WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us today released a new report, The Trump Administration’s Separation of Families, highlighting the Trump Administration’s reliance on family separation policies to deter immigrants at our border and wreak havoc on communities throughout the interior of the United States. These policies have not only caused immense, lifelong pain for immigrants and their loved ones, but they are hugely unpopular among U.S. citizens across the political spectrum.
Throughout our nation’s history, many of our worst moments have come with the separation of families — be it through the enslavement of millions, the separation of indigenous children from parents, or in the modern systems of mass incarceration. President Trump took a long broken immigration system and weaponized it. His deliberate policies to use family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border and efforts to ramp up deportations across the country has further devastated countless families and communities across the U.S.
The new report is the second installation in a new four-part series detailing the devastating human, economic, and political consequences of President Trump’s unfounded attacks on immigrant families and communities over the last four years.
Beginning in the first months of his Administration, President Trump issued a series of executive orders that removed all enforcement priorities and ensured that virtually every undocumented person became a priority for removal. This and other deliberate policy decisions, including travel bans and large scale workplace raids, were an attempt to deter families from seeking asylum at the border. This tactic ripped more than 5,000 children from their parents’ arms and pushed mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons into mass detention centers, which remain unsafe, crowded, and deadly – even moreso in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the violence it enacts on our communities and loved ones, family separation is also largely unpopular amongst U.S. citizens, more than 8 million of whom live with undocumented family members, according to a study by the University of Southern California’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration and the Center for American Progress. Hundreds of thousands of immigrant and mixed-status families have been forcibly and violently separated because of President Trump’s border and interior enforcement policies, making this one of the more far-reaching and destructive political moves of this Administration.
“Family separation never stopped, it continues happening today,” said FWD.us Vice President Alida Garcia. “Not just at the border, but across the country. To tens of thousands of families who have been ripped apart by this Administration’s immigration agenda. Many will never be able to be reunited. And we have seen time and again, that these actions have never been about public safety or the health of our communities. Recent reports indicate that Vice President Pence overruled doctors at the CDC to enact draconian border policies that separated families and blocked thousands of people from accessing humanitarian relief. We must never forget the devastating human impact of these deliberate policies, and as we approach the second Presidential debate, it is crucial that we hold President Trump accountable for his actions over the last four years.”
There are more than 8 million U.S. citizens in the U.S. who share a home with an undocumented family member, and nearly 6 million of them are U.S.-citizen children. These policies designed to deport as many undocumented immigrants as possible have brutalized immigrant families and communities, and hurt the economy – and continue to be rejected by Americans across the political spectrum.
“These attacks on immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees at the border and throughout the interior of the United States are part of this country’s long history of separating families through enslavement and incarceration in both the criminal legal and immigration systems,” said FWD.us Immigration Research Manager Nezly Silva. “The American public is not interested in reliving that part of our history, and approximately 300,000 people across the country took to the streets to protest during the height of the ‘zero-tolerance’ policy in 2018. This will be yet another ugly stain on President Trump’s legacy in office, with the devastating consequences of these policies stretching out across the country–in many of our homes–regardless of immigration status.”
The Trump Administration’s family separations have been wholly rejected by the American public, religious leaders, and policymakers on both sides of the aisle. During the height of the ‘zero-tolerance’ policy, approximately 300,000 people across the country took to the streets to protest the cruel policy, and polling has consistently shown that the overwhelming majority of Americans of all backgrounds reject the policy. Several senior Republicans spoke out against it, including the late Sen. McCain, who called it “an affront to the decency of the American people.”