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US plan to separate refugee kids, parents ‘devastating’

US plan to separate refugee kids, parents ‘devastating’

Immigrant advocate groups warn the administration of US President Donald Trump against devastating effects of a new controversial plan that is being considered to separate children from parents, who were detained for “illegally” crossing border into America.

Under the plan that has not yet been made public, authorities would be allowed to separate children from parents, who are entering the US “illegally” or are seeking asylum.

The policy counsel for the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, Jessica Jones told The Independent on Friday that the plan is “incredibly concerning, just from a child welfare perspective, because it’s so traumatic for traumatic for these kids.”

The new measure would send parents to adult detention facilities, while their children would be placed in a juvenile shelter or with a “sponsor,” The New York Times reported previously.

If approved, it would also crack down on refugees who “illegally” send for their children. The rule would also target parents for deportation after they try to regain custody of their children from government shelters, according to The Washington Post.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) didn’t comment on the proposed plan, but said in a comment to the Post that “people aren’t going to stop coming unless there are consequences to illegal entry.”

The plan that has received White House support and has been approved by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), would drastically change the current policy, which attempts to keep families in tact while they await a decision from the government on whether they can stay in the country. It has been presented for approval to the DHS, administration officials said.

The measure, which is the most contentious ­plan among a series of Trump’s anti-refugee polices, however, seems not to be new, according to Jones, who said the Trump administration has already been separating families on occasion.

“We’ve seen several toddlers in recent months who were separated from their fathers, their mothers,” Jones said, explaining that children, especially those under five, experience a range of response when separated from their parents, including inconsolable crying, having trouble eating, and anxiety.

Back in November, American agents detained 7,018 families, or “family units,” along the border with Mexico, according the DHS latest figures..
Immigrant groups also warned that blocking refugee’s entry and separating families seeking asylum, would serve to push children and refugees into the hands of human smugglers and other criminals.

Several other groups filed a complaint earlier this month, saying they had documented at least 150 cases in which immigrant families arriving at the border had been separated.

They groups have also said that they will review any actual policy change, and warned to take any relevant legal action against the measures.

Trump has taken a hardliner stance on immigrants and asylum seekers, including a travel ban that targets citizens of mostly Muslim countries, including Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad as well as North Korea. Some groups of people from Venezuela area also included in the law.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on Friday evening that the third version of Trump’s proposed ban on citizens from Muslims-majority nations is beyond his legal authority.

www.chicagotribune.com

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