The Cruel Practice of Family Separation

By Beth Werlin

The cruel practice of family separation has dominated the news for weeks.

We have been addressing the legal needs of families at the border for years. Last year, we expanded these efforts by creating the Immigration Justice Campaign. The Justice Campaign is recruiting volunteer lawyers and training them to provide legal services to detained immigrants. They are holding the government accountable by exposing and documenting abuses and misconduct.

Through our on-the-ground experience, here’s what we’re seeing now:

• The government coerced parents into relinquishing their rights out of fear of losing their children.

• One of our attorneys led a team that interviewed over 90 parents in the El Paso, Texas area. Of the 90 parents, 52 of them had given up their right to reunify with their children. Some parents were not even aware they relinquished their rights.

No one should be forced to give up their children or their rights, especially without a lawyer.

We are taking a stand against such practices and increasing access to legal counsel. Our volunteers are meeting with parents. They are documenting their stories and identifying next steps in their legal process. They are standing by their side when they appear at their required Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “check-in.”

This fight is ever-changing, and time is of the essence for many of these families. We will continue to provide updates on this evolving crisis. In the meantime, for an overview on the issue, watch this Frontline report—featuring our very own Katie Shepherd. For a quick read, here is our article on the truth about family separation.

Beth Werlin
is the Executive Director
of the American Immigration Council

About Ramón Jiménez

Ramón Jiménez, Managing Editor de MetroLatinoUSA.Com (MLN). Graduado de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad del Distrito de Columbia (UDC). Email: [email protected]

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