Avoidable Adverse Impacts on Children of ICE Enforcement Practices
Currently, operations conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) and local law enforcement agencies operating under ICE sponsored programs (hereafter “ICE surrogates”) too often result in unnecessary separation of families, sometimes permanently and without due process. Due to a lack of regulations, parents who are apprehended and detained are often not given the necessary time and resources to coordinate childcare. This can have a negative impact on children, families, social services organizations and society, and can result in the violation of civil rights and liberties and human rights law. These negative effects could be avoided through policies and procedures that are not inconsistent with the enforcement of existing immigration laws.
Recommendations for ICE:
- Develop guidelines that regulate enforcement when children are present.
- Operations should not be carried out in locations where children are present and children should not be actively involved.
- Officers should ensure children/dependents are left in a safe situation and that arrangements are made for their care.
- Facilitate communication and assist parents in arranging childcare.
- Persons apprehended or detained should be given the opportunity to make phone calls.
- ICE or its surrogates should not transfer that person until the childcare arrangements have been made.
- Develop screening guidelines to discern if arrestees have children or dependents.
- Prioritize parole or release into an alternatives to detention program, for those identified as parents of children who need care.
- Establish procedures to ensure detained parents are able to participate in family court or custody proceedings involving their children.
- Facilitate access to resources so detained parents can comply with family court or custody orders and requirements.
- Allow detainees regular telephone contact/ visitation with their children.
- Institute and publicize a toll free hotline or database so attorneys, families, courts, guardians, and others can obtain up-to-date information about the location of the detained parent and how they can be contacted.
- Allow attorneys, consular staff, and other intermediaries speedy access to all detained persons before they sign legal documents.
- ICE should inform detainees of their right to counsel and home country consular officials and facilitate contact through free and reasonable telephone service.
- Facilitate assistance in obtaining necessary travel documents and travel logistics so a parent can bring their child to their home country if deported.