reported to the designated federal or local authorities. including U.S. Maria’s mixed status children—U. Brandon and join the gang. Her husband appeared at the border with his father were nonetheless separated by the agency.S. and train protect the integrity of the family.15 Cases like Lucia Maria’s above or child welfare professionals. Lucia was from their mother because she ran from agents to avoid being able to arrange for the children to live with a different family apprehended. Mixed Immigration Status Border agents also often separate family members traveling together if some have legal permission to enter the United States and some are unauthorized.14 In these cases. citizen children and younger undocumented children—were separated not only from each other but also from their mother. after gang States with his father. the parent is sent to an ICE adult detention facility while the child is rendered unaccompanied Separation Because of and transferred to ORR. – Story arriving as a family. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. who are U. Her husband remains detained.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES Lucia. citizen children. Only with the assistance of a pro bono attorney was Lucia able to obtain release on parole and has since been It should be noted that there are cases in which the separation reunited with her children. of a parent and child legitimately serves to protect the child and – Story provided to WRC by pro bono attorney is in line with child welfare standards. Current practice affords no due process to oversee care and custody of children and families. as in cases of children FBI in accordance with the law. and provided by LIRS despite seeking asylum. these decisions There have been numerous reports of border agents separating should be conducted by trained child welfare professionals. which placed them with a family member. issues. mother Brandon. Under current child welfare training.S. As the story below of Maria and her children shows. Despite was placed in an LIRS foster care program by ORR. these decisions are arbitrary and require no justification or documentation and do not involve any child To rectify these situations. Brandon injuries from the gang that had been targeting them. but after a time. citizens or have legal status are particularly vulnerable to being separated from unauthorized parents. 17 years old Lucia sought asylum at the border with her husband and Brandon was 17 years old when he traveled to the United two youngest children. Critical decisions affecting other CBP agents on how to apply a best interests of the child child welfare and parental rights are made by law enforcement framework for when an agent believes a child’s separation personnel without any input from professional social workers from their parent is warranted. citizens.

Rosa was sent to a separate child. à-vis the use of a consequence. Her father was detained in call the local or state child welfare agency to take custody of the an adult male detention center.S.17 Other border agents may father. or parents may lose parental rights. and again. despite a lack of evidenced-based evaluation of CDS re-enters without authorization.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES In the case of children who are U. and adds further complication when family separation keeps family members from pursuing an asylum case together. many parents and children of removal. Congress created a new summary process for expedited removal and DHS’ stated purpose of the CDS is to deter future unauthorized for reinstating prior orders of removal when an individual migration. border agents routinely separate family members. TEDS protection. access to in separation. With the passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and See Appendix X. 19 years old custody. punishment—or “consequences”—through what DHS calls its Each consequence poses a unique risk to accompanying family Consequence Delivery System (CDS). citizens or lawful permanent residents who cannot be detained in immigration Rosa. and Mexican Interior Repatriation Program (MIRP). the decision to detain the parent results in separation.21 In practice. criminal prosecution Examples of how deterrence tactics separate families: for an immigration offense such as reentry (including Operation 1. expedited removal and reinstatement of removal punish them for their flight to the United States. i. 19. who can take custody of the child.S. Additionally. including intentionally. 2017 88 .S. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. While this summary process can allow for the justice. The CDS has been impact of each of these consequences. and 15-year-old sister. only provides the parent and legal guardian “an opportunity” to CBP lacks guidance on how to weigh such considerations vis- arrange for child care of their U. the considerations. Nowhere in the CDS in the case of a minor child who is separated from a parent or process is there a clear articulation of weighing humanitarian legal guardian due to differences in immigration status. examples of types of consequences. lateral repatriation.20 As such.18 Border agents may use an evaluation process to administer a consequence based on the level of infraction for unauthorized CBP’s TEDS standards requires a separation be documented entry or other suspected criminal activity.22 Some families fear that border agents Method of Deterrence will purposely separate them and consequently have chosen not to reveal their family unit status. human rights the policy requires their transfer to social services. as The punishments employed as part of CDS vary greatly. Deterring future inhibits access to the asylum application process and results migration is prioritized over concern for protection. Common examples of CDS include Reinstatement of Removal. and her mother and younger sister were paroled. in place to document relationships and encourage reunification. it is a complex process that requires a separate screening process—called a credible fear or reasonable fear interview—before the parent or family member is able to apply for asylum before an immigration judge.”24 For the many families fleeing Central America arriving at the border and seeking asylum are subject to CDS to or Mexico. or the impact on children or family units. known as “reinstatement to support its effectiveness. Some agents ask the family member to try to locate an individual Rosa. because there are no mechanisms facility. These consequences are members. Alien Transfer Exit Program (ATEP). such as claims for legal relief and international child is a U. implemented systematically since 2005. As a result. was apprehended at the border with her mother. – Story provided to WRC by private attorney family members without documentation who remain in custody may not know for a long time what happens to their children. In some cases. This process often involves prolonged detention.e.23 As a matter of procedure and policy. citizen children. and family unity. often regardless of international designed. Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (“IIRIRA”). and the potential protection or other humanitarian concerns. reunification may be significantly delayed. Expedited Removal and Reinstatement of Removal: Streamline). See Appendix A for more information on how CDS is meant to deter future migration.19 groups and service providers have documented systemic failures by border agents to ensure the protection of family members Separating Families as a throughout the process.. Otherwise. citizen and the parent is undocumented. pursuit of a protection claim.

5 years old The separation of families has critical consequences not only on the emotional well-being but also on the ability of separated Gerardo. it often – Story provided by Northwest Immigrant Rights Projects prioritizes their detention. Joana was separated from Lucia. While in ICE detention. se request for visitation with her daughter and a pro se request or other countries as a last resort for protection. so have the risks of separation. traveled to the United States with his family members to make a clear and complete claim before the father. Joana was sent to ICE custody and Lucia Administration has also been discouraging families from was released to her mother’s partner. only to be told it is too late. 2017 99 . In some situations.S. Following The Administration prioritized all recent border crossers as apprehension. Joana submitted a pro to recognize that families may flee to Mexico. protection. child. Gerardo and his father were separated by CBP officials court. is a classic example of how together. the United States. The father was placed their protection claim because of their fear over losing their in ICE detention. he will ICE. separated children – Story provided by LIRS may not know the reason for their flight to the United States. After Joana obtained representation. While the government Parental Interests Directive. DHS may decide Ervin. Without the mother’s involvement. her attorney helped and detention against families and adults seeking asylum has Joana be reconsidered for release from detention under the increased. who was living in the making the dangerous journey through ad campaigns. 5 years old. Joana subsequently received legal representation from the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. As the use of expedited removal. This detention and separation is not only traumatic and impedes access to protection. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. so in cases of fathers with In these cases. while Gerardo was transferred to ORR. DHS policies. the Obama Administration implemented an aggressive deterrence policy designed to Twenty-two-year-old Joana fled to the United States with stop families from seeking protection in the United States.27 DHS’s resistance to the use of alternatives to detention placing a parent in reinstatement and separating them from their in these cases is resulting in mothers or fathers being sent to ICE children is a form of punishment condoned by the current CDS. a desperate parent will try to withdraw during apprehension at the border. mother existed for years. their claim may ultimately fail even if the child has a strong persecution claim and appears eligible for U. as carried out both by CBP and minor children in which ICE resists releasing the father. Gerardo. Fathers are rarely detained in family detention.25 her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter Lucia. community or through alternatives to detention (ATD). as families fleeing violence in Central America began making headlines in 2014. Joana was released from detention could release family members together. The from CBP custody.28 Young. failing United States. who were separated from their mother because she was to separate mothers and children rather than release them put into reinstatement of removal. even though enforcement priorities and vastly increased the use of expedited Joana was still breastfeeding her. it is also costly and unnecessary. because the longstanding Flores Settlement Agreement places constraints on DHS’s ability to detain children The story on page three of 5-year-old Daxany and 15-year-old for long periods without further complications. Some mothers are detained with their minor children in family detention settings. over family unity and the right to liberty that could be preserved with release or alternatives to detention. reinstatement of removal. Furthermore.26 for release—both were denied. are prioritizing enforcement and detention as a deterrent be separated from his minor children. but are still separated from other family members who are detained elsewhere.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES Although expedited and reinstatement of removal have Joana. either to relatives in the and reunited with her child after three months of separation. Instead of being released removal and detention of mothers arriving with children. adult detention while CBP removes their children from them and sends them to ORR custody.

