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New Policy Could Help Immigrant Parents

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August. 23, 2013

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, 213-674-2832, delatorre@nilc.org

New Immigration Enforcemenet Directive Could Help Immigrant Parents

Policy Will Not Prevent Family Separation Caused by Record-Breaking Deportations


WASHINGTON — Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced a new directive to the field to provide agents across the country with guidance to safeguard parents’ rights, and to ensure that parents are not unnecessarily separated from their children. The directive also creates a new position charged with overseeing the rights of parents. The new directive was issued after public outcry over news that thousands of parents in deportation proceedings have lost – or nearly lost – custody of their children. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Our immigration system has the potential to inflict terrible damage on our most vulnerable citizens: children. This new directive is a necessary step toward protecting family unity, and we welcome ICE’s efforts to ensure that parents are not torn away from their children during – and after – deportation proceedings. No father should be detained hundreds of miles away from his daughter, and mothers should not lose custody simply because ICE has barred them from attending vital family court proceedings or because they have been deported.

“This new directive, however, simply addresses the symptoms of what we all know to be a deeply broken immigration system. Today, thousands of children are growing up with the psychological trauma of having lost a parent to deportation. Thousands more live in fear that they will be without a mother’s hug or a father’s hand to hold, and that number swells each day that commonsense immigration reform is delayed. This new directive should underscore the need for all those in Washington to move quickly to create an immigration system that upholds our most dearly-held family values.”

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