A lawyer claims that several fathers have been separated from their children by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a second time, after the fathers refused to withdraw their children’s cases to stay in the US and allow the government to deport the family together.
The fathers say that shortly after being reunited with their teenage children, they were presented with forms that gave them three “options” for their families’ cases — with the option for deporting the child along with the parent already selected. One parent says the check mark had been made in pen; two others report that they were told they had to sign the form with that option selected.
The allegation comes in a filing late Saturday night in the court case overseeing the federal government’s efforts to reunite families it separated at the US/Mexico border.
The Trump administration has said parents who have exhausted their own options to seek asylum have a choice: They can choose to have their children deported with them, withdrawing the child’s own immigration case, or they can choose to be deported alone while the child stays.
In a comment to Vox regarding the allegations, a Department of Homeland Security official reiterated this. “Asking parents in ICE custody, who are subject to a final order of removal, to make a decision about being removed with or without their children, is part of long-standing policy,” the official said. “ICE does not interfere in the parent’s decision to allow the child to remain in the U.S. to pursue his or her own legal claim.”
But Saturday night’s filing offers evidence of ICE agents doing just that. Either all four parents who spoke to the lawyer are lying, or the lawyer’s declaration shows that the choice isn’t always being freely offered — and that parents who select the second option are having their children summarily taken from them, with no chance to say goodbye, for the second time in a matter of months.
Speaking of which, this is an excellent story about Sean McElwee’s campaign to get attention to the movement to abolish ICE:
Since McElwee first tweeted the phrase in February of last year, “Abolish ICE” has transformed into a rallying cry, an anti-Trump protest sign slogan, and an issue fomenting divisions inside the Democratic Party. What seemed an impossible policy dream is now endorsed by some members of Congress, including likely 2020 contenders. Some pro-abolish ICE Democrats say that immigration should instead be enforced as a civil issue under a new, more humanitarian banner.
“Abolish ICE” wouldn’t have the same political resonance if it weren’t for two recent events that catapulted the movement into the wider consciousness: the groundswell of attention toward disturbing stories of family separation and detainments and the upset primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose platform included abolishing ICE, as McElwee documented in a March article in the Nation, where he is a contributing writer.
The article did decide to include the irony bro counterpoint:
And as McElwee personally lobbies Democrats, he has lost some of his credibility among his cohort of humorists of the lefty internet, who share his politics [sic] but roll their eyes at his earnestness and opportunism [sic].
“It’s a pretty open-and-shut case of a college-educated white man showing up at the 11th hour, tweeting, and taking credit for other people’s work,” said Brendan James, the former producer and co-host of left-wing comedy podcast Chapo Trap House. “This is about a political moment, and if you’re on the left, you want to watch out for careerists and climbers, because their work usually helps dilute radical ideas and prime them for establishment Democrats.”
There will always be a type for whom the only thing worse than actually caring about politics is actually accomplishing something. How much value this perspective has I leave to the reader.