Awareness - December 14, 2023 - We Welcome

Awareness - December 14, 2023

Federal judge prohibits family separation at the border for eight years

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw approved a settlement between the Justice  Department and families who had been separated at the border, blocking a policy that was enacted during former President Donald Trump’s presidency from resuming. The policy was an attempt to use the separation of families to deter people from arriving at the border to make their asylum claims. The settlement prohibits the policy until December 2031.

The separation of thousands of families “represents one of the most shameful chapters in the history of our country,” Sabraw said. Judge Sabraw had ordered an end to family separations in June 2018, 6 days after then-President Trump had ended the policy himself in response to harsh international criticism. He also ordered that families be reunified within 30 days, which posed extremely difficult because government databases were not linked and children were scattered around the country in shelters, many not knowing either who their parents were or how to contact them.

There are still 68 children separated from their families under the policy who have not been located, so officials are unable to determine if they have been reunited with their families.

Flights resume for Afghan nationals to a military base overseas before resettlement

Afghan nationals are being flown to a U.S. base in Germany for the first time since 2021 while they wait for documents that will allow them to resettle in the U.S. According to a representative from the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt, the flights are part of an increased effort by the State Department to resettle Afghans who worked for the U.S. government, along with their families, but who have not yet received their special immigrant visas (SIV). The visas will only be issued to people who meet all resettlement requirements and who have provided “faithful and valuable service to the United States government,” the representative said. The state department's goal is to process the visas in less than 30 days.

DHS officials warn border policies being discussed by the White House and Congress could overwhelm the system

The Biden administration has signaled to Congress that it is willing to discuss the inclusion of new border policies in the supplemental funding package that would provide aid to Ukraine and Israel. These policies would dramatically expand detentions and deportations and would deny many migrants from seeking asylum by returning them to Mexico without asylum screenings.

Officials in the Department of Homeland Security have warned that the impact of these policies would overwhelm the system at the border. One official warned that detention centers would become so full that agents would be unable to continue apprehending migrants crossing the border. “Border Patrol would essentially have to take a knee and watch them walk by,” the official said.

In addition, denying people the ability to seek asylum goes against U.S. and international law. President Biden promised to restore “safe and orderly processing of asylum claims.” The administration’s willingness to discuss including these border policies goes against those promises. It is imperative that President Biden and our lawmakers respect the rights of all people. Learn more and remind President Biden to keep his promises at this link.