Monday 15 October 2018
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3 months ago

ICE Agents Use Deception, Coercion Against Migrants

Expand Children are escorted to the Cayuga Center, which provides foster care and other services to immigrant children separated from their families, in New York City, U.S., July 10, 2018. © 2018 Reuters/Brendan McDermid A month after President Donald Trump reversed his abhorrent policy of forcibly separating migrant families at the border, its consequences continue – harming the mental health of children and parents, impeding migrants’ legal options, and undermining their legitimate right to seek asylum. Parents are being asked to make decisions under unimaginable circumstances. “The officials told me I would have to do an [asylum] interview in the next few weeks … but right now all I can think about is how my daughter is and when I’ll see her,” Jessyca, from El Salvador, who was separated from her 9-year-old daughter more than a month ago. Some parents told me immigration officials pressured them to waive their right to claim asylum, falsely promising they’d have their children back sooner. “‘You don’t want to have your son back?’” an immigration official told Edwin, from Honduras, when he said he wanted to see an immigration judge. After the official pressed him repeatedly, Edwin said, he signed where the official pointed. And as immigration officials shuffle parents and their children from one detention center to another, it increases the risk families won’t get the information and legal support they need to make critical decisions. This week, I witnessed ICE agents at a Texas detention center pull a woman from an interview room as she was talking to her lawyers about the abuses she suffered in Honduras, saying she could come back after an urgent meeting. They officials later admitted that instead of a meeting, they took her to another detention center without allowing her to finish her conversation with the lawyers or retrieve the documents she’d been showing them. Federal judg

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