DHS secretary clarifies circumstances for separating immigrant families

The Trump administration separates immigrant families only when it's necessary to protect the children, the secretary...

Posted: Apr 12, 2018 9:02 AM
Updated: Apr 12, 2018 9:02 AM

The Trump administration separates immigrant families only when it's necessary to protect the children, the secretary of homeland security said Wednesday, though she added that in at least one case the process "took too long."

Advocacy groups have been accusing the Department of Homeland Security of separating immigrant families in detention or as they await court proceedings, though there has been no clear evidence it is a widespread practice.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday at a hearing of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that there is no policy that encourages the separation of parents from their children as a punitive or deterrence measure -- and it happens only when there is doubt about whether an adult may really be a parent or legal guardian of the child they're with or when the child might be in danger.

"The standard is to -- in every case -- is to keep that family together as long as operationally possible," Nielsen said. "When we separate, we separate because the law tells us to, and that is in the interest of the child. ... Unfortunately, we have seen instances where traffickers have used children to cross the border and gain access illegally."

But Nielsen did say that in one high-profile case that generated a lawsuit, the process of verifying a familial relationship took longer than it should.

"In the Congolese case that you mentioned, it took too long," Nielsen told Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard of California, the top Democrat on the subcommittee, who brought up the case. Nielsen added that due to ongoing litigation she couldn't say more, "but it took too long, so we are looking at that particular case."

In that case, the American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of a Congolese woman who said she had been separated from her 7-year-old daughter for months. They were eventually reunited, and a DNA test confirmed the woman was the child's mother, according to court filings. The lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status, continues.

Nielsen also said the department is working with embassies and consulates overseas to help immigrants understand what protections they can apply for and to have the proper paperwork to verify they are families in advance.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
Putnam543268
Clinton537465
Whitley529354
Steuben501768
Wabash488692
Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
Ripley457777
Adams446068
Daviess4231108
Scott409165
Clay394957
White393858
Greene393392
Wells389884
Decatur388797
Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
LaGrange325175
Spencer321136
Fountain318455
Randolph317190
Sullivan309449
Owen287064
Starke282864
Fulton280454
Orange277859
Jay257038
Perry254152
Carroll245229
Franklin242838
Rush237030
Vermillion235050
Parke221420
Tipton212055
Pike211740
Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
Crawford147318
Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1390015

Reported Deaths: 21820
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1541781574
Cuyahoga1361632341
Hamilton989691326
Montgomery681371161
Summit569981051
Lucas51769869
Butler48139663
Stark42350983
Lorain32165539
Warren30497338
Mahoning27564643
Clermont26081297
Lake24873422
Delaware22600147
Licking20818246
Fairfield20789223
Greene20667275
Trumbull20378516
Medina20178290
Clark18235332
Richland16749236
Portage16442231
Wood15973209
Allen14405261
Miami14063261
Muskingum12976155
Wayne12234244
Columbiana12046242
Tuscarawas11248271
Marion10935150
Pickaway10642129
Scioto10585127
Erie9888171
Ross9648177
Lawrence8967125
Hancock8637143
Ashtabula8509187
Geauga8272156
Belmont8262188
Jefferson7736175
Huron7566131
Union743951
Washington7396126
Athens712065
Sandusky6984135
Darke6884137
Knox6839122
Seneca6533137
Ashland6078115
Auglaize596888
Shelby5845104
Brown578272
Mercer565890
Crawford5591117
Defiance5579101
Madison552171
Highland550982
Fulton543583
Clinton535781
Logan520587
Preble5123111
Putnam4909107
Guernsey487664
Williams469982
Perry464454
Champaign454964
Ottawa443584
Jackson436663
Pike400745
Morrow398251
Coshocton393669
Fayette385053
Adams371575
Hardin367570
Gallia356658
Holmes3326111
Henry331869
Van Wert321471
Hocking312370
Wyandot286058
Carroll267052
Paulding247443
Meigs223042
Monroe193149
Noble174442
Morgan170329
Harrison161741
Vinton141919
Unassigned05
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