*Practice limited to federal immigration law. Licensed in NY, MA, but not in CA.

Homeland Security Watchdog: The Trump Administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy Caused ‘Chaos’

Recently, we learned more about the immoral, poorly planned family separation policy that the Trump Administration put in place last spring. As U.S. government officials are still struggling to reunite families that were torn apart, a key government watchdog has issued a report highlighting major flaws in the Trump Administration’s handling of its zero tolerance immigration policy.

On September 27th, 2018, the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security released its Initial Observations Regarding Family Separation Issues Under the Zero Tolerance Policy. Here, our immigration lawyer in Los Angeles highlights three of the most notable findings from this 22-page report.

The Trump Administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy Was Flawed From the Beginning

1. The Administration Failed to Plan for the Consequences of the Policy

The Trump Administration’s zero tolerance policy was inherently flawed. The flaws were so deep that there was no way to execute this type of policy without serious problems. Even with that in mind, the Administration’s planning was exceptionally poor.

As American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney Lee Gelernt told reporters from USA Today, this report shows not just the cruelty of the Trump Administration’s policy, but also its “ineptitude and historic failure” in understanding and anticipating the effects of zero tolerance.

2. There Was Poor Communication Throughout Government Agencies

The communication between different government agencies was an outright disaster. This failure had terrible real world consequences for migrant families. Parents were separated from the children, and immigration enforcement agencies failed to leave a reliable paper trail. Migrants, many of whom were extremely vulnerable and were seeking asylum in the United States, were not informed where their children were being taken. They also were not told how to figure out how to locate the kids. Perhaps worst of all, U.S. immigration officials did not know how to locate these kids either. As an example, the OIG report notes that Border Patrol officers failed to provide pre-verbal children (mostly infants) with wrist bracelets or any other type of identification.

3. The Administration Was Indifferent to Harm Caused to Young Children

The OIG report demonstrates that the Trump Administration was largely indifferent to the harm family separation was causing young children. As the report notes, U.S. courts forbid immigration from detaining minors for more than 72 hours at a time. The OIG report determined that this regulation was violated in at least 860 different cases. One minor was confined in a cell for 12 days. Another child was detained for 25 days. U.S. officials failed to look out for the best interests of these innocent kids.

We Fight for the Rights of Immigrants in Southern California

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are committed to advocating for the rights and interests of immigrants throughout the Los Angeles metro area. If you or a loved one is in need of immigration law guidance, please do not hesitate to call us at (213) 262-2000 to schedule a fully confidential legal consultation.

Josh Goldstein
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