Advocacy Groups: Stop Separating Families at Border
Groups file emergency request to reunite immigrant families
The Texas Civil Rights Project, Women's Refugee Commission, UT School of Law Immigration Clinic, and law firm Garcia & Garcia filed an emergency request this month with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to immediately require the U.S. government to reunite immigrant families torn apart by federal policies. The Trump administration under Attorney General Jeff Sessions began a new policy on May 7 to separate parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border. Parents are prosecuted while children are sent to shelters. The groups have documented five "inconsolable" parents who have "no idea" where their children have been taken or if they will ever see them again after being separated in South Texas. In one instance, they note, a Border Patrol agent told a mother they were taking her daughter for a bath, but never returned her child. They hope the human rights commission pushes the government to ensure that no parent is removed from the country without being allowed to decide whether the child will return to the home country with them or remain in the U.S. to seek relief. The groups expect IACHR to notify the state department this week as well as (hopefully) launch an investigation. They anticipate a decision within a month. "Punishing people for fleeing violence to send a message is not only cruel, but also a violation of the international rights and conventions to which the United States is a party," said Efrén Olivares with the TCRP.