Family separation is not over. We are responding with legal action.
The Trump Administration’s inhumane policy of family separation is not over.
On Wednesday, the President finally responded to the public outcry over his cruel policy by signing an executive order titled “Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation.”
While the order claims that the administration will end their policy of separating children from their parents at the border, in reality, families are still apart at this very moment.
Thousands of children are still separated from their parents, including over 45 parents we know are being detained at the Federal Detention Center (FDC) in SeaTac and now also at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma. Approximately 35 of the parents were transferred there yesterday. One is our client, Ibis, who fled Honduras to seek protection in the U.S. Her five-year-old son was taken from her at the border while Ibis remains detained here, thousands of miles away.
Read her story here.
It is not clear that the President’s executive order will apply to families who have already been separated. Since the order was issued yesterday afternoon, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has not provided any information on whether they intend to reunite families that have already been separated.
And furthermore, the President’s order seeks to end one cruel policy (family separation) for another, by ordering the Department of Homeland Security to indefinitely detain families behind bars while their asylum claims are adjudicated. This form of indefinite detention is not only inhumane but it is also in violation of the 1997 Flores consent decree.
That’s why we are taking legal action.
Yesterday, we announced that NWIRP will soon be filing a class-action lawsuit against the Trump Administration on behalf of the parents held in Washington State who have had their children forcibly taken from them. The government has no legitimate purpose to separate these families while they go through civil immigration proceedings. Our suit seeks to ensure these parents and their children are reunited as soon as possible, and allowed to continue their asylum claims together.
In the meantime, we are continuing our work helping these parents and others held at the FDC and NWDC. Out of the 206 asylum seekers who were brought from the southern border as part of the new ‘zero tolerance’ policy, we have completed 155 intake screenings and have scheduled an additional 41 screenings. We have also completed legal rights presentations for all asylum-seekers currently detained at the FDC. And we have placed all cases involving a parent separated from their child (or children) with either a NWIRP staff member or a volunteer attorney.
All of this work is only possible because of your support. Community members interested in supporting our efforts can click here to view other ways they can get involved.