Numerous advocates lose contact with their family members and often have no way of have documented how the practice of intentionally separating finding them. future migration. and crippling their ability to return to their communities.29 These charges deportation.” She was to interior areas of Mexico far from the U. or removed. it has been plagued with criticisms including of its use together in Tucson. or be repatriated to of removal. Moreover. while their spouses or children are detained. this means persons referred – Story provided by Kino Border Initiative for criminal prosecution are sent to a different federal agency to be tried and possibly jailed. who a year prior had spent ten days in jail after attempting to enter the United States. The day after their apprehension. a 32-year-old Mexican. Sonora. the Mexican told her to “stop asking me about your husband or I am Interior Repatriation Program (MIRP) seeks to remove Mexicans going to keep you another two days in detention. Luis was taken out of the cell and placed on a bus without Family unity has also been negatively impacted by the being told why his father was not also being transported with implementation of laws that focus on enforcement and often him. Arizona. the husband may be involuntarily shipped against accompanying fathers and spouses. even if a married couple is apprehended began. a spouse or other family member. and then intentionally repatriated to different prosecution through initiatives such as Operation Streamline places.S.S. Criminal Prosecution of Migration: at the Douglas station. CBP employs this program universally. punishing them for returning to deterring migration significantly increases vulnerability. Similarly. 18 years old.31 them to a greater likelihood of trafficking. was apprehended with his father near Douglas. was being held for additional time as a result. Since the systemic referral of migrants for criminal detention facility. the separation of a spouse may also be combined practice runs contrary to the very spirit of refugee protection. they declared their family relationship and were placed in the same holding cell 2.S. separately. may another part of Mexico away from his wife. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. Alien Transfer Exit Program (ATEP) and Mexican Interior Repatriation Program (MIRP): Patricia. She asked Border Patrol agents several times about point in an attempt by the United States to break up smuggling him and they did not give her any information.32 In the United States for reasons entirely out of their control. This some cases. released.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES Patricia. For example. Patricia thinks that perhaps her husband. 2017 10 10 . 18 years old – Story provided by The Kino Border Initiative Luis. In practice. When apprehended. putting Status of Refugees. be detained and processed at the same members. was crossing the U. port of entry. border to deter deported the day after she and her husband were detained. in with border officials’ transfer of identity documents. 1951 the United Nations signed the Convention Relating to the and money with the family member laterally repatriated. this may mean they is no mechanism by which these different agencies track family could enter together. lateral repatriation in which Mexicans subject to removal are They were placed in separate holding cells in a Border Patrol transported along the border to locations far from their entry station. separated from husband 3. Luis. while his father result in criminal charges against individuals who seek to enter was deported hours away to Mexicali. once separated.30 Like reinstatement hours away to another U. These transfers make it even more difficult for families to remain in contact because there For families who enter the United States. One official rings and make return more difficult. exposing who enter unlawfully. He was very scared to be alone in a city where he are often brought against asylum seekers even if they request had never been. AZ. spouses and families far along the border for the purpose of even against asylum seekers. asylum at the border. explicitly opposing penalties against refugees the other family member(s) in untenable situations. CBP’s Alien Transfer Exit Program (ATEP) is a program of border with her husband when they were both detained. Luis had no idea what without inspection (a misdemeanor) or who reenter unauthorized had happened to his father for more than two days after his following a previous order of removal (a felony). Luis was deported to Nogales. as well as nervous for his father’s well-being. cell phones.

or local child welfare agencies or be reunified with other family Additionally. Juan repeatedly told officials that he needed o 20 percent of family separations were due to be deported with his daughter because he was responsible to the detention of another family member for her care. Their survey of 358 participants found: ŸŸ Almost 65 percent of migrants who were traveling Juan. or released on bond or through another alternative to detention. Las by CBP officers after walking through the desert for five days Encuestas sobre Migratión en las Fronteras Norte y Sud and brought to the Tucson Border Patrol Station. 2017 11 11 . Nadine was de México [EMIF] in 2012). not made based on individualized determinations that prioritize protection concerns and family unity in custody.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES Findings from the Kino Border Initiative33 SECTION 2: FAMILY SEPARATION CONSEQUENCES IN From 2014 through 2015. Juan later expressed that the failure to respect the attributable to lateral repatriation programs importance of family unity put both his daughter and her such as ATEP or MIRP. There the deportation process.34 It directs ICE agents to consider a person’s status as a parent or primary caregiver as a mitigating ŸŸ 36 individuals who were detained while crossing the factor in favor of release over detention. Family members are not only physically separated at ŸŸ 69 percent of families surveyed reported an increased the border. father with immediate family were separated from those family members (an increase of almost 10 percent Juan and his 21-year-old daughter Nadine were apprehended from a survey by the Mexican Government. baby at risk. but their legal cases and experiences with the feeling of insecurity due to family separation during immigration enforcement system continue to be separate. She felt very alone o 30 percent of family separations were and unsafe. Unaccompanied children are ŸŸ 38 percent of family members reported financial sent to ORR custody. ICE has a Parental Interest Directive that instructs who arrived at their aid center from January to June of 2016 ICE to use discretion in making detention decisions involving showed that: parents and primary caregivers. custody and release decisions may be made on the availability of bed space. five months pregnant at the time. border were separated from a parent in the detention and deportation process. stating that (most likely connected to Operation she was no longer a minor. individuals at the time of the interview were unsure of the location of their family members. data from KBI’s basic questionnaire for migrants members. In other words. same time 360 miles away through Nogales. Sonora. these decisions are ŸŸ 128 individuals were separated from their spouse. and U.35 How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. This is despite ŸŸ 67 individuals were separated from children. vulnerable populations should not be detained except in rare circumstances. the agency’s stated priorities that primary caregivers and other ŸŸ 124 individuals were separated from their siblings. Adults charged ŸŸ Separated families were also more than twice as likely criminally or held as witnesses may be transferred to Department as other surveyed participants to have experienced of Justice (DOJ) custody. is no systematic approach to how families who are separated at the border will be detained or released. citizen children may go to state difficulties due to the separation.S. Other adults may be sent to ICE adult abuse in a short time following their removal. In addition. Juan told officials that his o 13 percent of family separations included daughter was pregnant and needed medical attention. The agents disregarded his request. or family detention facilities. Juan was deported to Mexicali Streamline or another border prosecution while his daughter Nadine was deported at approximately the program). was not given any. – Story provided by Kino Border Initiative ŸŸ In 36 percent of the cases. the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) LONG-TERM CUSTODY surveyed individuals deported to Nogales. But she the separation from a child.

a woman from Seven-year-old Marco and his father Raul fled their country Guatemala. Jose compounded by ICE officials hindering direct communication and grandmother.37 For a young Trying to Reunify child.S. evidence proves that family separation can negatively struggle for her.36 Both medical and mental health experts have concluded that forced separation of migrant children who have fled violence can be particularly harmful. with her father about considering Raul’s release under ICE’s Parental Interests in Arizona. – Story provided by LIRS impact both the emotional and physical well-being of separated adults and children. where the separation was reported to the DHS Office contact him. As noted in interviews and numerous care. can have a long-lasting impact. In cases involving children placed with ORR.39 Separated family members are often dependent on the willingness. and ORR is in the process of reunifying the entire family. but the emotional toll of on-going separation remains a studies. Following apprehension they were between family members. Marco was separated from at the facility after having been separated from her 6-year- his father upon apprehension while they were in Border Patrol old son at the border. Marco and his aunt were unable to contact Raul and were desperate for Soledad. Raul was released and were separated. Marco was sent to ORR custody in an LIRS foster care immigration officials about where he was taken or how to program. LIRS contacted ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Office Thirteen-year old Soledad entered the U. for reunification.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES Separation Causes Trauma Maria. Marco expressed sadness and anxiety. ICE promptly released both Jose and These challenges are exacerbated for those family members who Yvette. While at school. he is currently detained by ICE. Meanwhile Marco’s father Raul was placed far away in ICE detention in Tacoma. which is all too common for – Story provided by LIRS those in ICE detention facilities. and continuously asked his LIRS case manager where his father was. and their separate detention that her head hurt. who was sobbing because she had recently arrived because of death threats from gangs. She had received no information from custody. Soledad erupted into tears and shared that since the separation from her father. foster care program. sympathy. After apprehension by CBP. Yvette. After three and a half weeks. of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. even a brief separation from parents. The separation of family members. especially if endured following trauma or during a traumatic event (such as the secure Positive Example of Family Reunification holding cells operated by CBP). Marco – Story provided by Women’s Refugee Commission was reunified with an aunt in New York. her “heart hurt” and she began vomiting. and extraordinary efforts of individual ICE or ORR officials to facilitate connections for communication. 2017 12 12 . mother Marco. she wanted to die. in various ICE and ORR facilities. WA. – Story provided by LIRS transferred to ORR and placed in an LIRS program. 7 years old During a visit to a detention center. ICE Enforcement and Removal Operation’s Outreach and the Juvenile Coordinators in the Juvenile and Family Residential Management Unit have been How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. she and her father Directive. the trauma of separation is further Four-year-old Pablo fled Honduras with his uncle. Separation also presents enormous separated and Pablo was sent to ORR and placed in an LIRS challenges to reunification and obstacles to accessing legal relief. or legal case consolidation. Soledad was reunified with his son. expressing that she couldn’t breathe. She became emotionally inconsolable. After about a month. can cause emotional trauma to Her service providers connected her to needed mental health both children and adults. and was desperately concerned for his safety. During the time of the 3-month separation. 13 years old information about him. may not have access to counsel. Women’s Refugee Commission staff was approached by Maria.38 For many family members.

