THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S SEPARATION OF FAMILIES AT THE BORDER, EXPLAINED

Dara Lind

Aug 14, 2018

Dara Lind outlines and explains the current administration’s zero-tolerance policy. She writes that while there is no official policy to separate families that enter the US illegally, “all adults caught crossing into the US illegally are supposed to be criminally prosecuted - and when that happens to a parent, separation is inevitable,” because adults are not allowed to keep their children with them in federal jail. Although this is only supposed to affect families who enter the US illegally, there have been reports of families separated even when seeking asylum legally at a US port of entry. Between May 7 and 21, 658 children were separated from adults in prosecution proceedings. Lind reports that these children are being put into an “already overwhelmed” system for unaccompanied children in federal custody, and that “ORR [Office of Refugee Resettlement] facilities were already 95% full as of June 7.” Furthermore, there appears to be uncertainty regarding if and how families will be reunified. ICE and DHS “don’t appear to have a system to bring families back together,” writes Lind, and in many cases, parents are unable to contact their children or locate them. If this continues, there will likely be a shortage of resources in the agencies that take responsibility for these unaccompanied minors.