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Trump Administration Won’t Routinely Separate Families At The Border After All

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said on Wednesday he is not planning to routinely split up children and mothers at the U.S.-Mexico border, after previously alarming immigrant advocates by suggesting such a policy would help deter illegal border crossings.

Speaking before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Kelly said he would separate families apprehended at the border “only if the situation at that point in time requires it” ― for example, if a mother is sick or addicted to drugs. He said he “can’t imagine” doing it unless there is reason to believe a child is in danger.

"Trauma on Trauma on Trauma": For Refugee Children, the Journey Is Only the Beginning

Adele's* 7-year-old daughter cries often. She cries at home and at school, whenever she thinks about the gang-perpetrated assassination she and her mother witnessed in their home country of El Salvador, and the death threats that soon followed. She also cries when she remembers the abuse inflicted on her mother by her mother's partner that, combined with the gang violence, caused her and her mother to flee to the US in May.

"They wanted to kill me," Adele told Truthout, speaking through a translator, about why she chose to leave El Salvador with her child to seek asylum.

Adele and her daughter were arrested at the border and were held for 45 days in the immigrant-family jail in Karnes City, Texas. Now, Adele worries the two of them will be reincarcerated, or be deported back to El Salvador. She worries more about her daughter's constant fear of the same. Even if they aren't deported, she worries that the trauma and fear that her young daughter has experienced will haunt her for the rest of her life.

Democratic House Members Hold Forum on Impact of Trump Immigration Policies on Children and Families

This afternoon, Congresswomen Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), the Co-Chairs of the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform, held an immigration forum at the U.S. Capitol to discuss the impact of Trump Administration immigration policies on children and families.  The forum placed particular focus on the harm of separating children from their parents, whether those separations occur at the U.S. border or within the United States itself.

Inside Trump's Border Crackdown on Women and Kids

Despite President Donald Trump's dire warnings of "bad hombres" and drugs flooding into the United States from Mexico, the most urgent issue along the border has been the influx of Central American families and unaccompanied children, many of whom are fleeing gang-fueled violence in their home countries. And the latest statistics from the border show that one of the main goals of the White House's immigration crackdown is being realized: targeting and deterring these asylum seekers from heading to the United States in the first place.

Stranded in Greece, Women Refugees Live With Fear and Hunger

As Germany starts sending newly arrived refugees back to Greece, we speak to Marcy Hersh of the Women’s Refugee Commission about the tens of thousands of women refugees stuck in Greek detention centers, suffering from violence, unsanitary conditions and food shortages. 

It’s been almost a year since border closures and a controversial European Union deal with Turkey shut out refugees fleeing to Germany and Scandinavia. Today, more than 60,000 refugees remain stranded in Greece and other parts of Eastern Europe – almost half of them women. Many of them had hoped to reunify with male family members who had traveled ahead, making the harrowing journey across Europe.

Undocumented Parents Could Be Separated From Their Children at the Border

Earlier this week, secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told CNN that the United States is considering separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents if they show up to the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization, as a way to deter border crossings. This proposal to separate families was quickly met with sharp criticism, condemned by UNICEF as "cruel and traumatic," and described by Mexican foreign minister Luis Videgaray as "an attack against the integrity of the fundamental unit of social life that is family," The Hill reports. 

Immigrant Families Are Separated At US Border As Form Of Punishment, Groups Say

The Trump administration has said it considering separating illegal immigrant families at the border as a deterrent, but authors of a new report say agents are already engaged in the practice as a form of punishment.

Homeland Security’s plan to break up families would have terrible consequences for kids

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly confirmed Monday that his agency plans to separate Central American children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, to serve as a deterrent for future border-crossers.

Hearing Request to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Turnarounds of Asylum Seekers at U.S. Southern Border and Other Immigration Issues

Washington, DC —This week, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), along with 13 partner organizations*, submitted a hearing request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to provide testimony during its 161 Period of Sessions on measures taken by the United States that impede access to asylum and interfere with the right to family life and other core human rights protections.

The testimony would address several issues, including turnarounds to Mexico of Central American and other migrants arriving to the U.S. southern border to legally seek asylum, the separation of asylum-seeking families after entry into the US, abusive conditions within Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facilities, and the expansion of immigration detention of asylum seekers, in some cases for prolonged periods of time, as a deterrent to future asylum seekers. 

The requesting organizations believe that this hearing is necessary to bring a number of illegal, unjust, and harmful policies and actions against asylum seekers to light. 

Women’s Refugee Commission Reacts to John Kelly Nomination

As the nomination process for John Kelly proceeds, the Women’s Refugee Commission is concerned that the potential head of Homeland Security may not be aware of or understand the stakes involved with deterring people from seeking protection at our borders.

Left Behind: Trump’s Immigration Plans Could Spur Uptick in Foster Care Numbers

President-elect Donald Trump made clear in a recent interview that he plans to deport between two and three million undocumented immigrants, a drastic increase from current practice under which about 235,000 were sent away in 2015.

Many of the people being deported will be parents of children who are U.S. citizens, born into the rights and protections of this country. Child welfare and immigration reform advocates fear that the surge in deportation will prompt a spike in foster care admissions for children in this circumstance.

Women’s Refugee Commission Re-Releases Resources for Families Facing Deportation and Separation

Washington, DC -- This morning, the Women’s Refugee Commission re-released guides for safety planning and child welfare for families facing deportation on Facebook and Twitter. The documents provide tools for preventing family separation, resources for families caught between the immigration and child welfare systems, and a comprehensive approach to the question on the lips of every mother facing deportation: "What about my children?"

The safety planning document, parental interest fact sheets, and toolkit for the detained or deported can be found at the links below:

Women’s Refugee Commission Recommendations for the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges: Children on the Move

The mission of the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) is to improve the lives and protect the rights of women, children, and youth displaced by conflict and crises. We welcome the emphasis on Children on the Move at this year’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges and the central role that young people themselves will have during the Dialogue. This underscores the importance of consulting directly with children and adolescents to understand their specific protection concerns and proposed solutions. We hope the Dialogue will result in a collective commitment to concrete actions that will improve protection for children on the move.

Calls for Obama to FREE thousands of asylum seekers from Central America so Trump can't deport them when he becomes President

The senior program officer at the Women's Refugee Commission, Katharina Obser, wrote last week: 'Undoubtedly, the results of Tuesday’s election have changed what it means to be an immigrant, refugee, and asylum seeker in the United States.

‘Given the rhetoric of deportation and exclusion that were often at the heart of the Trump campaign’s promises on immigration policy, we sincerely hope that those promises will not turn out be the reality of a Trump Administration.’

Calls for Obama to FREE thousands of asylum seekers from Central America so Trump can't deport them when he becomes President

Immigration advocates are calling on Barack Obama to free around 4,000 Central American families currently detained in the US while seeking asylum. The advocates want the families to either stop being detained altogether or for them to be released with a notice to appear before a judge, Bloomberg reports. Representatives from groups such as the Women’s Refugee Commission and the American Immigration Lawyers Association met with White House officials last week to discuss the issue. The Central American women and children are currently being kept in low-security jail-like conditions in Texas and Pennsylvania.

Obama Urged to Free Asylum-Seekers Before Trump Takes Office

Representatives of groups including the Women’s Refugee Commission and the American Immigration Lawyers Association met with White House officials last week to discuss a host of immigration issues, including the fate of about 4,000 Central American detainees, some as young as two years old, who have fled violence in their home countries.

ICYMI: WRC Calls on President Obama to Ensure Protection of Asylum Seekers Before He Leaves Office

Washington, DC—The uncertainties of the incoming Trump Administration loom especially large for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the United States. Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump’s rhetoric was characterized by exclusion, deportation, and an uptick in “law and order,” striking fear in the hearts of women and families that have fled to the US from unlivable circumstances. The Women’s Refugee Commission believes that prior to Trump’s transition, President Obama has a chance to ensure that American values are upheld and innocent asylum seekers are protected.

A Call to President Obama: Ensure the Protection of Asylum Seekers Before the Trump Administration Takes Over

Undoubtedly, the results of Tuesday’s election have changed what it means to be an immigrant, refugee, and asylum seeker in the United States. Given the rhetoric of deportation and exclusion that were often at the heart of the Trump campaign’s promises on immigration policy, we at the Women’s Refugee Commission sincerely hope that those promises will not turn out be the reality of a Trump Administration.

Immigration And Border Security Top President-Elect Trump's To-Do List

Donald Trump told CBS he plans to build a barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border. Adding he's not going to round up all unauthorized immigrants as he vowed during the campaign — just the law breakers.

Seeking asylum in U.S. immigration courts is a lot like playing roulette

Katharina Obser at the Women’s Refugee Commission in New York said that eliminating immigration detention altogether could make it easier for asylum applicants to find an attorney and prepare for the legal process.

“To [go through the process] alone, without the assistance of an expert immigration attorney, it’s nearly impossible,” Obser said. “It is such a complicated process that, often, people are forced to navigate on their own without speaking English and without having access to even basic legal information, let alone being able to prepare a legal case in front of an immigration judge where there is opposing counsel.”