Washington, D.C. — In light of new evidence that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen authorized the policy that forced family separation along the Southwest Border, legal and immigrant rights groups demand that DHS retract its unlawful ‘Myth and Fact Sheet‘ that falsely claims the Trump Administration did not implement a family separation policy. From May to June, more than 2,600 children were separated from their families by the Trump Administration. Hundreds of children have yet to be reunited.
In light of the filing, children separated from their fathers at the Southwest border send a message to President Donald Trump: “I want to send a strong message to Donald Trump to get us out of here, we want our freedom! We don’t want to be incarcerated any more.”
Earlier this year the groups challenged the Administration’s intentionally inaccurate claims under the Information Quality Act (“IQA”), a law requiring federal agencies to disseminate accurate and reliable information to the public. In failing to respond to the groups’ June 2018 petition, DHS has violated federal requirements, including its own guidelines.
When Sec. Neilsen affixed “her signature to [the DHS Zero Tolerance Memo], the separation of children from their parents became official Department policy and . . . it strains credulity for the Department to assert otherwise,” the groups’ letter asserts. “Moreover, even if the Department could set aside or explain away this mounting evidence (it cannot) . . . the hundreds of children who remain separated from their parents serve as a heart-rending reminder of the existence and consequences of the policy and the gravity of the Department’s lie.”
Fathers and sons detained together at the Karnes County Residential Center in Texas lend their voice as proof that the Trump Administration maintained a policy that has cruelly separated parents from their children. In speaking of the conditions in the detention facilities, a child was recorded telling interviewers that “we are suffering because we are incarcerated.”
Yesterday’s demand, filed on behalf of Americans for Immigrant Justice (AI Justice), Muslim Advocates, and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), highlights a newly released memo confirming that Sec. Nielsen and the Trump Administration approved a policy to force the separation of families at the border. The letter follows reports that the Trump Administration is again considering initiating a policy to separate children from their parents.
The initial letter was submitted on June 28, 2018. To date, DHS has failed to adhere to its own IQA guidelines, which require that the agency responds within 60 days of receipt of the request for correction.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.
December 7, 2018