- REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
- The Department of Homeland Security is considering adopting a proposal that would see immigrant parents separated from their children when caught crossing the US-Mexico border illegally.
- Immigration advocates have decried the plan as inhumane and cruel to families, but some Trump administration officials reportedly see it as a necessity to dissuade illegal immigration.
The Trump administration is reportedly considering a controversial plan to deter illegal immigration by separating immigrant parents from their children when they are caught crossing the border illegally.
Under the new policy, immigrant parents would be sent to adult detention facilities and their children placed either in juvenile shelters or with a “sponsor” who is typically a US relative, The New York Times reported on Thursday, citing Homeland Security and White House officials who were briefed on the plan.
The plan would also see immigrant parents targeted for deportation if they are already living in the US illegally and send for their children to join them, according to The Washington Post.
The proposal has reportedly already been approved by the DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, but awaits final approval by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
This is not the first time the White House has considered splitting up immigrant families who cross the border illegally. Former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who is now President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, said in March he was considering a similar plan, but stopped short of implementing it after backlash from immigration advocates.
But the plan has been resurfaced now after the amount of families captured illegally crossing into the US jumped 45% in November from the previous month, according to statistics from the Customs and Border Protection agency.
But Homeland Security spokesman Tyler Houlton told The Times that parents who attempt migration to the US accompanied by their families are themselves subjecting their children to cruelty. The route from Central America to the US-Mexico border is notoriously lethal, due not only to harsh environmental conditions but kidnapping, rape, and human smuggling.
“The dangerous illegal journey north is no place for young children and we need to explore all possible measures to protect them,” Houlton said.