Family Separation She did not feel that she could continue on to her destination until she had clear information about the rest of her family. Based on reports we received from service providers. Despite having the same claim for asylum. – Story provided by LIRS family’s case for legal relief. primary caregiver—her aunt— at the U. who had been separated and sent to ORR care. informs ICE field officials of family separation.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES able to assist in some cases. with two of her children. Estrella’s even in cases in which an individual in ICE custody repeatedly aunt had hoped to reunite with her brother. Many of those separated may have had a linked asylum claim that individuals then must try to pursue separately. Separating cases can result in widely varying legal or family unity concerns. inefficiencies.” of separated children.S. Sometimes one or more family members are released and placed into immigration court proceedings. her aunt was released and reunified with Estrella and and their three children.S. 6 years old in place across all federal agencies. Corea was released from family detention in San Antonio. LIRS worked to reunite the family and provide Estrella with appropriate care. border. However. Often. in which release recommendations from ORR so that ORR may consider one family member could be linked to another family member’s adult family members for the care and custody (sponsorship) of asylum case. was transferred to a foster care program operated by ORR. but in many cases individual cases are jeopardized because critical information is lost with the separation. who has been immobile for most of her life as a result of severe medical and cognitive needs. the physical separation and inability to communicate can affect the information and supporting documentation presented and fundamental credibility issues. ICE also has no process for taking outcomes. Whether the cases are merged or not. who had been detained separately by ICE. She remained at a local shelter while she attempted to obtain information regarding her husband. it is often the mothers. Although ORR may for U. there are no formal policies Estrella. Following apprehension. her Corea. too dangerous. It is up to voluntary efforts by service providers or officials to help facilitate release. This separation of cases creates numerous complications. or at minimum for families to maintain contact despite physical Estrella was six years old when she was separated from her separation. fathers. TX. they now become two separate cases. ICE’s response in the United States when life in Central America became to facilitate contact and reunification are inconsistent at best. mother aunt was held in a detention facility. Estrella’s father. Estrella. – Story provided by LIRS was separated. and did not know who to call at ICE to communicate about there are also serious consequences for an individual’s and her case. and consolidate the cases. Separating cases risks creating disparate results in which one family member wins their claim while another loses. It is possible children following release from ORR’s care. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. a refusal to release is linked to stated agency enforcement while the other must first undergo a preliminary screening priorities that are often interpreted locally to require detention of to determine whether she can even be allowed to make her all border crossers. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or DOJ’s have another sponsor identified in the community to care for a Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to affirmatively child. regardless of international protection claims asylum case. 2017 13 13 . information about a relative’s aunts or uncles in ICE detention who are the primary caregivers separate removal proceeding is not included in their “A File. However. Sometimes these disparate decisions are made based on the same presented facts. As mentioned above. some may not share that they arrived with other family members because they do not know what has happened to them and fear that alerting authorities may cause them to be apprehended or deported. siblings. In addition to the trauma generated by family separation. even if a person explains that they were separated. reunification. grandparents. As a Corea traveled to the United States with her husband Pedro result. the family Estrella’s father. and can ultimately interfere with critical access to legal protection. and Due Process Consequences from another child.

and in three different immigration courts. she finally received an initial reasonable fear to pursue their claims. and their young son. after enormous trauma as well as immense cost and inefficiency to all involved. in the United States. Or a child may not be aware of all the and extorted in response. with three different lawyers. threatened. – Story provided by Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School and the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project at the Urban Justice Center. As a result of the separation at the border and attempts to send their son to ORR. despite all having the same asylum screening. In all of these United States and were apprehended by CBP. one or more family members may be a family detention facility. a long-time resident with temporary legal protection evidence relating to an asylum claim for the whole family. which the murder of her activist mother.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES Separated family members. After she and her son passed their screening interview. Manuel. ICE continued to fight the son’s release. but even once located. cases. subsequent court case. separation and especially separation without the ability to remain in contact and communicate and coordinate their Aurelia was separated from Manuel and told that he would asylum claim may result in permanent separation and in some be deported that night. Aurelia and her son were sent to situations. U. ICE then required Aurelia to sign a paper saying that ICE could not separate Aurelia from her son in order to stop the son’s placement in a shelter. or may husband. Manuel was ultimately detained for eight months. where despite intense pressure to deported while the remaining family member(s) stay behind accept deportation. one separated family member may have carried the identification documents and Aurelia. particularly children. All three have since been granted relief. Aurelia requested that her son be released to his aunt but ICE instead attempted to place her son into a shelter for unaccompanied children. 2017 14 14 . She began to speak out can impact their credible and reasonable fear finding and against police corruption and was intimidated. Aurelia and her son were finally released four months after entering family detention. and their son were forced to pursue three different immigration claims. returned to Honduras to help investigate leaving other family members without documentation. communication was extremely difficult. they all arrived in the not be able to convey their need for protection.” How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. mother their intertwined case.S. Aurelia. She left Honduras again with her circumstances explaining the danger they were in. Manuel. Aurelia was also eventually told how to locate Manuel. may not know all the details or have all the documentation of Aurelia. CBP refused to answer any questions family members being removed to dangerous or life threatening about his case or detention. In some cases. For example. resident.

LIRS case managers reported the Women’s Refugee Commission and others have already case to CRCL and reached out to the ICE Field Office Juvenile extensively documented the impact of immigration enforcement Coordinators in ICE/JFMRU. Parents or spouses may be with CBP agents. parents were unable to maintain parental rights over with this case—detention. Meanwhile. Ana was detained and separated from her husband. an indigenous language speaker. 5 years old SECTION 3: FAMILY SEPARATION UPON DEPORTATION Five-year-old Mariella traveled to the United States with Family separation has profound long-term consequences for her father Daniel from Guatemala. CBP officials apprehended the – Story provided to WRC by private attorney family unit. Daniel changed his mind about moving forward result. 2017 15 15 . While child forfeit their legal claim or suffering separation. Mariella was sent to ORR and placed in an LIRS impossible decision between staying together and having their foster care program. Daniel requested and deportation on parents and caregivers and their children.41 In another facility. creating due process obstacles for the children’s immigration claims. 10 years old.40 a credible fear interview because of death threats he received For years. about local child welfare proceedings involving the child that – Story provided by LIRS immigration apprehension forced them to leave behind. but they could not verify the mother’s relationship to Yessica and Wilder. As a result of the repatriated together with their child. 9 years old. family separation from his daughter. or to coordinate and reunite with children in cases of removal. ICE issued a Parental Interests Directive aimed at preventing and mitigating the impact of Ana. When the LIRS case manager and Daniel were in the detention of parents often far from their children. As a able to connect. but what has happened to the children’s mother remains unknown to LIRS as LIRS was not asked to provide case management services to the children post-release. traveled to the reasons but was released with bond from another facility. and the mother was placed in an ICE detention facility. This removed while their child or spouse is still making a protection resulted in Mariella. ICE officials did not permit the ORR service provider. their children as they were unable to participate in or even know and other factors made him want to accept voluntary departure. especially in light of increasing separation occurring at the border. Ana. interior immigration enforcement practices resulted in Guatemala. Mariella could not identify any other family members to whom she could be reunified. DHS afforded parents and caregivers no means to participate in custody proceedings.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES Mariella. Even when a parent may have the opportunity to be being left alone in a cell with other children. and her father sent to ICE detention. – Story provided by LIRS How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. the issues continue to persist. and Wilder. who seeks protection for similar Yessica. The children were separated from their mother. in LIRS foster care. indigenous language speaker immigration enforcement on families. was detained for months as she continued to have her Yessica and Wilder. Often. Mariella was separated from her father. claim. Ultimately. Initially. Following their encounter those facing removal or repatriation. to pass information to the mother about her children’s legal case. LIRS. they are forced to make the separation. 10 and 9 years old immigration hearings rescheduled due to the government’s inability to provide an interpreter. who only speaks a Mayan language. The children were eventually reunified with an aunt. The initial separation A History of Separation During Removal by CBP means that Mariella will remain in ORR custody unless her father is released. United States with their mother. Although some practices have improved.

