Federal public defenders has revealed that immigration enforcement officials in the United States have being deceiving immigrant parents seeking for shelter from violent conditions in their home country.
The officers tell those individuals that they are taking their children away for baths or other benign reasons only to never return with them.
Miguel Nogueres, a federal public defender in McAllen, Texas said that he’s seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases his office sees on any given day during the presidency of Donald Trump.
He says “Every day we hear that parents are being separated from their children and are given different reasons for the separation. Some are told the truth,” Mr Nogueres told The Independent. “Others are told that they’re children are being taken for a break to play, or bathe, or sleep, … little white lies to ameliorate an exploding situation. The parents will realize they were lied to when they meet us before court.”
Mr Nogueres said that the cases he came across before would skew towards people with criminal records, and now the cases skew in the opposite direction.
“So, 90 per cent of those cases would be people with criminal records and less than 10 per cent of those would be with no criminal record,” Mr Nogueres said of the way things used to work, before noting that the representation of criminal vs civil defendants has essentially reversed itself, from what he has observed.
A Border Patrol spokesman said that the claims that these children were in any way inhumanely or unlawfully taken from their parents are not substantiated.
“I would tell you nothing could be further from the truth and these allegations are unsubstantiated,” Daniel Hetlage, the spokesman, said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said, when contacted for comment, that the agency is committed to ensuring the parents are able to get in touch with their children, and to find out where their children are located.
“ICE is committed to connecting these family members as quickly as possible after separation so that parents know the location of their children and have regular communication with them in line with ICE policies and detention standards, including the directive Detention and Removal of Alien Parents or Legal Guardians,” Danielle Bennett, the spokesperson, said in a statement
“ICE will post new information in all of our 72-hour facilities advising detained parents who are trying to locate, and/or communicate with, a child in the custody of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to call the Detention Reporting and Information Line (DRIL) for assistance,” Ms Bennett continued, noting an effort to inform inmates that began last week. “Separated parents who are still in US Marshals Service custody and have not yet been transferred to ICE can also call the DRIL for assistance in locating their minor child. The information provided by these parents to the DRIL operators will be forwarded to ORR for action. ICE and ORR will work together to locate separated children, verify the parent/child relationship, and set up regular communication and removal coordination, if necessary.”