The Trump Administration said this week that the administration is rolling out a policy to separate families who illegally enter the country in an attempt to curb illegal entry into the United States. Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered the announcement at a law enforcement event in Scottsdale, Arizona on the same day First Lady Melania Trump delivered a speech calling for more kindness to children. The decision will take all children from people crossing the border and putting them in foster care.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said families caught entering the U.S. illegally will not remain together in detention centers.
Jeff Sessions: Parents and children illegally crossing the U.S. border will be separated https://t.co/AWmbyUi7YE
— TIME (@TIME) May 8, 2018
“We are dealing with a massive influx of illegal aliens across our Southwest border,” Sessions said in a press conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, according to NBC News. “But we’re not going to stand for this.”
He also added that people attempting to bring in an undocumented child will also be prosecuted.
“If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law,” Sessions said. “If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”
The Department of Homeland Security said agents have been separating families already. Since last October, 700 children have been separated from their parents.
Every time I’ve asked Trump officials about whether they are establishing the policy of separating children from parents at the border, they’ve refused to give me a straight answer. Today, they unveiled that exact policy.
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) May 7, 2018
“I want to be clear. DHS does not have a blanket policy on separating families as a deterrent,” Thomas Homan, deputy director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said according to NBC News. “There is no new policy. This has always been the policy. But you will see more prosecutions because of the commitment to zero tolerance” of illegal border entries.”
The aim of the Trump Administration is to prosecute every single person that enters illegally.
“If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple,” said Sessions, who has sent more prosecutors and immigration attorneys to the Southwest in preparation.
While the Trump Administration says there’s an increase in incoming undocumented immigrants, studies say otherwise.
The Trump administration has declared "100% prosecution" for moms & dads apprehended at the border. The practice of separating children from their parents is completely amoral and against our American values: https://t.co/Rj7fMl0Kps pic.twitter.com/V4TO7KgPrB
— #DreamActNow (@MiFamiliaVota) May 7, 2018
“Yes, we have this spike in Central Americans. But the overall undocumented flow is at historic lows,” Seth Stodder, a former assistant secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama administration, said to the New York Times. “We are not facing a ‘massive influx’ of undocumented migrants coming across the US-Mexico border. In fact, the opposite is true — undocumented migrant crossings are at historic lows, with border apprehensions around 20 percent of what they were around the time of the 9/11 attacks.”
However, separating families seems to be backfiring on the Trump Administration.
There are currently an estimated 1,500 undocumented children that are uncounted for in the U.S. refugee system.
Making this even more cruel and inhumane than it appears is the fact that the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which takes custody of these kids, has LOST TRACK OF 1,500 CHILDREN, and they may have become victims of human trafficking or other abuses. https://t.co/MXK0B4jPfh https://t.co/qUZkRCkoBk
— Joshua Holland (@JoshuaHol) May 7, 2018
The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement is the program that was created to take in the incoming undocumented children that are separated from their families. They’re in charge of providing foster care for the children. However, out of the 7,635 children that have been placed in foster care, only 6,075 of them are still with their foster parents. That means almost 1,500 have either “run away, been deported, or been placed with a different family,” the Associated Press reports.