There’s been a lot of anger about the Trump administration’s policies on immigration, and in particular lately, around the policy of family separation at the border. But what is actually happening, and what do families actually need? Eve Stotland of The Door is an attorney who has worked on just these issues for years, and she joins us to disentangle the questions of what the Trump administration is and is not doing to migrant children and their families, and to tell us how to challenge this policy and fight for fair treatment for migrants and for everyone.
There are a few things going on and I think that some of them are getting conflated, so it is really helpful to pull them apart. One thing that is absolutely going on is that the US government, and very specifically Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – these are two agencies that are in charge of policing our borders and enforcing our immigration laws–these agencies, when they detain families, when they are arresting families at the border for violating immigration laws, they are separating parents and children.
Now, some of this is new and some of it is not new. It is a surprise to a lot of people that I talk to that the US has been detaining–meaning prison, putting families who violated immigration law in prison, it is called immigration detention, but let’s remember it is prison–for many years. So that is not new. Also, immigration has been detaining children for many years. Also, Immigration has just been jailing a lot of people. In fact, I think there is something like 34,000 beds.
What is new here is that really Immigration did not have a policy at the border of separating parents and children. That is something that has developed recently. It is hard to track exactly when it started because the federal government is not being honest about it. One day they say there is no new policy. The next day, they say there is a policy. Then, Trump blames the Democrats for the policy.
The amount of intentional misinformation that is going out there is really intense, but what we do know, because people at the border, including the ACLU, have been tracking this and have brought a lawsuit about it, is that absolutely at least 600 parents and children have been separated in recent months at the border.
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