Trump’s Family Separation Crisis
How You Can Help
The family separation crisis is the direct result of the Trump administration policy choices, driven by the view that immigrants and asylum seekers deserve nothing but cruelty and punishment.
The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit earlier this year to stop family separation and to require the immediate reunion of all separated children and parents. On June 29, a federal judge issued a national injunction in our class-action lawsuit, requiring the reunification of thousands. Now, we must ensure the administration heeds the court’s ruling and the policy of family separation ends once and for all. The government deported hundreds of parents without their children — without a plan for how they would be ever be found. The ACLU is working to locate every separated parent and advise them of their rights to be reunited.
We are in the courts, streets, and in Congress to hold the Trump administration accountable for the irreparable damage it has done to these young lives. We need you in this fight.
what you need to know
July 26, 2018 – Deadline to Reunite All Separated Children
This is the court-ordered deadline for the government to reunite all children.
July 10, 2018 – Deadline to Reunite Separated Children Under Five
This is the court-ordered deadline for the government to reunite all separated children under the age of five.
June 29, 2018 – Federal Judge Orders Reunification of Thousands
A federal judge issued a national injunction in the ACLU’s class action, ordering the reunification of thousands of parents and children forcibly separated by the Trump administration. The court said all children must be reunited within 30 days; children under five within 14 days; and all parents must be able to speak with their children within 10 days. The court also prohibited any deportation of parents without their children, absent of a knowing waiver. In the future, no child can be separated unless it is genuinely in the child’s best interest, such as a showing of a parent as abusive.
June 20, 2018 – Trump’s Executive Order Doesn’t End the Crisis
Donald Trump issues an executive order purporting to end family separation. However, the administration offered no plan to reunite the thousands of children who remain separated from their parents. It signaled that it will now detain all families with children, regardless of whether they are asylum seekers, or pose a flight risk or a danger to the community. Children don’t belong in jail at all, under any set of circumstances.
June 6, 2018 – Federal Judge Allows ACLU’s Lawsuit to Proceed
A federal judge ruled against the Trump administration’s effort to dismiss the ACLU lawsuit against forcibly separating asylum-seeking parents and their children. The Trump administration argued that asylum-seeking families had no constitutional right to remain together. The court squarely rejected that position.
June 1, 2018 – National Outrage Mounts
Members of Congress traveled to the border and thousands of people showed up at protests across the country to demand an end to the family separation policy.
May 31, 2018 – In Six Weeks, Thousands of Kids Are Taken
Between April 18, 2018 and May 31, 2018, 1,995 immigrant children were separated from their families. From October 2017 to April 2018, immigration authorities separated more than 700 children from parents, including more than 100 children under the age of 4.
May 13, 2018 – Breaking Point for Parents
After being separated from his wife and his 3-year-old son, Marco Antonio Munoz, a Honduran father, commits suicide in custody.
May 11, 2018 – “Foster Care or Whatever”
During an NPR interview, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was asked to comment the perception that it’s “cruel and heartless to take a mother away from her children.” His response was: “The children will be taken care of -- put into foster care or whatever.”
April 6, 2018 – Sessions’ Zero Tolerance Policy
Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices along the southwest border to adopt a new policy of “zero-tolerance” for illegal entry into the United States. On May 7, Sessions announced that the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security would move to prosecute anyone who crosses the border between ports of entry.
March 9, 2018 – ACLU Seeks a National Class Action Against Family Separation Policy
The ACLU expanded its lawsuit on behalf of Ms. L to be a national class-action lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s practice of forcibly separating asylum-seeking parents and their young children.
February 26, 2018 – ACLU Files the First Lawsuit Against Family Separation
After immigration authorities separated a Congolese asylum seeker from her seven-year-old daughter, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on their behalf. Ms. L and her daughter, S.S., fled the Republic of Congo for fear of their lives. They presented themselves to border agents in California and were subsequently detained. While Ms. L was detained in the San Diego area, her young daughter was taken to a facility in Chicago.
March 6, 2017 – Deterrent as Strategy
During an interview with CNN, John Kelly, then the Department of Homeland Security secretary, said, "Yes... I am considering exactly that" when he asked if the Trump administration was seriously considering separating immigrant children from their parents.