Immigrant Family Detention and Separation

Immigrant Family Detention and Separation

Children wait at the Paso Del Norte Point of Entry in Chihuahua State, Mexico on June 20,2018
 Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images

The outcry over the zero-tolerance policy which led to families being torn apart at the border so parents could be detained and prosecuted led to President Trump issuing an executive order ostensibly halting it. While the order appears to put a stop to a heinous policy, it marks the beginning of another battle which is just as worrisome. Not only is the administration asking to detain families, but there is still concern over the health and whereabouts of children already separated from their parents. In response to the executive order signed by the president on June 20th, MIRA released the following statement:

"Today, the President signed an executive order to address the ongoing family separation crisis on the border. Unfortunately for the thousands of people seeking asylum in the U.S., his solution is simply to incarcerate families together, indefinitely, while continuing to blame Congress and the courts for the crisis that he created.

“This executive order does not reverse the ‘zero tolerance’ policy initiated by this administration,” said MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona. “Rather, it seeks to treat persecuted families as criminals. This is a despicable act that is a debasement of American values.”

 “In seeking to overturn Flores, in seeking to deny basic dignity to asylum-seekers, this administration is once again dehumanizing immigrants,” Millona said. “We urge Congress to see these heinous actions for what they are and take immediate measures to truly protect children and families. They must stand up and show the world that the values of this administration do not represent the values of our great nation.”

The disorganized implementation and dehumanization of the zero tolerance policy has exacerbated the health risks to immigrants who cross the border. A report released by the Human Rights Watch on June 20 details the risks to health in detention facilities, and this disturbing record of health care in detention facilities does not bode well for the safety of children the administration wants to detain. 

Our partners are working to reunite families in Massachusetts. The Brazilian Worker Center recently helped reunite a mother with her son. We applaud all efforts to quickly and efficiently bring children back to their parents.
A recent report titled Healthy Mind, Healthy Future: Promoting the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Children in Immigrant Families has been published by The Children's Partnership. Read the report to learn what you as an advocate, a health provider, an educator, or as a community member can do to support children in immigrant families.

Stories in the Press about Policies Regarding Immigrant Families:

Family Separation Likely an Ineffective Deterrent- Center for American Progress Analysis- July 24, 2018

New evidence suggests Trump’s border crackdown isn’t just cruel — it’s likely ineffective - July 24, 2018

Did 'zero-tolerance' policy reduce illegal immigration?​ - July 19, 2018

Government Misses Family Reunification Deadline - July 10, 2018

Doctors decry plans to detain immigrant kids with parents - June 29, 2018

Congress, courts stymie Trump border crackdown - June 27, 2018

Trump's Executive Order Ending Family Separation, Explained - June 20, 2018

The family separation crisis is a health crisis - June 19, 2018

Doctors Saw Immigrant Kids Separated From Their Parents. Now They're Trying to Stop it. - June 15, 2018

Immigrant Families in Mass. Shouldn't Have to Live in Fear of the Police - June 13, 2018

The Trump administration’s separation of families at the border, explained - June 11, 2018

‘Children are being used as a tool’ in Trump’s effort to stop border crossings - June 10, 2018