The Tried-And-True Alternatives to Detaining Immigrant Families

With his hastily issued executive order on family separation on Wednesday, President Trump presented America with a false choice: If you don’t want me to tear infants from their mother’s arms, I’ll just put entire families in jail. 

Specifically, Trump directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to keep families in custody “during the pendency of any criminal improper entry or immigration proceedings involving their members.” He also directed the Department of Defense and all other federal agencies to let DHS use their facilities so that family jail space can be expanded as quickly as possible. 

Trump’s plan is inhumane and wrong. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other child-welfare experts have found that jailing children and parents can severely damage their physical and mental health, even irreversibly. When President Obama expanded family detention in 2014, his actions were met with swift condemnation from immigrants rights, civil rights, and criminal reform organizations, including the ACLU. A federal court put the brakes on that expansion, applying a longstanding rule that prohibits the detention of children in substandard facilities and favors their release. 

Rather than jailing families who are in deportation proceedings, the government should release anyone who is not a flight risk, or whose flight risk can be mitigated by an alternative to detention. Such alternatives are designed to ensure court appearance and compliance with any final court orders, but they do even more — they allow families to live outside prison walls while their case moves through the system. That allows them to more easily find an attorney and prepare their defense — and non-detained immigrants with legal representation are far more likely to win legal relief. It also means that parents can raise their own children as normally as possible, limiting the long-term trauma to the family.

Trump's Family Separation Crisis: How to Help

Despite these obvious advantages, in June 2017, the Trump administration canceled the Family Case Management Program, which was run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as an alternative to detention for families seeking asylum. The program operated in five regions: New York City/Newark, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Baltimore/Washington, D.C. It provided case management, referrals for support services, and legal orientation, in partnership with community-based non-governmental organizations, in order to make sure that vulnerable families’ most urgent needs were met and they had the information they needed to comply with legal obligations.

The Trump administration would have you believe that releasing immigrants while their cases proceed in court encourages them to disappear from the government’s radar. That’s just false. The Family Case Management Program had a 99 percent effectiveness rate — meaning almost every single person enrolled in the program showed up for all immigration appointments and court hearings. And it was fiscally responsible — just $36 per day per family, compared to $319 per day per person for family detention.        

And not all families need the level of support provided by the Family Case Management Program. The government still has the option of releasing families on recognizance, bond, or parole while their cases proceed, and it should be doing so when more intensive supervision is unnecessary to mitigate flight risk. In March, the ACLU, Human Rights First, and the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies sued the administration for jailing asylum seekers indefinitely rather than following their own policy and releasing them on humanitarian parole. That case is pending. 

The administration must reinstate the Family Case Management Program or other alternatives that provide families with community-based support services. It must use its authority to release families on recognizance, bond, and parole. It must reverse its plan to build new jails for children and their parents. And Congress must refuse to fund family detention beds.

Family separation is a crisis of the Trump administration’s own making — a crisis it is trying to replace with a new one. Jailing thousands of asylum-seeking families is unnecessary and the wrong way forward. If the president thinks his executive order will bring the nationwide outrage over his border policies to an end, he is deeply mistaken. 

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Anonymous

All these things you say the Administration MUST do are for the benefit of foreigners. The US Government doesn't have to do anything for the benefit of foreigners. I'd rather turn foreigners around at the border if they aren't claiming asylum for things covered under the Treaty we signed (as in, private crimes) and use those resources to try to reunite US families with parents incarcerated due to drugs or poor educations.

jay

Actually Rasmussen did a poll a majority of Americans are clearly supporting the president

but why i'm here is even more disturbing

Jun
22
2018
ACLU Backs Away from Support for Free Speech
Loathsome as the ACLU may be in most respects, at least it has the redeeming quality that it defends our fundamental civil liberties, like free speech. Or maybe not:

The American Civil Liberties Union has explicitly endorsed the view that free speech can harm “marginalized” [i.e., politically preferred] groups by undermining their civil rights. “Speech that denigrates such groups can inflict serious harms and is intended to and often will impede progress toward equality,” the ACLU declares in new guidelines governing case selection and “Conflicts Between Competing Values or Priorities.”

Free speech is okay, so long as you don’t say anything considered to be unflattering to privileged special interest groups championed by cultural Marxists.

