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Joint Complaint on ICE Raids Targeting Sponsors of Unaccompanied Children


On December 6, 2017, the Women’s Refugee Commission and seven other immigrant rights organizations filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Office of Inspector General on behalf of some of the 400 people swept up in a DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “surge initiative” from June to August 2017. The operation sought information about the immigration status of parents and other relatives who came forward to sponsor unaccompanied children. Officers then used that information to locate or lure family members to ICE offices, where they were arrested and detained. The complaint details how ICE officers misrepresented their objectives and role within the sponsorship process, as well as coerced parents and family members in order to detain them and frustrate the reunification process. WRC and the other signing organizations consider that these practices undermine U.S. laws governing the treatment of unaccompanied children, including the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, the intent of the Flores Settlement to ensure there reunification on unaccompanied children with their parents, as well as individuals’ due process rights.  The complaint asks the DHS Inspector General and Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to hold individual agents accountable for unlawful or improper conduct and to release the results of their investigations publicly, along with recommendations for reform.

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