The new policy is a marked departure from the way parents and children were treated previously. In 2014, the Obama administration saw a surge of families and unaccompanied minors at the border and generally kept children with at least one parent at emergency shelters and family facilities. The Obama administration also initiated a program designed to allow families more freedom while awaiting deportation hearings. The Trump administration ended the program last summer.
Children are removed from parents.
“They are saying either you take your kid back and live in danger and don’t try to save your kid’s life by claiming your right to asylum, or insist on applying for asylum where we are going to separate you from your child and endanger your child,” said Michelle Brané, director of immigration policy at the Women’s Refugee Commission, a research and advocacy organization.
The report has interviews with several parents who were separated from their children.
Hernandez, the mother of two, said that back in Honduras, she and her husband had it all — a home, a business and family. But after her husband refused to help drug traffickers, they were threatened and an employee of their car wash business was killed, she said. They tried moving and starting another business but were tracked down. They pulled the children out of school and came to the U.S.
Still, she doesn’t think she would have crossed into the U.S. if she’d known about the new zero-tolerance policy.