TRUMP ADMINISTRATION REPORTEDLY PLANNING DEPORTATION OF DREAMERS WHILE CONTINUING IMMIGRANT CHILD SEPARATION

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[Immigration\DACA\Child Separation]
Acting ICE Director Matt Albence confirmed the Department of Homeland Security will pursue deportations for Dreamers.
The Trump Administration separated more than 3,000 children from their families before a federal court halted mass separations in June 2018 and ordered the Administration to reunite the children with their families if possible.
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FWD.us President Todd Schulte issued the following statement today after Acting ICE Director Matt Albence confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security will pursue deportations for Dreamers if “DACA is done away with by the Supreme Court”:

“In an era of 30-second news cycles, we urge everyone to focus on this breaking news: Acting Director Albence’s comments make crystal clear that ICE is actively preparing to deport hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients if the Supreme Court allows President Trump to terminate the program. This is in direct contradiction to the assumptions and statements of some Members of Congress and a number of Supreme Court Justices who wrongly believe Dreamers won’t be at risk for deportation.

“ICE has made it clear that this belief of these lawmakers and justices is absolutely wrong. Contrary to the assumption expressed by Chief Justice Roberts at the DACA oral argument in November--that ‘[b]oth [the Obama and Trump] administrations have said they’re not going to deport the people’--it is now clear that the Trump Administration plans to deport DACA recipients if the Supreme Court allows it to do so. We have already seen efforts to go after some DACA recipients by reopening deportation cases even if the individual’s DACA status has not lapsed. The Acting ICE Director’s statements make it crystal clear that not only would nearly 700,000 DACA recipients lose their ability to work legally and be subject to immediate deportation if DACA ends, but that ICE would act purposefully to arrest and deport DACA recipients.

“As we await a ruling from the Supreme Court, the urgent threat facing nearly 700,000 DACA recipients and their families is real. Terminating DACA will have massive and devastating consequences.”

Background

On January 23, Acting ICE Director Albence Matt Albence confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security will pursue deportations for Dreamers if “DACA is done away with by the Supreme Court.” At a media briefing, Albence said, "Those individuals may have DACA, but that doesn’t prevent us from going through the removal process, such that... if they get ordered removed, and DACA is done away with by the Supreme Court, we can actually effectuate those removal orders."

Notably, during oral arguments at the Supreme Court in November, some Supreme Court Justices made it clear that they believed President Trump’s assurances that ending DACA would not mean deporting Dreamers. Chief Justice John Roberts said, “Both administrations have said they’re not going to deport the people.” This is simply untrue and runs counter to what Acting Director Albence confirmed on January 23 as quoted above.

Yesterday, in immigration-related news,  Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and Rep. Jamie Raskin sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requesting documents and information related to recent news that the Trump Administration has continued to separate hundreds of additional immigrant children from their parents.

The new separations appear to follow an opaque process and vague standards that may be causing many children to be separated unnecessarily,” Maloney and Raskin wrote.

The Trump Administration separated more than 3,000 children from their families before a federal court halted mass separations in June 2018 and ordered the Administration to reunite the children with their families if possible. In May 2019, then-Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan testified that ongoing child separations are “extraordinarily rare.”

Yet, a court recently found that the Administration “separated nearly 1,000 migrant families at the border” in the 12 months following the June 2018 court order ending zero tolerance.

“The separation of even a single child from their parent is likely to cause deep and lasting trauma,” Maloney and Raskin continued. “Separation should only occur in those exceedingly rare circumstances in which it is truly necessary to protect a child, and only following a rigorous, transparent process.”

Acting Secretary McAleenan testified before the Committee that separations “are carefully governed by policy and court order” to ensure the separation is “in the interest of the child.” However, according to sworn declarations filed by independent experts, the Administration has separated children based on mere allegations rather than convictions, minor or nonviolent convictions, extremely old convictions, non-serious medical issues, unsubstantiated doubts about parentage, and subjective judgments about parental fitness.

DHS has stated that the Administration is continuing to separate children from their families based on “interim guidance” sent to the heads of Border Patrol and the Office of Field Operations within Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on June 27, 2018.

This two-page document provides CBP personnel wide discretion to separate children when they arrive at the border. It states that the Administration “may” separate children based on several factors, including if the parent is being prosecuted for a felony, “presents a danger to the child,” has a “criminal conviction(s) for violent misdemeanors or felonies,” or has a “communicable disease.”

The Committee is deeply concerned by the number of separations the Trump Administration is causing, the lack of clear and transparent processes, the inadequate justifications for taking children away from their families, and the ongoing inability to track and reunify families,” wrote Maloney and Raskin.

Maloney and Raskin requested that DHS provide information on all separated children, the process and justification for separating children, and how DHS plans to track separated children and reunify families by February 6, 2020.

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