Impossible Choices-Request for Asylum & Family Separation
After one month and one day of travel on foot, bus, train, and multiple shelters stop, the caravan of migrants seeking asylum to the United States completed their journey from Tapachula in the frontier with Guatemala, to the border of Mexico with the United States.
Correspondents from Noticiero Univision have been following the migrants and reporting on their journey. This Saturday, Univision reported that the last buses had arrived. Migrants were very tired yet willing and prepared to surrender to the United States authorities this Sunday.
A caravan coordinator, named Alex, told Univision that “migrants do not want to invade the United States as President Trump suggested, and a confrontation with the national guard would be unnecessary. They come to ask for asylum, a legal process that is founded in the law. It is not a crime to seek asylum when you surrender at the port of entry.”
Also meeting the migrants in Tijuana were a score of immigration lawyers from various parts of the United States who traveled to the area to advise migrants before surrendering. About 40 lawyers specializing in immigration law, crossed to Tijuana, Mexico, to meet with Central American migrants.
Nicole Ramos, an immigration attorney at the site, told Univision that most migrants wanted to know what detention would be like; who is at risk of being arrested; what happens with family separation, and how to prepare for possible separation from their children.
“We put our faith in God. And he will decide,” said a migrant woman while holding a small child.
Univision reported that there are 200 mothers and children waiting in line for immigration agents and that President Trump warned that if anyone presents a false or unsupported case for asylum they would face a trial, and be prosecuted for the maximum length of sentences.
The government will not extend the welcome mat to the Central Americans, stated Univision.
Attorney Erika Pinheiro told that the majority of women and children waiting to request asylum needed guidance to prepare mentally, and psychologically for detention.
Kevin de Leon (D) Senator from the state of California, defended the migrants’ right to request asylum arguing that in our country the laws are very clear on the subject, “if you are a victim of political persecution, or violence, you are eligible to apply for political asylum status.”
The author of the sanctuary laws of California, Senator de Leon told Univision that fear tactics are being used to as a tool to deny asylum.
Earlier in February, California State Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement relating to some recent developments in immigration enforcement:
· Tearing children from the arms of their mothers do not reflect the values of our nation or who we are as Americans.
· Children, like the 7-year-old girl taken from her mother at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, are being used as pawns by the Trump administration to discourage undocumented entries into the United States.
· The mother and her daughter fled violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Mexico and surrendered to immigration authorities at the U.S. border right near where I grew up. They were seeking asylum.
· While her mother is still detained in San Diego, the little girl is now being held at a youth center in Chicago thousands of miles away.
· The mother could hear her daughter screaming from another room, ‘Mommy, don’t let them take me!’
· Compassionless and callousness do not begin to describe the pain being inflicted on honest, hardworking families by President Trump and the zealots driving his immigration policies. This type of inhumane treatment, resembling that of a rogue nation, is now public policy for the United States of America.
Echoing Senator De Leon’s views, Christian Ramirez, who is running for city council of San Diego, argued that “we have a moral obligation to ensure that any person who is requesting refugee protection, can present their case before an immigration judge and that the authorities will fairly evaluate each case, before marking them as delinquents.”
The ACLU is also taking steps to fight against family separation at the border.
Marcia Facundo writes in Politica Para Mi, that the ACLU asked a judge in California to declare family separation an illegal practice. On Friday, the ACLU, sued the government of President Donald Trump for its policy of widely separating the families of immigrants seeking asylum in the United States.
Rex Huppke, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune stated that as part of the sworn statements, Michelle Brane, an attorney and director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission identified separation of parents from children at the border in at least 429 cases without allegation or showing that they had presented a danger to their child.