Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) and seven other immigrant-rights organizations filed a complaint Dec. 7 with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Office of Inspector General.
The complaint is on behalf of the approximately 400 people arrested this summer in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement effort that the groups allege used unaccompanied minors as bait: When parents and other relatives came forward to sponsor children who would otherwise be kept in detention centers, they were arrested and detained.
“How is it in America’s safety interests to keep these boys and girls in government-run shelters while their families are flung into chaos and potential deportation?” CLINIC executive director Jeanne Atkinson asked in a statement announcing the complaint.
“Not only do ICE and other agencies of Homeland Security misrepresent themselves in order to obtain information about the families of children, these efforts ensure that vulnerable minors will continue to be separated from their relatives.”
A case in point:
A single mother was called to an interview with DHS’s Homeland Security Investigations in which she was accused of smuggling her daughters into the United States, despite the fact that her daughters are not in the United States. During the interview, the agents refused to provide adequate interpretation and attempted to separate the mother from her attorneys. At the conclusion of the interview, the woman was given an order to appear in immigration court, where she now faces deportation.
Jessica Jones, policy counsel at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said the program went against everything the nation stands for.
“Using kids as bait to target parents and other family members for immigration enforcement contravenes the most basic child welfare principles,” Jones said in the statement. “Children deserve protection, not exploitation.”
~ Global Sisters Report – Article by Dan Stockman