Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

A new policy approved by ICE would separate families detained at the U.S.-Mexico border and target parents who try to retrieve their children from immigration detention centers. (Photo: @NIJC/Twitter)

'Beyond the Pale': Outcry as Trump Administration Considers Separating Immigrant Families at Border

"Cruelty as official government policy."

Julia Conley

Immigrant rights groups were outraged on Friday as reports surfaced that the Trump administration is considering a proposal to separate immigrant families who attempt to cross the U.S.-Mexico border—crossing a line that previous administrations have stopped short of even as they have attempted to cut down on immigration.

Families have generally been allowed to stay together in family detention centers under the current policy. The new proposal would see parents sent to adult facilities after being apprehended at the border while their children would be sent to juvenile shelters.

Undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. would also be singled out for deportation if they attempt to retrieve their children from detention centers, under the new rules.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have approved the plan, but Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has yet to sign off. John Kelly, who previously headed President Donald Trump's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and now serves as his chief of staff, pushed the idea earlier this year, but the administration backed off the plan due to a sharp decline in immigration after Trump entered office.

More than 29,000 people were apprehended by border patrol agents in November, up from about 11,000 in April.

Immigration advocates note that the proposal would be making official a practice that has already been in play along the border. Earlier this month, eight groups including the Immigration Justice Campaign filed a complaint regarding ICE's forcible separation of at least 150 immigrant families, some of whom had children as young as a year old.

"The practice of separating families at the border will cause family members—including parents with young children—to seek alternative ways of entering the United States, rather than presenting at a port of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border out of fear that they will be separated," wrote the groups. "As a result, vulnerable individuals desperate to avail themselves of humanitarian and legal protections may fall into the hands of unscrupulous smugglers."

On social media, critics expressed alarm at the proposal.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Arbitrary, Racist, and Unfair': Judge Blocks Biden From Ending Title 42

"Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling," said one migrant rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·

'This Is a War' for Democratic Party's Future, Says Sanders of AIPAC's Super PAC

"They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country," said the senator.

Julia Conley ·

Ginni Thomas Pressed Arizona Lawmakers to Reverse Biden's 2020 Win: Report

"Clarence Thomas' continued service on the Supreme Court is a scandalous and appalling breach of judicial ethics," said one observer. "He is implementing the exact same theories that his wife used to try to steal the 2020 election for Trump."

Brett Wilkins ·

Millions More Kids Going Hungry Since GOP, Manchin Killed Expanded Child Tax Credit

"Even brief disruptions in access to food can have lasting consequences," wrote the authors of a new analysis of worsening hunger among U.S. families.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo