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UPDATE: Asylum Seeker Released By ICE, Daughter Still In Custody

by Countable | Updated on 3.7.18

UPDATE March 3, 2018: Public scrutiny and the efforts of the ACLU have reportedly been successful in prompting the release of a Congolese immigrant seeking asylum. The woman has been held in custody since early November 2017. The Hill reports the woman was released Tuesday.

Her 7-year old daughter, however, is still being held in ICE custody. ICE pushed back against reports about family separations, insisting that they only do so when the safety of the child is in question due to human trafficking and smuggling. They claimed privacy concerns, and did not allege anything of that nature in this case.

The ACLU is seeking the release of the child into her mother's custody, and pledges to continue to fight the practice of family separation.

Countable's original story is below.


What’s the story?

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is pursuing a case against the Trump administration on behalf of a Congolese asylum-seeker who has been detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) thousands of miles away from her seven year old daughter. The mother is currently detained in San Diego, while her daughter is being held in Chicago.

In March of 2017 reports emerged that Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) was considering a change in policy-- separating immigrants from their children when they are apprehended crossing the border, in order to deter illegal border crossings. A year later a formal policy has not been put in place.

However, the Washington Post reports that Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service has documented 53 cases where undocumented immigrant parents have been detained separately from their children from June 2017 through February 18.

Ms. L, the immigrant being represented by the ACLU, fled from the Congo to Mexico with her daughter. After having crossed the border, she presented herself to ICE in order to formally seek asylum. ICE officials felt she had a credible case, and yet after 4 days Ms. L and her then-6 year old daughter, named S.S. in court paperwork, were separated. S.S. was moved to a detention facility in Chicago.

S.S. turned 7 in December. She and her mother have only been able to speak via phone half a dozen times since they were separated in early November 2017.

The suit seeks for Ms. L and her daughter to be moved to family detention together while their asylum case is processed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Trump administration officials have said a final decision about whether to split illegal immigrants and their children at the border hasn’t been made, but some children are separated if a parent has a serious criminal history or there are concerns about the child’s safety or welfare."

ACLU lawyers representing Ms. L say that she has not been informed why she and her daughter have been separated. There have been no allegations that Ms. L is an unfit parent.

The Washington Post Editorial Board argues, "The only principle at work [in Ms. L’s case], if it can be called that, is the idea that future asylum seekers might be deterred if they are convinced that the United States is actually a crueler and more heartless place than their native country.

Seventy-five Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to DHS requesting an explanation for the increase in family separations.

The Department of Homeland Security has refused to make a comment on the case.

What do you think?

Should ICE enact an official policy to separate immigrants who cross U.S. borders illegally from their children as a means of deterring immigration? In the absence of an official policy, should ICE be engaging in this practice?

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

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: prideimmigration.com/Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(72)
  • BeStrong
    03/05/2018
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    This is cruel and unusual punishment. I haven’t referenced this before, throughout all of this Administration’s insanity, but it’s time. Nazi Germany separated children from their parents. Who are we becoming? Thank you to the ACLU for freeing the Mother. DHS, RELEASE THIS CHILD TO HER MOTHER NOW.

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  • Phillip
    03/05/2018
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    That’s what they did at Belsen and Auschwitz.

    Like (22)
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  • Drkenfp107
    03/05/2018
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    This is directly contradictory to “Love thy neighbor as thyself”.

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  • Deirdre
    03/06/2018
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    This is beyond cruel and inhumane treatment of humans. Do you know the psychological torture this is? To be separated from your parents at such an early age causes trauma. I never thought we would get to this. Human rights are being trampled on. Where is the UN? I only hope that these people and children sue the hell out of the USA for trauma! Get trump out of office before we completely cannot fix all of his issues. He is destroying what America stands for!

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  • Kimberly
    03/05/2018
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    Separating children and parents is cruel. Adding to an already extremely stressful situation, this should not be a practice we employ. I’m not necessarily going to suggest that your children be ripped away from you (tempting though it may be), but I implore you to remember what it is to be other people in other situations. Just because someone isn’t sitting in a gilded office funded by blood money doesn’t mean they aren’t still people.

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  • Jackie
    03/05/2018
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    Totally unacceptable. No family should be separated.

    Like (17)
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  • Christopher
    03/06/2018
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    As a father, as an American, and as a Christian, I am begging Congress to create legislation preventing this practice. Save for clear cases of abuse, etc., a child should NEVER be forcefully separated from a parent. The practice of separated detainment spits in the face of a system that seeks to protect.

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  • Rebecca
    03/05/2018
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    Cruel and heartless. And don’t respond with that “border security” crapola. What kind of cold, deranged person would make a decision to separate a mother and child asking for asylum?

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  • Nancy
    03/05/2018
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    Immigrants bring businesses and skills. Many flee countries where they are in danger. Having them allows for an understanding of the world’s problems. It’s cruel to separate families.

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  • Truly
    03/05/2018
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    Add kidnapping to the list of felonies by the republicans. Who, exactly, is the party of family, morals, and the Constitution? Does this administration actually understand any of those words?

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  • Christa
    03/05/2018
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    Senators Flake and McCain, and Representative O’Halleran, please use the power you have in our government to fight against this unconscionable and inhumane practice. For several years the government has been employing a practice known as “lateral deportation,” where adult members of families and groups are separated and deported through border crossings that are hundreds or thousands of miles apart. The idea was to make it harder for people to cross back over without their support networks. It didn’t work, ever. But as cruel as that policy was, this practice of separating children from their parents is far more horrific. What has the “family values” party become, that this is even considered as an option, much less enacted as a practice? Please fight this!

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  • Donna
    03/06/2018
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    There are no words for the unconscionable act of splitting ASYLUM seekers from their children. By their own admission, ICE determined this case (and I am sure many others) is a CREDIBLE request for asylum. We do not imprison asylum seekers - at least we never used to before the inhumane and racist practices of the current administration. Most asylum seekers come from countries this administration has deemed unfit but those countries are dangerous and the lives of their citizens are truly in peril. It doesn't make these people less human. I am tired of the hypocritical policies of the supposed 'Christians' running this country. If this woman and her child were Russian, would this same policy apply? This country becomes less and less 'American' every day. Where the HELL is Congressional oversight? This is such an abuse of power and illegal act it truly makes me ill. It needs to be stopped immediately.

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  • Azrael
    03/05/2018
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    This is sick Psychological torture Isn’t torture illegal?

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  • Phil
    03/06/2018
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    Let's start with the fact that they should be turned away at the border. Then let's recognize that illegal aliens are not protected fully under our Constitution. The constitution fully protects those who are citizens and those here legally. Therefore the solution to this problem is not to stick them in a justice system that arbitrarily exists for this situation. Bring these people together on the bus or plane they'll be returning to their country of origin on. Problem solved.

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  • NoHedges
    03/06/2018
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    I am sorry but when parents go to jail the consequences to the children are nearly always devastating. However, we can no more allow citizens to get away with breaking the laws than we can non citizens. What we can do is to prepare for the inevitability of children being brought here illegally by building the types of infrastructure necessary. Then, when any child, regardless of citizenship, is faced with the devastation of a poor parental choice, the child has the type of quality placement needed until such time as their parent(s) are no longer incarcerated.

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  • verymary
    03/06/2018
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    The Trump Administration has no soul, and it seems that Congress approves. Suffer the little children to -- what? Suffer? I'm ashamed of the country I once revered.

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  • Cliff
    03/05/2018
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    Every civilian that came into the United state of America were immigrants and we are all immigrants from over the world every nation so why are we so hard and immigrants don’t forget our parents were immigrants too

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  • Irene
    03/05/2018
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    I have heard way too many stories like this. These are human beings even if some of them came illegally or stayed longer than they ought, breaking up families is a NO for me. Especially when a majority of them are obeying every other law and following process to become citizens. Stop it!

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  • Sam
    03/05/2018
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    This is a disgusting abuse if power. If they broke the law, fine. If they need to be detained, fine. Separating them from their children is a horrifying and inhumane practice that should merit an investigation on its own. It must be stopped.

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  • nick
    03/05/2018
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    This is barbaric! You are immoral animals if you can write a policy of such evil purpose and implement it as well. I am floored by this; seriously, this is disgusting!

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