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Families held in separate immigration detention centers

If family members find themselves facing jail time after entering the country, they could be held in separate facilities. Two separate departments handle the detention of adults and minor children, and people who enter the country together may be separated into far-apart immigration detention facilities. Recently, the ACLU has sued the U.S. Government, claiming that the practice is an unlawful separation of families. Under current policy, a person held in New York could be thousands of miles away from where a family member is being held. 

When some immigrant families enter the country, they seek asylum. If immigration services find that the individuals have entered the United States illegally, they may face a short jail term. During that time, some adults have been separated from their children. In one case, a woman was held in San Diego and her child was sent to Chicago. 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has not announced a formal policy to hold children separate from their parents, but they have a record of doing so. Government officials claim that children must be held separately so they can confirm that the child was in the care of a parent and is not a victim of traffickers. While U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement handles cases with adults, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services holds unaccompanied minors. 

The immigration detention policy will soon be reviewed when the case goes to court. Until then, families entering New York could potentially face separation. A person held in detention may feel that he or she could benefit from some extra help navigating the legal process. An experienced immigration attorney could provide guidance that would prove useful.

Source: Time, "ACLU Lawsuit Accuses Trump of Breaking Up Immigrant Families", Nomaan Merchant, March 9, 2018

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