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Cruel and Unusual Punishment at the Southern Border

This blog was written by Ivan, an Fall 2018 intern at our Center.

Earlier this year in April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will enact a “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. This decision was made in response to a report from the Department of Homeland Security that showed an increase in illegal border crossings from March 2017 to March 2018. In spite of the Trump Administration and Session’s constant rhetoric of “keeping families at the border together,” new reports indicate that from May to June more than 2,500 children were separated from their parents following Session’s zero-tolerance immigration policy. Many children remain caged in detention, shelters, and foster care unaware of their fate. Recently, in September, migrant children in Tornillo, Texas were moved to another detention facility in the middle of the night.

To make matters worse, the Trump Administration just declared that deported parents can lose custody of their children to foster parents, according to an investigation by the Associated Press (AP). According to the AP, there is a disconnect between state and federal authorities that could allow state judges to grant custody of children to foster families without even notifying the parents. One has to ask, is this constitutional? What happened to “we’re going to keep families together?” Undoubtedly, Trump’s immigration policy has resulted in a humanitarian crisis coupled with a series of constitutional violations, including forcing parents to sign waivers agreeing to leave their children behind. At this pace, undocumented children will be used as slave workers, all legal under constitutional law it seems.

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