Newly discovered emailsIt was revealed that Trump administration immigration officials thought that separated families at the border were being reunited too fast, revealing that they were intent on using family separation to punish immigrants.
The emails were turned over as part a lawsuit brought byFamilies who sued the government for their pain and suffering show that immigration officials considered it bad optics for families to be reunited rapidly after being separated.
“Bottom line, our concern is that the adults that were separated from their children… will be returned to the [U.S. Border Patrol] immediately after the guilty plea is accepted by the Court,” wrote then-top Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official Matthew Albence in May of 2018, just after the family separation policyThe southern border was affected.
Albence raised concerns about the implementation of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of separating families, which caused massive and widespread sufferingTo the thousands of familiesSome of whom are now separated from their parents still separatedContinue reading.
“This will result in a situation in which the parents are back in the exact same facility as their children — possibly in a matter of hours — who have yet to be placed into [Office of Refugee Resettlement] custody,” Albence continued. He then proposed to then-acting ICE director Tom Homan that border officials move migrant children to a separate facility “at an accelerated pace” and move their parents to adult-only facilities to ensure separation, while using cruel language to refer to the asylum seekers.
“The traditional [border patrol] approach of washing their hands of the aliens once they are done with them is not going to work in this situation,” he wrote. Other officials backed upHis concerns.
Weeks later, on May 26, Albence said that allowing families to be reunited quickly “obviously undermines the entire effort and the Dept is going to look completely ridiculous if we go through the effort of prosecuting only to send them to a [Family Residential Center] and out the door,” referring to ICE’s concentration campsThe border.
Trump administration had denied that there was any family separation was an intentional part of the “zero tolerance” policy. But lawyers for the families say the emails make it clear that the separations were intentional — and that ultimately, the policy was designed to cause further suffering to families, even if they weren’t being pursued for having broken the law. Notably, the policy failedIts supposed (and violently achieved) goal of deterring border crossings further confirms the inhumanity of family separations.
“Although the government told the public that family separation was merely a byproduct of a ‘prosecution’ policy, in fact it implemented a far broader policy of separating All Families apprehended at border Regardless of whether the parents were charged or referred for prosecution,,” lawyers representing the asylum seekers wrote in a court filing this week.
It worked, even if the intention of immigration officials was to make families suffer. Parents have shared storiesAdvocates say that their stories of being separated from their children reveal a level of suffering that is beyond what the government should allow.
“I cried every day. I asked God, ‘What’s going to happen to me? What’s going to happen to my family?’” Fernando Arredondo, one of the parents involved in the current lawsuits against the Biden administration, recently told CBS. Arredondo arrived in the U.S. in 2018, after his 17-year old son was killed in Guatemala, their home country. He was separated from Andrea, his 12-year-old daughter, in 2018 and deported. He was allowed to return to the U.S. to reunite with his wife, and other daughters, in 2020.
Although the Biden administration claims to have stoppedEnforcement of the policy reporting finds that it is still ongoing — and families’ requests for reliefDespite the fact that the Justice Department has been sued by them, they have encountered resistance from the Biden administration. president’s promisesOn the campaign trail to bring justice to asylum seekers.