The Trump Administration Is Giving Migrant Parents An Impossible Ultimatum

They fled violence only to have their children taken from them. Now, the Trump administration is telling them to leave with or without them.

Ever Castillo, left, and his family, immigrants from Honduras, are escorted back across the border by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Hildalgo, Texas. The parents were told they would be separated from their children and voluntarily crossed back to Mexico after trying to seek asylum in the United States. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Ever Castillo, left, and his family, immigrants from Honduras, are escorted back across the border by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Hildalgo, Texas. The parents were told they would be separated from their children and voluntarily crossed back to Mexico after trying to seek asylum in the United States. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Rantt Rundown: Day 530 of the Trump presidency

The Scoop: NBC News obtained a copy of a government form that issued new instructions to border patrol agents. The asylum seeking parents from Central America who have been separated from their children are now faced with two choices: be reunited with your child and return to the violence-plagued country you are fleeing or continue to seek asylum and remain separated from your child…and you still have to return to your country while you await a decision on your asylum claim. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) form reportedly contains the following options for migrant parents to sign:

  1. “I am requesting to reunite with my child(ren) for the purpose of repatriation to my country of citizenship.”
  2.  “I am affirmatively, knowingly, and voluntarily requesting to return to my country of citizenship without my minor child(ren) who I understand will remain in the United States to pursue available claims of relief.”

Immigrant rights activists are panning this as a direct attempt to deter asylum. Couple this policy with the policy Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reportedly considering, and you have an administration who is seeking to end asylum as we know it. Vox reported:

The Department of Justice, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is drafting a plan that would totally overhaul asylum policy in the United States.

Under the plan, people would be barred from getting asylum if they came into the US between ports of entry and were prosecuted for illegal entry. It would also add presumptions that would make it extremely difficult for Central Americans to qualify for asylum, and codify — in an even more restrictive form — an opinion written by Sessions in June that attempted to restrict asylum for victims of domestic and gang violence.

Context: President Trump’s June 20th, Executive Order rolled back some of his own administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. The EO prevented new asylum-seeking families from being separated, and Border Patrol was later returned prosecutorial discretion when it comes to immigrant families. A June 26 federal court decision required that the over 2,500 children (we’ve learned of even more being separated through the 2017 pilot program) who were separated from their parents be reunited with their parents. Also on June 26, the Department of Health and Human Services claimed they have 2,047 children still in their custody…they’ve since stopped releasing data on the children.

What’s Next? It appeared indefinite migrant internment camps is what comes next, with the Trump administration reportedly preparing to house over 100,000 migrants on military and naval bases. But on Monday, a federal judge in DC blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to systematically detain these migrant families and called for them to abide by prior government policy and release asylum seekers when appropriate. In the past, migrants who were awaiting a hearing on their asylum claim were released and/or put on ankle bracelets. It appeared effective given the fact a U.S. Government Accountability study found that 95% of migrants who were detained at the border and given ankle bracelet returned for their court date. It’s unclear exactly what will happen next given these legal challenges, but the Supreme Court might have to make some decisions if the Trump administration challenges these rulings in the future…a Supreme Court which looks set to obtain another conservative Justice.

In other news…

The Trump administration said Tuesday that it was abandoning Obama administration policies that called on universities to consider race as a factor in diversifying their campuses, signaling that the administration will champion race-blind admissions standards.

Now, BuzzFeed News has obtained documents reconstructed by the FBI. A close examination shows that the records are a combination of documents that prosecutors already had, handwritten notes about a taxi business, insurance papers, and correspondence from a woman described in court filings as a “vexatious litigant” who claims she is under government surveillance.

Rundown // Donald Trump / Government / Immigration