them during apprehension and detention. or are escorted by in the untenable situation of having their child in Mexico in a an immigration official. the child will be sent alone to the processing center before that parent can leave with their child. many are forced to choose voluntary return or accept confusion about the process during their repatriation. Because many children are unable to present their legal has reported instances in which children were separated from claim for immigration relief due to separation from a family their family member as they entered the United States. have been separated. These unnecessary processes are not only a waste of resources for both the sending and the home country.S. there are additional procedures a child and their family must go through upon repatriation. There have also been cases in between the ages of 8 -12 years old who have had to make the which family members were compelled to travel to the child impossible decision about whether or not to request to leave and family repatriation center multiple times to inquire about voluntarily or stay and try to find their parent from whom they the location of the child and his/her arrival schedule. family members must arrange and pay for travel to arrive at the facility and go through what could be a lengthy reunification process that could be avoided had the family members been returned together. KIND has assisted children returning to After reception by DIF. or risking their lives returning to Mexico does this cause unnecessary and harmful stress to the child. but were separated from family members. When an unaccompanied child is processed through a special reception center. children or an order of removal. rather than a family member. there are many instances in which the child’s removal is not coordinated Mexican children returned alone are received by Mexico’s with a parent’s or other family members’ return to the home child welfare agency. Finally. For separated Mexican children at the U. This might not happen until the following day which means prolonged separation and re-traumatization. The Repatriation of Mexican Children For the children who choose voluntary departure. DIF caseworkers attempt to locate and contact children’s including a parent or primary caretaker. country. Desarrollo Integral de La Familia (DIF). For example. there is no guarantee that they will be reunified with the parents when they arrive in their home country. This means a Mexican child could remain in the coordinate their travel back to the home country together. but it poses logistical difficulties upon return. 2017 16 16 .42 Due to member. Not only dangerous location. in Guatemala. Because the children were unable to remain in placing the parent in one of the Consequence Delivery System’s contact with the adult with whom they traveled. and are now being border. but they are traumatic and draining for the children and their families. this places them often a representative from their consulate. children are taken to a shelter where Guatemala through GCRRP who entered with a family member. Through its Guatemalan Child Return and their family members received no information from authorities Reintegration Project (GCRRP). Locating Children Who Have Been Returned Because a child returned home separately from their caretaker will be processed as unaccompanied. For example.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES An Impossible Choice: Similar instances have occurred for children repatriated to Repatriation or Separation Honduras. a child could be separated solely for the purpose of removed alone. Even when a parent arrives to reunify with their child at the airport. means young children are forced to make the trip with a stranger. For parents fleeing because of persecution. which supports a local organization’s reintegration program. so they can reunify with their child. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. an unaccompanied child must be processed at a designated reception center. This custody of DIF while waiting to reunify with their family member. KIND has seen several children about each other’s whereabouts. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). they could not punishments.

separation to ensure they are returned safely without causing creating new security and economic difficulties. removal and repatriation decisions. our organizations and reunification. the dignity of an individual and their family unit. documentation. KIND. 2017 17 17 . DHS should require the hiring of child welfare any immigration policy that it sets. family unity. 7. release Family unity is a fundamental human right enshrined in or removal of their family members. including ICE. The federal government should prioritize liberty and family unity in 4. their best interests should always be of primary consideration and family relationships should How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. processing. DHS should avoid placing family members. During removal and international law. whether a mother with a minor child or others arriving together. Instead of pursuing policies of deterrence and 5. mitigate. reporting. Information should be accessible to ORR and to family members For a detailed set of recommendations see LIRS. DHS should coordinate among its components and with detention. CBP. analyzed. 1. provide oversight and accountability. DHS and the Department of Justice’s Executive Office placement decisions for families. file complaints about family lirs. To that end. in writing.pdf 3. and 6. WRC. Such information should also be collected. DHS should consider the best interests of the child in all processing. children should be protected from family great harm. disrupting emotional and psychological well-being. access to justice. DHS should consider ORRís best interest recommendation as well as recommendations by Family unity is important not only to maintain the integrity the DHS Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers of the family unit. and seek family reunification. DHS agencies should Family separation should be recorded and justified also work with DHS CRCL to improve documentation. This should also permit families to and other coalition partners’ backgrounder. recommend: DHS and its components. and stripping undue trauma. and USCIS. custody. and to prevent. This should include mechanisms to help detained family members locate and connect with separated loved ones. and report findings to Congress and the public. on liberty. DHS agents should receive training and guidance on identification. trends. and their attorneys. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should work with HHS and ORR to ensure an inter-agency should consider family unity as a primary factor process to help separated family members be released and/or in all charging and detention decisions. and policies on family separation.43 The denial of the right to family unity causes repatriation. into expedited or reinstatement of removal. the right to liberty. Government agencies with enforcement and custody of children and families and oversee instances of family responsibilities should have mechanisms to identify family separation. and reported regularly to separation. DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) 2. reunited. members. and protection when it is disrupted. and track family separation in all cases. backgrounder-3-22-16. A continuum of for Immigration Review (EOIR) should ensure separated alternatives to detention should be utilized instead of children who have been designated as unaccompanied traditional institutional detention to avoid separating children retain their designation for the duration of their families and unnecessary detention causing trauma removal proceedings. including enforcement professionals at the border to supervise the protection actions. DHS and its component agencies should document should investigate cases of family separation to identify and trace all family relationships. available at: http:// trace other family members. and due process complications. For decisions impacting a child.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS be vetted whenever possible. This should include decisions impacting the custody. but also because of the detrimental impact in release decisions regarding detained family members. and reunification must HHS to identify family separation and facilitate release become presumptive principles.

