DHS targeting parents and relatives of newly-arrived children

Using children to unwittingly turn in their parents is unconscionable. Threatening deportation. Threatening to charge parents with human smuggling—smuggling their own children. The Department of Homeland Security is taking advantage of children at their most vulnerable. They’re on their own. Running from dangerous situations, looking for the safety of family. And this is how we greet them. We should be trying to assist these children, not use them as unwitting informants.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security began a new scheme to arrest parents and other relatives of newly-arrived children. They are interviewing children when they arrive at the border, getting their parent’s addresses and sending ICE agents to apprehend them. The policy was foreshadowed in the Department of Homeland Security memo of February 20, 2017: Implementing the President’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies which said that ICE can initiate removal proceedings or criminal charges against any parent or other individual who arranges for a child to come to the U.S. It is common for parents to pay smugglers to bring their children to the U.S. They want their children to be safe. These people are now at risk of being arrested and charged with human smuggling—smuggling their own children.

DHS purports to be doing this to look out for the child’s welfare, but realistically this new policy will have a devastating effect on children who will be separated from their parents and family. What’s more, DHS is essentially using these children to unwittingly turn in their own parents—and this will haunt the children for a long time, especially if their parents are deported. Especially if their parents are jailed and sentenced.

So far, we’ve heard of a dozen cases—in Texas, California, Pennsylvania and New York. We are carefully monitoring the situation and will keep you updated. In the meantime, here are links to two articles: