A year has passed since President Donald Trump signed an order ostensibly ending his controversial policy of separating immigrant families at the southern border. A federal judge ordered the government to reunify 2,800 children it had removed from their parents. The judge allowed the government to continue separating families if the parent posed a danger to the child or had a serious criminal record or gang affiliation. No guidelines were imposed, meaning that children continue to be removed from parents, often for unclear reasons or with little apparent justification, advocates say, the Houston Chronicle reports. More than 700 children were taken from their parents or from other relatives between June 2018 and May 2019, the government told the American Civil Liberties Union.
They are placed in federal shelters or with foster parents until they can be reunified with relatives or sponsors. Sometimes they languish for months. “In the last few months these types of separations have risen drastically,” said the ACLU’s Lee Gelernt. “The government is trying to drive a truck through what was supposed to be a very narrow exception.” Many cases involve toddlers whose parents are accused of offenses as minor as a traffic violation. “The government is unilaterally deciding parents are a danger and then separating them without informing the children’s facilities that the child has been separated, without telling the parent the basis of the separation, and without affording any due process to the family to contest the separation,” Gelernt said. Golden McCarthy of the Florence, Az., Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project said the number of separated children in shelters has been rising steadily since January. Hundreds of migrant children have been moved out of a filthy Border Patrol station in Texas where they had been detained for weeks without access to soap, clean clothes or adequate food, the New York Times reports.