After falsely blaming ‘the law’ for family separation for several weeks, the Trump Administration relented to mass political pressure and the president signed an unnecessary order to stop the policy. While the end of family separation is a major victory for human rights important, sadly, the Trump Administration is planning on replacing separation with another inhumane policy: indefinite detention.
On June 29th, 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ), led by President Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions, filed a court document that stated that the U.S. government is now planning on holding families together in detention through the full length of their immigration case. In this post, our Los Angeles immigration lawyer explains what this bad policy means for migrant families.
The DOJ is Responding to the Decision of a California Federal Judge
In the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, Judge Dana M. Sabraw issued a preliminary injunction halting family separation, and ordering the United States government to reunite all children who have been previously separated. Under the ruling, children under five must be reunited within 14 days, and other children must be reunited in 30 days. Jeff Sessions’ DOJ responded to this ruling by stating that the Administration plans to use indefinite detention as a substitution for family separation.
Asylum Cases Can Takes Months (or Longer) to Get Through the System
In some ways, indefinite detention of migrant families is what the Trump Administration has wanted all along. Previously, the belief was that the ‘Flores Settlement’ put limits on how long minors could be detained by U.S. immigration officials. The Trump Administration asserts that it plans to test this, exploiting this court ruling to attempt to carry out the long-term detention of families.
This is a serious problem. The immigration system can move slowly, especially in complex asylum cases. Further, there is a huge backlog in U.S. immigration courts. This means that it can take many months (or longer) for an asylum case to get through the legal process.
The United States Does Not Have the Capacity for Indefinite Detention
Indefinite detention of migrant families is a moral problem regardless of the specific circumstances of the detention. However, in this case, it is especially bad because the U.S. government lacks the facilities to offer migrant families a safe and healthy environment. Currently, officials are scrambling to find facilities for long-term detention. The situation is so bleak that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has asked the Pentagon to assist by getting beds for migrant families ready at U.S. military bases.
We Support Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles, CA
At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our law firm is dedicated to providing the best legal services to immigrants in Southern California. If you or your family member needs any type of immigration law help, please do not hesitate to contact us today at (213) 262-2000. We offer fully confidential immigration law consultations.