references a core child Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement welfare concept and principle in federal and state child welfare laws/113178. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials are required by law to determine whether a child in their custody is ‘unaccompanied. See TEDS 4.2004-06-18.. (ORR) federal custody in child welfare licensed care pending family 4 For more information on the pervasiveness of family separation due reunification during their immigration removal proceedings. which does not require 16 Prison Rape Elimination Act. DHS Standards to Prevent. 5 Increased reports of family separation have been documented by several 10 HSA at 279(g). 2015). (WRC). available at: http://www. “Memo: Concerns Over the Separation of returned children even with indications of trafficking). accompanied by his/her/their parent(s) or legal guardian(s). 6 C. §462(g). Cal. Lynch.1997) (hereafter.4. officers/agents must follow their operational office’s policies collection and documentation of family separation incidents quantitative and procedures and appropriate legal requirements.” However. whom the agency Flores v.g. U. detention. 122 Stat. available at: . If separation along with many due process safeguards).C. 107–296. Section 235(a)(2) of the William 12 See HSA. “Generally.9 and 5. Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 further ensures border-apprehensions children not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian are not released to adults without legal authority. see generally supra n. Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 13 Women’s Refugee Commission. “In international legal obligations). family units with juveniles should not be reports have been filed with the Department of Homeland Security Office https://www. Escort.dhs. will evaluate for safety purposes to protect juveniles from sexual abuse and modified by. No. available at: https://www. National Immigrant Justice the screening process of Mexican Children see. Flores v. TEDS 4. available at: http://lirs. publications/hr_5005_enr. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Required Care in DHS Custody 18-37 (July 2015)(Finding that DHS failed to use Service (LIRS). and excludes any other configuration of family members USC § 279(g).cbp. and Women’s appropriate screening procedures for trafficking and asylum protections and often Refugee Commission. Case No. Unaccompanied Alien Children: Actions Needed to Ensure Children Receive of Canada and the United States. WRC. 14 See e.6 How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. TEDS further requires.”).womensrefugeecommission. separation of minor children and their parents.3 outline the documentation requirements generally.womensrefugeecommission.6 outline the requirements of documentation of (Sept 30.R.3 and 5.pdf Title IV-B Subparts 1 and 2 and Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. can be immediately repatriated. available at: at 8 U.S. September 15. and Security on the US-Mexico Border (2015). 2015). (Emphasis added).cmsny. (This law set (TEDS requires family units to remain together “to the greatest extent out minimum safeguards for the preservation of parental rights and family unity operationally feasible” absent concerns for security or safety. 2 All names in the report have been changed to protect the identities of The child’s other family members are processed separately by Immigration family members.” Flores v. L. For more on 2016). When it is necessary to separate juveniles from the parent(s) and/or of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. at 4.S. Memo: Concerns Over Separation 8 TEDS 4. available at: http://web. Our Values on the Line: Migrant Abuse and Family Separation at Monitor The Protection Screening of Mexican Unaccompanied Children Along the that may arrive or be apprehended together. 5044 (2008)(codified Parental Rights and Immigration Detention (December 2010). must occur.5 and 5.state. Government Accountability Family-Separation-FINAL-backgrounder-3-22-16. children and found their protection screening failed to meet their statutory and Jeremy Slack.F. 3.htm. CV-85-4544 DMG (AGRx)(C.L. Findings and Recommendations Relating to the 2012-2013 Missions to Initiative. Pub. No.pdf. Immigration Custody” (September Jan 17. Detect. this definition is linked only to TEDS. Because of the problems with data legal guardian(s). Daniel E. Framework for Considering the Best and 5. 2017 18 18 .” Journal on Migration and June_2014. Jesuit Conference Office. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States and Kino Border (UNHCR).pdf. supra n. please see the backgrounder: children from contiguous countries undergo a separate screening process and “Separation of Immigrant Families in U. 17 See TEDS at 5. supra n. Amending gov/sites/default/files/documents/cbp-teds-policy-20151005_1.S. Unaccompanied children are placed in the 3 The purposes of this report. 105-89. May 2016). and Emily Peiffer. Homeland violence. Reno. 2015). available at: http://www. 2015. 2016). Unaccompanied to immigration enforcement policies. such 6 These principles are underscored in the Flores Settlement Agreement. L. not a DHS-wide Security Act of 2002. 110-457.5 and 5. §115 et al. and Search (TEDS) at 1.cbp.S. On file without parents or legal guardians who are available to care for the child. separation must be documented in appropriate electronic system(s) of record. “such separation must be well 15 Subcommittee on Best Interests.pdf.6.161 documenting all family members traveling together.3.3 Unaccompanied and Separated Children.8124043749. gov/products/GAO-15-521. Many of these 11 TEDS at 4. Pub. available at: http://jmhs. Detained or Deported: What About My Children? (May 2014). available at: uploads/2016/05/107014_Book.’ The Homeland Security Act of 2002 (HSA) defines an “unaccompanied alien child” as a child 1 WRC analysis of data from US Customs and Border Protection. Interests of Unaccompanied Children (Young Center for Immigrant Children’s 7 TEDS does not require this documentation.6. which could expose them to trafficking of detainees that includes one or more non-United States citizen juvenile(s) centerforhumanrights/children/Document.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES ENDNOTES 9 U. Immigration Custody” (March instead of automatic transfer to ORR.3 and 5. a family unit is defined as “A group “Flores”). in TEDS 8.6 and National Standards on Transport. Cal.php/ America and Mexico and the Need for International Protection 56 (2014). supra n. and Respond to torn-apart-by-immigration-enforcement-parental-rights-and-immigration- Sexual Abuse and Assault in Confinement Facilities (“PREA”). P. available at: Mexico Border (UNHCR monitored the screening by border officials of Mexican Publications/File/REPORT_2015_Our_Values_on_the_Line.S. codified in 6 definition of families. available at: https://www. available at: https://www. Children on the Run: Unaccompanied Children Leaving Central Human Security 3:2.pdf. family reunification. Immigration Enforcement Programs sites/immigrantjustice. Lynch.immigrantjustice. Subpart B (2014).org/rights/gbv/ org/sites/default/files/content/2014-04675.D. CV 85-4544-RJK(Px)(C. Immigrant Families in U.pdf. available at: http://gao. Detention. The Adoptions and Safe Families Act of 1997.6 (2015). Scott Whiteford. Torn Apart by Immigration Enforcement: 2008 (“TVPRA”). Customs and Border resources/1022-detained-or-deported-parental-toolkit-english-interactive.prearesourcecenter.unhcr. 1232(a)(2)). and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Protection.S. See also https://www. Martinez. family units must be separated due to different immigration dispositions. In circumstances where data is not available and the full scope of the problem is unknown. and Interagency Working Group on documented in the appropriate electronic system(s) of Harm’s Way: Family Separation.pdf. Rights.(PREA) § 115. available at: jmhs/article/view/46 http://www. 2015 WL 9915880 (9th Cir.6 advocates and service providers.- the Border. p.centerforhumanrights. title IV. The with authors.