In the past, ACLU lawyers would defend people they didn’t like, if only to shore up their reputation as principled defenders of liberty. But having reached the fork in the road where liberty and social justice head off in diametrically opposite directions, they have opted for the latter. If you are a thought criminal, don’t expect the ACLU to defend your First Amendment rights.

Or your Second Amendment rights either:

[A]ccording to the guidelines, “the ACLU generally will not represent protesters who seek to march while armed.”

So nice of the ACLU execs to at least be up front about their second thoughts regarding civil liberties. Oh wait:

The ACLU leadership had apparently hoped to keep its new guidelines secret, even from ACLU members. They’re contained in an internal document deceptively marked, in all caps, “confidential attorney client work product.”

According to former ACLU board member Wendy Kaminer,

I’m told it was distributed to select ACLU officials and board members, who were instructed not to share it.

The American Civil Liberties Union American Social Justice Union is investigating the leak.

On a tip from Steve T.

Anonymous

I agree with what the ACLU is doing, except for keeping the policies a secret. There is a difference between upholding your constitutional rights and abusing them. The remarks the ACLU is referring to are not simply "unflattering" to a certain group, they are comments of malice and ignorance targetting a specific group. I do not consider harrassment, threatening, and bullying part of the second ammendment, let alone fruitful in discussion. If you have a different opinion, you should say not out of anger or intention to hurt a specific group, but with the desire to add value to the discussion. That goes for ANY sides, regardless.

For example, you can express how you support the tightening of borders and immigration laws, and give reasons why, but you should not make comments such as "immigrants are all pigs and criminals" or "(insert group of people) are inferior" (actually these examples I give are milder versions of the various horrible comments I have seen).

I believe that is what the ACLU is referring to, as I do see comments of opposition to stances of ACLU articles. Furthermore, the ACLU makes clear what it stands for on its website, and I find ACLU one of the most faithful to its beliefs from whatever is available. The ACLU states that it stands for women's rights and access to birth control, and with the recent nomination of Kavanaugh, whose stance on upholding Roe v. Wade isn't clear, instead of outright asking us to reject his nomination and call our senators as some sources do, it instead asks us to write to him to make him be clear about where he stands. That is pretty unbiased to me in this day and age!

Also, ACLU believes in peaceful protest, from what I gather (correct me if I am wrong), so it makes sense that it does not support protesters who march with arms.

jay

separating illegal alien children from their parents was actually a law enacted by the Clinton Admin
ENFORCED by both idiot warmonger BUSH and super idiot warmonger OBAMA

If you want me to donate 1000.00 dollars a month More defending of the constitution
less socialist propaganda

Anonymous

How about we Americans jailed without bail?

Anonymous

ACLU also fights for those rights (if you go look in the other sections).

Anonymous

Americans need not apply?

SgrA*

I've been wondering:

Was that girl on the cover of Time NOT separated from her mother? Or is she really the lucky girl that wasn't the 2001st child (so-far known) to be separated from her parents.
This has gone on way too long to be overlooked. I had it up to here when orphans in Syria kept adding up; and how much more for the children-shootings at schools in America -- plus don't think removing healthcare, and reducing Medicare doesn't offend for those with needs. Conservatives either have it or they don't, and that is going to be a judging point -- Call me a bleeding heart liberal; through the blood of Christ I am beholden to respond as He would have me. This is the government of the United States, and has nothing to do with faith in my Lord or the blood of Jesus; This the price of freedom measured in eternal vigilance - how we as a people respond with American values.

Paul kris

WOW i have back the ACLU for so long i cant even remember. Which makes it even harder to say this but i will no long be supporting you. I have first hand experience with this issues and know enough (and apparently more then you) to tell you that you are selling false information to people. Claiming this is "Trumps making is 100% false and this has been going on for at least 15 years that i am aware of. I have nothing else to say other then people who read this please don't fall for this line of junk they are selling. Please remove me from your email list due to the fact that i am gonna add you to spam anyhow thanks

Anonymous

I don't see where or how they said or implied it is 100% Trump? They also mention how it was happening under Obama.

From what I have heard, the family detention/separation was going in for a while as you said, but escalated under Trump. That's all.

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