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ICE Reverses Policy, Starts Locking Up Guardians of Undocumented Minors

by Countable | 9.11.17

What’s the story?

More than 400 people were arrested over the course of two months this summer for providing shelter in their homes to undocumented minors. Some were contacted by authorities to come pick up minor relatives who had been apprehended crossing the border, and then later were contacted by the same authorities for breaking the law by taking the young people in.

Why does it matter?

During the Obama administration it was ICE policy that individuals who took in minor relatives who were apprehended crossing the border did not need to worry about the attention of immigration officials. The priority was to have the young people safely placed with family while their cases were dealt with, so they didn’t have to be in detention facilities.

The Trump administration has reversed that policy, reports ProPublica. ICE says that they are cracking down on people who pay human smugglers. Propublica writes, "Some of those affected admit that they paid “coyotes" to reunite them with their young children. But many are collateral damage: People who just happened to be in the house when ICE showed up, or relatives who agreed to take in teens after they traveled to the U.S. on their own.”

Of the approximately 400 people arrested from late June to late August most were charged with immigration violations, not smuggling-related crimes.

What do you think?

Is the administration right to go after guardians who take in undocumented minors? Should it matter if they knew, or were actively involved, in the minor coming illegally? If the authorities ask individuals to take the young people in, then later accuse them of violating laws, isn’t that entrapment? Is it better for undocumented minors to be placed with family, rather than having them held by the government? Or should ICE use any means necessary to apprehend and detain all undocumented immigrants of any age?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

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