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: 1474289

Reported Deaths: 20385
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2021122504
Lake996361476
Allen909861007
Hamilton71271540
St. Joseph63433750
Elkhart48401623
Vanderburgh46765523
Tippecanoe42550330
Johnson37591519
Hendricks35518458
Porter34097464
Madison28261531
Clark25349321
Vigo25076343
LaPorte23079307
Monroe22397244
Howard21556372
Delaware21108365
Hancock18494218
Bartholomew17598212
Kosciusko17580201
Warrick16259212
Wayne15851300
Floyd15521252
Grant14992296
Morgan14070230
Boone13268136
Noble11509140
Dearborn11468112
Henry11427201
Shelby11276150
Marshall11115167
Dubois10954152
Jackson10280104
Cass10012142
DeKalb10005129
Lawrence9973220
Huntington9893139
Gibson9236125
Montgomery9105140
Knox8839124
Harrison8754111
Whitley850471
Steuben8403103
Jasper8125114
Putnam800497
Clinton800194
Miami7961133
Jefferson7663124
Wabash7651139
Ripley7053111
Adams6555101
Daviess6332127
Scott632686
White606581
Greene5958111
Clay592773
Decatur5843118
Wells5831120
Jennings578976
Fayette5687121
Posey535146
LaGrange517096
Randolph4972129
Washington487068
Owen484998
Fountain469079
Spencer441856
Starke435686
Sullivan433465
Fulton428290
Orange415182
Jay406464
Rush398737
Carroll374749
Franklin371250
Perry368755
Vermillion348762
Pike311345
Tipton309974
Parke308938
Pulaski269173
Blackford269055
Newton229559
Brown223654
Benton214821
Crawford213031
Switzerland192414
Martin184622
Warren170820
Union164419
Ohio120616
Unassigned0742

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2418722

Reported Deaths: 31245
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2613932065
Cuyahoga2576953018
Hamilton1679311714
Montgomery1114691604
Summit1070311391
Lucas899971160
Butler79406942
Stark750951400
Lorain63061792
Warren50411475
Mahoning49909915
Lake46923605
Clermont44079429
Delaware39138212
Trumbull38726755
Medina37708419
Licking37221408
Fairfield34115334
Greene32452422
Portage31473360
Clark30496445
Richland28493423
Wood27867297
Allen24603395
Miami23075395
Muskingum22525245
Columbiana22202403
Wayne21380356
Tuscarawas18940427
Erie18137222
Ashtabula17989342
Marion17633232
Scioto16712207
Ross16314252
Pickaway15631178
Hancock15407228
Geauga15281223
Lawrence13931186
Huron13460182
Union1340984
Belmont13369247
Jefferson12969258
Sandusky12862199
Athens11991106
Knox11595198
Seneca11540200
Ashland10830178
Darke10786198
Washington10644168
Auglaize10247142
Crawford9949175
Shelby9839157
Brown9507140
Fulton9310150
Guernsey9179117
Defiance9116135
Highland9100148
Logan9035142
Clinton8810127
Mercer8709111
Madison8654106
Preble8069162
Williams7937135
Putnam7780135
Ottawa7675121
Champaign7606112
Jackson7409117
Perry720798
Coshocton7076136
Morrow700182
Fayette670987
Hardin6251128
Pike621786
Gallia598191
Adams5844124
Van Wert5824121
Henry570793
Hocking5568104
Carroll4853100
Wyandot485290
Holmes4760161
Paulding404464
Meigs377473
Monroe300268
Noble281551
Harrison281361
Morgan278148
Vinton240845
Unassigned08
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