U P D A T E on ACLU lawsuits against ICE challenging child separations from parents.



(reported by www.propubica.org)


Beginning in April 2018, the Trump Administration ordered a Zero-Tolerance policy on migrants coming to the border.  The policy extended even to those persons fleeing terrorism and gender violence in their home country, migrants who properly present themselves to border officials invoking their right to refuge and protection under International human rights/asylum law.   Under the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, asylum seekers must show that they have a well-founded fear of persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political  opinion or membership in a particular social group, and are unable or unwilling to seek protection from the authorities in their home country.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency and Attorney General Jeff Sessions interpreted the Trump Administration Zero-Tolerance rule to require a) a presumption that every single person, even petitioners for asylum and protection, presenting themselves without proof of the right to be in this country is a criminal under federal law; and  b) that children and toddlers as young as 18 months with these presumed criminals at the time of arrest are to be held elsewhere while their parents face prosecution and deportation orders.  As implemented,  the policy has justified ICE raids in workplaces and neighborhoods and using racial profiling on workers and residents who are targeted, and asked for legal papers and then arrested if they have no such proof. Their children may be taken from them and placed in special shelters, including tent cities.     Thus, whether at the border by asylum seekers, or as the result of harassment, raids and racial profiling arrests by ICE, people are being arrested and underage children of such arrestees are being separated from their families and caretakers at record numbers.

By early June, 2018 reports indicated that at least 2,000 children are in detention because their adult relatives are presumed criminals.  For many the only crime is a plea for refuge and protection, for others it is the inability to qualify for legal residence.    The intent of the Trump policy has been to punish people who seek only to invoke their human right to travel, to shelter, to safety and protection. Because most arrests and raids focus on people migrating through Mexico there is an apparent racial/ethnic discriminatory impact on persons of color.


  1. Donate to the Cause of Challenging ICE POLICE: An article appearing in SLATE.COM lists numerous organizations that are helping immigrants and refugees whose rights have been violated by Trump’s Zero-Tolerance Policy:  See D.Lithwick and M. Schlanger, “Here’s How You Can Help Fight Family Separations at the Border: Lawyers, Translators, Donations, Protest,” (SLATE.COM) (JUN. 16, 2018). The list includes, ACLU, AILA (AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSN), RAICES, C.A.R.A, AL OTRO LADO, HUMAN RIGHTS FIRST, KIDS IN NEED OF DEFENSE, THE LEGAL AID JUSTICE CENTER, PUEBLO SIN FRONTERAS, TEXAS CIVIL RIGHTS PROJECT, TOGETHER RISING AND THE FLORENCE PROJECT.
  2. Volunteer at a detention center where lawyers are representing detainees.  If you are on Facebook, join the group @Lawyersforgoodgovernment.
  3. Many of the migrants whose children were taken by ICE were migrants seeking asylum. Learn more about the Credible Fear Interview.
  4. Notes by a volunteer lawyer for RAICES-TEXAS at Karnes Family Detention Center