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Betraying Family Values


How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families

Over the past five years, the United States has seen a shift in the demographics of migrants encountered at our borders—from a majority of adult males, often from Mexico, seeking employment, to families, children, grandparents, aunts, and uncles fleeing together, seeking protection in the United States, coming mostly from Central America. Tragically, US immigration enforcement policies, instead of shifting to adapt to this significant change, have continued to try forcing a square peg into a round hole, and in doing so have compounded the vulnerabilities of families and protection-seeking migrants. Instead of promoting family unity, we as a nation are breaking families apart.

This report documents the ways in which family separation is caused, both intentionally and unintentionally, by the US government’s immigration custody and enforcement decisions. It explains how the government’s lack of consistent mechanisms for identifying and tracking family members result in family members being detained or removed separately and often losing contact with each other. Because the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies currently have little policy guidance on humanitarian considerations during enforcement actions, many families are needlessly torn apart.

United States North America Children Migrant Women Detention and Separation Rights and Justice Reports