April 19. available at: https:// 33 Findings provided by NIJC et al. 1951).C.pdf. they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good et al. 24 35 LIRS staff conversation with Artesia ICE official.” Parental Interests in the Course of Civil Immigration Enforcement Activities North Carolina Law Review 88 (2010) 1799-1824. (U.S. 36 Policies for the Apprehension. 2014).. available at: https://www.files. “The Contracting States shall not impose penalties. 2014 (notes on file). L. OIG Report “Streamline. the non-U.pdf. “The Effects of U.hrw.”). available at: http://www. 2017 19 19 . Paul Weis” (1990).S. 13% of separations involved children. 110 Stat. November 2013). Barriers www. University of Arizona. social services may need to be contacted to take supra n. 22 See e. 3009 (Sept.S.S.S. May 1980. October 2014).org/sites/default/files/reports/ many important provisions of the Refugee Convention). available at: http://immigrantjustice.g.wcGD6bVYJ Immigrants.g.”)(While the United States is not a process for several complainants). How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. See also.hrw.4.cbp. available at: https:// answer by ICE official at Karnes tour on September 16. presents himself as soon as possible www. Government Accountability 21 Supra n. 1996).edu/sites/las. available at:” (BuzzFeed News July 10.” The Refugee Act of The Harmful Impact of US Border Prosecutions (Human Rights Watch. 2013). citizen child must be separated. Our Values on the Line at pages 14-17 (Finding that well over one Immigration_Report2013web. (“A refugee whose Custody.nomoredeaths. 2014.C. Our Values.compressed. §1325 (penalties for entering without authorization) and §1326 (felony penalties for reentering without inspection and having a prior removal order).arizona.pdf available at: https://www. November 20. For more information see Our Values on the Line. 25 Carla Argueta. National Immigrant Justice OIG-15-95). supra n. confirmed in meeting between WRC staff and ICE officials. In those July 22. P. available at: for care of their children before contacting a social service agency. Customs and Border the Shadow of the Wall: Family Separation. 189 UNTS to ensure the identification of family relationships of migrants when in custody 137. Jacqueline Hagan. Detention and Removal of Undocumented government-is-runnning-in-central-am? 1980)(Congress passed legislation to implement 2013). No. March documents/bp_strategic_plan.S.2 at 12-19 (In their survey. supra n. us0513_ForUpload_2. is Running Commission on International Religious Freedom 2016). A Culture of Cruelty: Abuse and Impunity in Short-Term memo_prosecutorial_discretion. 30 Streamline: Measuring Its Effect on Illegal Border Crossing (DHS Office of the Inspector General May 15. See also supra n. and the Politics of Refugee Exclusion (Harvard Immigration and Refugee Law supra n. to the authorities of the country of asylum and is recognized as a bona fide screening-and-returns-central-americans-risk.30. Bordering on Failure: Canada-U. Torn Apart: How U. who Serious Harm (Human Rights harvardimmigrationclinic. coming directly Civil Liberties Complaint: Inadequate U.dhs. citizen child will be classified as a UAC and will be Patrol Custody (No More Deaths. www.S. codified at 8 U. confirmed in conversation of ICE official with WRC staff at Artesia July 22. 26 See e. available at: supra n. 2016). 4. Pub. Unaccompanied Alien en-us/protection/travaux/4ca34be29/refugee-convention-1951-travaux- Children: Actions Needed to Ensure Children Receive Required Care in DHS preparatoires-analysed-commentary-dr-paul. November 13. 30. August 23.(Details CBP’s inadequate asylum screening and the violations of due cause for their illegal entry or presence. Turning Migrants into Criminals: refugee. Also.13.pdf. 30. failure-harvard-immigration-and-refugee-law-clinical-program1. 2014. 24.html.uscirf. provided the asylum process. available at: https:// after crossing the frontier Security (The Center for Latin American Studies. available at: https://www. sites/ signatory to the instances where a parent or legal guardian and a non-U. available at: https://www. 27 See Flores Settlement Agreement. in three family separations could be remedied with more explicit CBP policies 31 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (July 28. supra n.pdf at: https://www.unhcr. Immigration Policy Fragments New Mexico custody of the child. In the Shadow. Harvard Law School. supra n. Border be separated. and Protection).gov/doclib/detention-reform/pdf/parental_interest_ directive_signed. on refugees who. available at: http://las.S. Customs and Border Protection from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of (CBP) screening practices block individuals fleeing persecution from access to article 1. and in Entry (Congressional Research Service. DHS Civil Rights and on account of their illegal entry or presence. You Don’t Have and visa) into the country of refuge. available at: https://www. “Here Are The New Ads the U. 4.arizona.kinoborderinitiative. Immigration Enforcement. 104-208. See 2011).aclu-nm.L.4 and Kino’s website: https://www.buzzfeed.S.) should take into account the location of their children. The Parental Interests Directive (PID) reinforces that 23 Our Values on the Line. 2015. Facilitating Policies on Immigrant Families and Communities: Cross Border Perspectives. which included analysis of CBP’s own comply with the requirements for legal entry (possession of national passport documentation).96-212 (March 17. available nclawreview. 2013). available at: http://www. and Nestor Rodriguez. 18-37 (July 2015)(Documents CBP’s failures in protection screening departure from his country of origin is usually a flight.S.” org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/CultureOfCruelty-full.pdf.S. “In those instances where a parent or legal guardian and U. enter or are present in their territory without authorization. 4 and Torn Apart. citizen child must web05. A Culture of Cruelty.. Border Policy 32 Our Values. available at: http:// in Central America to Stop Border Crossing. BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES 18 Torn Apart.fas. Deportation 34 Directive by (then) Acting ICE Director John Sandweg. Evan McMorris-Santoro.. Brianna Castro. supra n. codified at 8 U.pdf to Protection: The Treatment of Asylum Seekers in Expedited Removal (U.ei4205kXe#.6.S.unhcr. 29 IIRIRA. oig. Memo by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. §1231. is rarely in a position to for credible fear and trafficking. 6. Our Values on the escaping from persecution.14%20FINAL%20 Commentary by Dr. IIRIRA §§305. 19 See TEDS 5.S. 309(d)(2). Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In 20 Border Patrol Strategic Plan 2012-2016 (U. Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of 2014. they found 65% immigration officials can use prosecutorial discretion not to detain primary of interviewed migrants stated they were separated by an immediate family caregivers as well as directs that the location of detained primary caregivers member.13. CBP should ensure parents have the opportunity to arrange Families (American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico April 2013). available at: http://forms. and to ensure that they are not deported to different places at different times).pdf. (Article 31 states.pdf. It would be in keeping with the notion of Rights Here: US Border Screening and Returns of Central Americans to Risk of asylum to exempt from penalties a refugee. processed “The Refugee Convention 1951: The Travaux Preparatoires Analysed with CRCL%20Complaint%20Cover%20Letter%20-%2011. 2014.pdf. supra n. the United States has acceded to the Protocol). 28 This is based off of reports from service PUBLIC. Clinical Program.

see also Urban Institute and Migration Policy Institute. available at: (2012). BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES 37 American Psychological Association and Presidential Task Force on Immigration. T. aspx (“Ongoing separation from loved ones who continue to be in danger also predicts psychological symptoms (Nickerson. depression. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. http://www. including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).Breanne L. Detained or Deported? What About My Children (2014). .womensrefugeecommission. 41 WRC reports supra n. 9.pdf 38 Janet Cleveland. fileadmin/csss_dlm/Publications/Publications_CRF/brief_c31_final. As a result. see: WRC. 2010c). 1990).. and dissociation (Keyes. (Columbia: University of South Carolina. 2000)”).org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Right-to-Counsel- Blazing-a-Trail-2016-03. “Treatment of Unaccompanied and Separated Children Outside their Country of Origin” (CRC 2005). the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act.pdf. supra n. Migration Policy and Advocacy. Assistant Director. The Effect of Family Separation and Reunification on the Educational Success of Immigrant Children in the United States (Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor. 2017 20 20 . available at: https://www. ELCA. 13. art. 1976).H. PhD. 23. Crossroads: The Psychology of Immigration in the New research/reports/shattered-families 42 For more information. art. 40 Blazing A Trail: The Fight for Right to Counsel in Detention and Beyond (National Immigration Law Center March 2016). Grace. Torn of-Immigration-Enforcement-Activities-for-the-Well-Being-of-Children-in- Immigrant-Families-A-Review-of-the-Literature.qc. Shattered Families: The Perlious Intersection of Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System (November 2011).apa. Brief submitted to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration concerning Bill C-31. Gindling and Sara Z. available at: http://ftp. et rights/resources/1022-detained-or-deported-parental-toolkit-english-interactive. Roth and Roth. (March 23..L. & Brooks. and WRC. Steel. Grace.pdf Race Forward. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. Bryant.csssdelamontagne. 39 Poggio. available at: https://www. Benjamin J. 44 UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. web edition available at: https://www.”). Implication of Immigration Enforcement Activities for the Well-Being of Children in Immigrant Families (September 2015).pdf (“Likewise. 2010). 43 Information provided by Alaide Vilchis Ibarra. http://lirs. B. General Comment 6 to the Convention. 13. (September uploads/2015/05/USC_PostReleaseFRProgramEvaluation_fullreport. April 2010). (2012). B. The Harmful Effects of Detention and Family Separation on Asylum Seekers’ Mental Health in the Context of Bill C-31 (April 2012).pdf. available at: http://www. available at: https://www. for many children detainment was traumatic as they were separated from siblings or other related children and were subject to long periods of waiting without knowing what might happen. (2015). urban. refugee adults and children are at particularly high risk for mental health problems (APA. available at: 2015). Post-Release: Linking Unaccompanied Immigrant Children to Family and Community.psychosis.

