Even though An executive order has been signed to end separation of families, Chicago Women Take Action will continue to work against any attempt to re-institute such a policy and we will fight for the reunification of families for children who have been separated from their parents. Continue to stay focused and know the issues.
Underlying Context and Substantive, Relevant Facts:
1.Where are Immigration detention centers located?
According to federal government data, Texas (15,852), California (6,527), Arizona (3,869), Georgia (3,717), and Louisiana (3,143) are the top five states with the largest number of people in U.S. immigration detention per day.
In Illinois we have the following Detention Centers :
Adult Correctional Facility:
Chicago Field Office: 2200 N. Seminary Ave. Woodstock, IL, 60098
Detention Center Chicago Field Office: 1026 Shawnee College Road Ullin, IL, 62992
Kankakee County Jail/Jerome Combs (IL
3000 S Justice Way, Kankakee, IL
With many being detained at
Kenosha County Detention Center
Chicago Field Office 4777 88th Street Kenosha, WI, 53144
2) Why are families being separated?
According to the statement by the current administration, families are being separated to protect children from abuse, neglect and trafficking as permissible by law.
These are some examples of legal authority recognizing its permissibility.
Courts have made clear that separation of family is not permissible absent a clear demonstration the parent is unfit, abusive or neglectful.Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U.S. 246, 255 (1978)
“The Due Process Clause would be offended if a State were to attempt to force the breakup of a natural family..without some showing of unfitness and for the sole reason that to do so was thought to be in the children’s best interest.” United States v. Loy, 237 F, 3d 251, 269-70 (3d Cir.2001)
However, According to leading immigration legal advocacy groups there has been no strong data as to how many children were taken from their parents due to evidence of such conditions stated above.
In fact according to the ACLU v ICE lawsuit filed in March of 2018, there have been numerous cases in which children have been taken from parents without any discussion or questioning that led to a conclusion that parents were unfit custodians. In fact in one of the cases involving a woman from Congo and her 7 year old daughter, both were separated for four months before a routine DNA was taken to show that the mother was indeed the parent and should not be separated from her daughter.
With the number being over 2,000 children being separated from their parents with an overwhelmingly low number if immigration judges to properly process these children in a timely manner, it is safe to assume that the children are being separated without due diligence and evidence that their accompanying adults are a threat.
These children are being separated from their families to deter the number of individuals who are crossing illegally across the border and discourage those who are seeking asylum.
The administration has put procedural protocols in place that make the process of seeking asylum extremely difficult in which the children are being used as tools to perpetuate a policy to decrease the flow of refugees.
Here is a great checklist below :
3) Do undocumented individuals have due process rights as provided by the Constitution and supported by Supreme Court decisions?
Yes. The Due Process applies to any “person,” not just citizens. The 5th amendment provides for due process of law.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
As ACLU v ICE lays out :
The Supreme Court has held that the Clause applies to all noncitizens.
“Aliens, even Aliens whose presence in this country is unlawful, have long been recognized as ‘persons’ guaranteed due process of law by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments” Pyler v. Doe, U.S. 202, 210 (1982)
“Even one whose presence in this country is unlawful, involuntary, or transitory is entitled to that constitutional protection.” Mathews v. Diaz, 426 U.S. 67,77 (1976)
The Supreme Court has recognized family unity as a core interest protected by the Constitution.
“There is a fundamental liberty interest of natural parents in the care, custody and management of their child”. Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 753 (1982)
Therefore, keeping families together is a fundamental right for asylum seekers and undocumented children and is protected by the Constitution.
4) Does the administration’s argument that children need to be separated so that adults can be prosecuted stand?
Yes and No. It is argued that in order to prosecute an adult, they cannot be accompanied with a child. However there is a process to be in place that was outlined in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 that screens minors who are alone within 72 hours, places them with the Office of Refugee Resettlement ideally with other family members in detention centers with least restrictive means.
In the current situation children are taken away from parents without warning, held for far more than 72 hours and there are many situations in which parents do not know where they are.
5) What are the Legislative/Litigatory Responses that are in process right now?
A. ACLU vs ICE Lawsuit that calls for an injunction of separation of families immediately.
B. HR 3923 – Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act of 2017
C. (DONE- Detention Oversight not Expansion) Act(S. 2849/H.R. 5820)
6) Does ICE have any protocols that it is supposed to follow already?
Yes. ICE created a Parental Directive about 2 years ago. But Immigration advocacy groups report that the process has not been followed in a majority of cases. The directive was meant to provide safeguards to minors who are LPR or US Citizens in detention centers through deportation hearing, prosecution processes but it also gives ICE agents discretion to make decisions on a case by case basis holding the safety of ICE agents of the highest priority.
7) Calls to Action – What can you do in Illinois?
A. Call Legislators in IL counties where detention centers are held to visit and keep an eye on the conditions where people are detained.
B. Call on ICE to follow its Parental Directive and educate advocacy groups of its existence.
C. Call Congressional Reps to ask for a hearing on the policy of separation of families in the Homeland Security Committee and the Judiciary Committee.
D. Educate legislators and communities on the National Crime Information Center,( a database that holds information on stolen properties, outstanding warrants etc) which serves as a loophole to the sanctuary cities protection requiring Illinois State Police to call ICE in case such a person is stopped even for a traffic offense.
E. Support ICDI as they support individuals in detention. They allow people to help such as accompanying people in detention, post detention, court watch and advocacy. https://www.icdichicago.org/
Maaria Mozaffar Chicago Women Take Action, Committee Co-Chair
Principal Attorney, The Law Office of Maaria Mozaffar
Legislative Attorney, Cair Chicago
Founder, Skinless Project