In the earlier months of 2018, the Trump administration had ordered the separation of hundreds of families at the southern border. Many of these families were attempting to seek refuge in a land of opportunity and to rid themselves of the evils that they had encountered in their homelands. However, in an attempt to reach the land of the free, they were halted at the border and prosecuted under the administration’s “zero-tolerance policy.” Since past laws have prohibited children from being prosecuted at the border, children have inevitably been separated from their families.
In June, the Trump administration ordered the permanent stoppage of the separation of families at the border, under the direction of Judge Dana Sabraw. Judge Sabraw of California has been overseeing the ongoing lawsuit between the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the government. In response to the unethical separation at the border, he had determined that the Trump administration must reunite all children under the age of five with their families by July 10 and all children over the age of five with their families by July 26. The Trump administration did not adhere to either of the two deadlines, which has left hundreds of helpless children alone without their families.
As of August 31, 2018, approximately 500 children remained separated from their families. These children were placed in U.S. government-funded shelters and have been forced to remain there alone. According to the Washington Post, many of the parents of these children were deported during the earlier stages of the “zero-tolerance policy.” Many Justice Department lawyers are scrambling to find the children’s parents by cold-calling phone numbers of rural Central American villages and seeking the help of church pastors and schoolteachers. Those within the villages are assisting the United States government by relaying the messages on local radio stations, distributing posters around the villages, and creating Spanish-language hotlines.
In the midst of the chaos, government officials allege that they are rapidly trying to reunite the children with their families. These lawyers are also attempting to bring some of the previously deported parents back into the United States to seek residency here. Other Justice Department lawyers claim that there are some children that have expressed interest in going back to their home countries to be with their families. However, they are unable to be sent back under temporary court orders that have barred their deportation.
Facing deportation, separation at the border or another immigration issue can be taxing on an individual’s well-being. If you or a loved one is a non-citizen and are concerned about immigration issues that you may be facing, it is imperative that you consult an experienced New York immigration lawyer who can advise you of your legal rights and potentially help you find available pathways to legal residency and citizenship. The New York immigration lawyers at Bretz & Coven, LLP have years of experience representing clients in complex immigration cases. With two immigration law offices located in New York City and Clark, New Jersey, the firm’s attorneys are available to assist individuals throughout the tri-state area with their immigration matters. For more information or to schedule a consultation with our New York City immigration lawyers, call (212) 267-2555 or fill out our contact form.