Correspondence or notes pertaining to each case example are on file with the authors. although names and some details may have been changed to ensure confidentiality and protect privacy. ICE.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES – APPENDIX A METHODOLOGY This report examines the ways in which immigrant families arriving in the United States are separated through immigration enforcement. Our findings and recommendations of policies and practices in this report have been informed in part from our discussions and interviews with How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. It explores the consequences of that separation on individual members as it relates to subsequent custody. Collectively. The stories in this report are all real stories. through unaffiliated legal service providers around the country. supportkind. mitigate the consequences of family separation. access to protection and the immigration process. and ORR. For more information on each organization’s research and privacy protocols. DHS Policy. and deportation. please see our websites. CBP. We continue to work to document separation when it occurs. DHS CRCL. We each encountered these issues in different ways—including through direct legal and social services provided to unaccompanied children. DHS OIG. Our three organizations became aware of this growing concern in early 2015. and facilitate reunification of separated family members. and through research with detained women in immigration detention facilities. all of our organizations received consent to include these womensrefugeecommission. 2017 21 21 . Although we encountered these stories in different ways. we have worked in tandem with numerous other non-governmental organizations to identify the causes of family separation and to develop policies and practices that would prevent separation from occurring in the first place.

trafficking.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES – APPENDIX B THE CONSEQUENCE DELIVERY SYSTEM (CDS) CBP’s evaluation process for placing a person or family into a CDS can vary greatly by each geographical sector’s policies. and FINS (federal fingerprint database) Step 2 Review History: Prior immigration history. previous immigration consequences. etc) Step 4 Classify & Verify Entrant: • 1st apprehension • Family unit (a parent and child as defined and designated by CBP) • 2nd or 3rd apprehension • Persistent alien • Suspected or target smuggler • DHS “criminal alien” classification Step 5 Review Consequence • Previous actions Delivery: • Expected outcomes • Possible path forward • Best available CDS Step 6 Execute: • Record disposition • Place alert • Info-sharing with strategic partners How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. immigration entry violation. in which an initial classification is followed by a consequence. The process often mirrors the chart below. 2017 22 22 . link to DHS target/priority or classification (smuggling. federal databases. and criminal history Step 3 Determine Nexus: Criminal organization. including families. Often border officials are not provided clear guidance on when it is appropriate to use a consequence and whether such consequences should be used against vulnerable populations. nor is there documentation justifying a use of a particular CDS. There is no assessment of how a particular CDS consequence could impact the personal security of a migrant. Figure 1: Example of an Evaluation Process for CDS CBP’s Evaluation Process for the Consequence Delivery System Step 1 Record Checks: E3 system (Border Patrol database).

S. Program (MIRP) The MIRP program removes Mexican nationals to the interior of Mexico on a voluntary basis. The stated objective of the program is to save lives and disrupt the human smuggling cycle. Border Patrol thinks Jose is a human on Safety and Mexican citizens found smuggling smuggler so separates Jose and sends him to Mexico to be Security (OASISS) aliens in the U.S. by the Government of Mexico. and Mexico that allows for and other migrants.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES – APPENDIX B Figure 2. because of the dangers in Streamline prosecute individuals who El Salvador but was deported with a final order of removal.S. taken into U.” She returns again with her 2-year-old daughter Rosa at a Consequences are imposed through port of entry. How CDS Can Cause Family Separation DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY’S “CONSEQUENCES”: IMMIGRATION PUNISHMENTS & FAMILY IMPACT CDS DHS OBJECTIVE HYPOTHETICAL STORY EXAMPLE Operation Against A bilateral agreement between the Nine-year-old Miguel traveled to the U. to be prosecuted prosecuted. meanwhile Repatriation Maria is returned alone to Nogales without her papers. Operation A multi-agency effort to criminally Ana had previously fled to the U.S. Alien Transfer Repatriates migrants into regions far Maria and Carlos traveled to Nogales together. with his father Jose Smugglers Initiative U. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. “illegally enter the United States. of entry in El Paso with the family’s papers. Ana is to reduce illicit cross-border activity. Office of Field Operations decides to refer an array of criminal sanctions aiming Ana for prosecution and sends her daughter to ORR. Individuals can also be criminally prosecuted for entry/re-entry outside of Streamline. where they Exit Program from their entry location to disrupt were apprehended by Border Patrol.S. Marshal’s custody. 2017 23 23 . Border Patrol decides (ATEP) or the future coordination with smugglers to punish Maria and Carlos by returning Carlos at the port Mexican Interior after their arrest and removal.

Lucia and Juan are sent to a family detention facility Removal migrant arrested within 100 and placed in expedited removal proceedings pending miles of the border within 14 a credible fear interview. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. is sent to a women’s detention facility and is not get a hearing before an placed in reinstatement of removal. at the Alicia’s father. Yennifer is issued a Notice to custody pending a hearing before Appear and has an ankle bracelet placed on her. Voluntary Return Allows migrants to depart Eleven-year-old Alicia was raped by gangs in El Salvador. leaving behind Alicia so she can seek legal relief. processing time for Border Patrol. The prior order of removal is reinstated and not subject to review. ICE decides not to detain Yennifer is detained in DHS’s long-term because she is pregnant. decides they will flee to the U. but instead fear of return to the border agent. meaning that a migrant will not get to see a judge to contest or appeal a decision.S. Alex. Warrant of Arrest / Used when Border Patrol agents Pregnant Yennifer arrives at the border with her son Walter Notice to Appear make an arrest and a migrant and her husband Daniel. proceedings.S. The return carries no legal consequence for future migration.S. he may be considered for criminal prosecution. instead to ICE detention where he decides to accept voluntary of placing them in removal departure.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES – APPENDIX B DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY’S “CONSEQUENCES”: IMMIGRATION PUNISHMENTS & FAMILY IMPACT CDS DHS OBJECTIVE HYPOTHETICAL STORY EXAMPLE Expedited Removal Initially a proceeding at formal Five-year-old Brandon arrives in the U.S. Five-year-old Brandon is sent to ORR and put order. Meanwhile Alex is sent and their supervisors. Border discretion of Border Patrol agents Patrol sends Alicia to ORR custody. Yessica is never referred are immediately processed for a for a reasonable fear interview because the agent does not formal administrative removal believe her. into removal proceedings. Reinstatement of removal authorizes Border Patrol to reinstate a previous removal order for migrants who re-enter unauthorized. sent to ICE detention. 2017 24 24 . expedited removal Lucia and 18-year-old cousin Yessica and 10-year-old cousin Reinstatement of was expanded to include any Juan. with his aunt Proceedings or points of entry. who was previously days of arrival. Despite expressing a immigration judge. If a migrant then returns. Individuals may be pressured to accept voluntary return. Daniel is an immigration judge. voluntarily from the U. This reduces Alicia is eventually reunified with an aunt in the U. Yessica. Migrants do removed.

Siblings. Adult Children. Aunts. Spouses Returned Without Placed with ORR Released and Placed into Prosecution Family Detention Detained Alone Admission and into Removal Removal Proceedings: (moms & children) (ICE Adult Detention) (Contiguous countries only) Proceedings (Including bond and ATD) Jail or U.S. Uncles. Marshall’s custody ORR CFI/RFI Process w/o opportunity to consolidate case (with separated family member) OUTCOMES Granted Denied Reunification with Remain family member in in custody community* Stay Detained & Separated Reunification with one Released Stay Detained & Separated or more accompanying Removal with family member* or without family *Families who are reunified should remain together for the duration Potential Reunification* Alone & No Reunification of removal proceedings whether or not their legal cases are combined. 2017 25 25 . Grandparents.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES – APPENDIX C: FAMILY SEPARATION FLOWCHART FAMILY SEPARATION FLOW CHART What happens to a family when separated by CBP? + + Note: None of these tracks are mutually exclusive PROCESS SEPARATED MINOR CHILDREN OTHER SEPARATED FAMILY MEMBERS Classified Unaccompanied (UC) Minor Children with Parents. CBP: Customs and Border Protection CDS: Consequence Delivery System DIF (Desarrollo Integral de La Familia): Mexico’s child welfare agency KEY ORR: Office of Refugee Resettlement CFI: Credible Fear Interview ATD: Alternatives to Detention ICE: Immigration and Customs Enforcement RFI: Reasonable Fear Interview How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10.

BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES – APPENDIX D WHO TO CALL? Information Sheet This contact sheet is intended to help service providers navigate various complaints and concerns. advocates can also alert the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) with individual complaints or with information to identify trends and patterns of family separation. In addition. even information sent via email is sufficient to help CRCL identify and document cases. Advocates representing family members who have been separated should alert immigration officials immediately to try to identify the location of other separated family members and facilitate contact and/or release and reunification. Although CRCL has a specific complaint form. including family separation. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. 2017 26 26 .

gov and Phone: 877-2INTAKE (877-246-8253) DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) You can file a complaint regarding any civil rights and civil liberties concern with any DHS agency. Other ICE concern or complaint Email the ERO engagement office (Reports of Abuse). 2017 27 27 . DHS Office of Inspector Centralized complaint center for DHS General (OIG) may investigate first for criminal allegations. language access. the attorney should be taking care of this ICE Always state that you are calling regarding a parental interests inquiry or enter “Parental Family separation issues ( with reports of In any 28 CFR 81. report child abuse or *You may want to say you are reporting in accordance with the Victim of Child Abuse Act of 1990. Filing a CRCL Complaint *CRCL may forward the investigation to Include the G-28 or release form from the child (and sponsor) with the CRCL complaint another entity. asylum case consolidation If no response is received call the Customer Service Center 1-800-375-5283 If problems continue contact the ombudsman http://www. EOIR Hotline: 1-800-898-7180 or 240-314-1500 *Note if a child has an attorney. etc): the ORR ORR helpline for assistance National Call Center information@ORRNCC. available here: or facilities. ORR Prison Rape Elimination Act concerns Email: PSAC@acf. SIJS http://www. 42 neglect to the local FBI or or to reunite with a child) completing this online form hotline. or fax a complaint at 202-401-4708 *Note for missing documents such as a birth EOIR First contact your local field office Assistant Chief Immigration Judge (ACIJ). Contact the local Field Office Juvenile Coordinator (FOJC) first to ensure that it is not there. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10.hhs. see this guide on filing Court related issues: hearing or 1(800)203-7001 Civil Rights Complaint You can file a civil rights complaint regarding ORR with HHS’s Office of Civil Rights: http:// www. call the Detention Reporting and Information Line: 1-888-351-4024 Use the Online Detainee Locator System to locate a detained family member in ICE Locating a family member or client custody: https://locator. Also.Intake@dhs. You can fill out a CRCL complaint at: interview delays. See § 13031(c)(definitions of abuse and neglect). they may be in the child’s A-file. where there is no MOU with abuse or neglect on federal lands. email the ICE. the Office of Inspector DHS Joint Intake Center (JIC) File a complaint with JIC and also with CRCL if there is both misconduct and civil right and civil liberties concerns. refusal to facilitate contact.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES – APPENDIX D FEDERAL CONTACT SHEET FOR IMMIGRATION CASE ISSUES USCIS Contact the local field office first: Issues with cases before USCIS. (Complaints can be about treatment.html Child Abuse or Neglect on Federal Lands and/or by Federal Agent Contact your local FBI Field Office https://www.INFO@ICE. etc). the local CPS If no response. such as CBP Internal Affairs. EOIR Email the EOIR engagement office EngageWithEOIR@usdoj.g. 28 CFR 81. e. COA.g. a detained Interests Inquiry” in the subject line of the email parent seeking a separated family member Contact the local outreach office by sending them an email Email: and policy issues ORR sponsor helpline (assistance for family regarding school US Code Section 13031.fbi. CRCLCompliance@hq. failing to return belongings/ documents*.dhs.3 (Designation of Federal Bureau of Investigation). property.

(Las quejas pueden ser sobre trato Linea directa de EOIR: 1-800-898-7180 or 240-314-1500 *Note if a child has an attorney.justice.: un padre/una madre detenido Contacte a la oficina local enviándoles un correo electrónico http://www. Consolidación de Casos de Asilo Si los problemas persisten contacte al mediador http://www. o (a) buscando a un familiar separado completando este formulario en línea http://www. http://www. EOIR. llame a La Línea sobre Información y Reporte de Detenciones al: 1-888-351-4024 Use el Sistema de Localización de Detenidos en línea para localizar a un familiar detenido bajo Localizar a un familiar o cliente la custodia de ICE: https://locator.html ABUSO A MENORES O NEGLIGENCIA EN TERRITORIO FEDERAL Y/O POR UN AGENTE FEDERAL En cualquier caso. disponible aquí: Cuestiones relacionadas con la corte: de protección de menores (CPS). *Tenga en cuenta que documentos que falten como por ejemplo un certificado de nacimiento pueden encontrarse dentro del expediente A-file del menor. donde no haya un Contacte su oficina local del FBI: Línea de asistencia de la ORR para patrocinadores (asistencia para la familia en cuanto a la Línea de Asistencia de la ORR matriculación escolar. consulte esta guía sobre como presentar una queja. EOIR Primero contacte a la oficina local del Juez Asistente de Inmigración(ACIJ). Primero comuníquese con la oficina local del FOJC para asegurarse que no se encuentre ahí. *Podría decir que está haciendo una denuncia bajo la Ley de Maltrato al Menor de Otra inquietud o queja relacionada Por correo electrónico contacte a la Oficina de Peticiones ERO ERO. La para DHS Oficina del Inspector General del DHS (OIG) podría investigar primero alegaciones criminales. línea directa de Contacte por correo electrónico a la Oficina de Peticiones de EOIR EngageWithEOIR@usdoj. la Oficina del electrónico a CRCLCompliance@hq. Tambié o Queja relacionada con 1(800)203-7001 Derechos Civiles Puede presentar una queja sobre los derechos civiles en relación con ORR en la oficina de Derechos Civiles de HHS: http://www. ORR PREA & asuntos sobre políticas Correo electrónico: PSAC@acf.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES – APPENDIX D INFORMACION DE CONTACTOS FEDERALES PARA CUESTIONES EN CASOS DE INMIGRACION USCIS por ejemplo: Atraso de entrevistas con Si no recibe respuesta llame al Centro de Servicio al Cliente al 1-800-375-5283 con cualquier reporte MOU con la agencia local de servicios de abuso o negligencia en fecha de la audiencia.dhs. etc): Centro Nacional de Llamadas de la ORR information@ORRNCC. 2017 28 28 . *CRCL podrá enviar la investigación a Incluya el formulario G-28 o autorización del menor (y patrocinador) con la queja a CRCL otra entidad como la oficina de Asun. How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. 28 CFR 81. la negativa a facilitar contacto. o para reunirse con un menor) Si no hay respuesta. the attorney should be taking care of this ICE Siempre indique que está llamando acerca de una indagación sobre intereses de los padres o Cuestiones de separación familiar ingrese “Parental Interests Inquiry” en el título del correo electrónico (e. Ver § 13031(c)(definiciones de abuso y negligencia 28 CFR acceso al (Designación de la Oficina Federal de Investigación).gov y Teléfono: 877-2INTAKE (877-246-8253) DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) Puede presentar una queja sobre derechos y libertades civiles concerniente a cualquier agencia de DHS.hhs. correo tos Internos de con ICE DHS Joint Intake Center (JIC) Presente una queja a JIC y también a CRCL si hay una mala conducta e inquietud sobre Servicio centralizado de quejas derechos o libertades civiles. o enviar por fax una queja al 202-401-4708 Inspector la no devolución de Presentar una queja al CRCL pertenencias/documentos*. contacte su oficina local: Cuestiones con casos antes de USCIS.2 (Denuncias de negligencia a su oficina local del FBI Abuso).uscis. etc. Correo Electrónico: Joint.DHS.. 42 US Sección reportar caso de abuso a menores o del Código 13031.Intake@dhs. Puede presentar una queja a CRCL al: https://www. o instalaciones federales. etc).fbi.dhs.

S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de Estados Unidos DHS United States Department of Homeland Security Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de los Estados Unidos JIC DHS Joint Intake Center Centro de Admisión Conjunta del DHS CRCL Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Oficina para Derechos y Libertades Civiles OIG DHS Office of Inspector General Oficina del Inspector General del DHS CBP U.S. Customs and Border Protection Oficina de Aduanas y Protección Fronteriza de Estados Unidos FOJC Field Office Juvenile Coordinator Coordinador de Jóvenes en Oficinas de Campo ORR Office of Refugee Resettlement Oficina de Reasentamiento de Refugiados PREA Prison Rape Elimination Act Ley de Eliminación de Violaciones (sexuales) en Prisiones HHS U.BETRAYING FAMILY VALUES – APPENDIX D Acronym Glossary (Translated from English into Spanish): Acronym Agency Name-English Agency Name-Spanish USCIS United States Citizenship and Servicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de Immigration Services Estados Unidos SIJS Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Estatus Especial para Jóvenes Inmigrantes EOIR Executive Office for Immigration Review Oficina Ejecutiva para Revisión de Inmigración COA Change of Address Cambio de Dirección ACIJ Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Juez Asistente de Inmigración ICE U.S Department of Health and Human Services Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de Estados Unidos MOU Memorandum of Understanding Memorándum de Entendimiento CPS Child Protective Services Servicio de Protección de Menores FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Oficina Federal de Investigación How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families | Current as of January 10. 2017 29 29 .

SUPPORTKIND.ORG LIRS.ORG WOMENSREFUGEECOMMISSION.ORG .Please scan this code to download a digital copy of the report.