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Putting Children at Risk When a Parent Is Detained

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Originally published by The New York Times

As Arrests Surge, Immigrants Fear Even Driving” (front page, Nov. 26) shines a spotlight on the nightmare that is life for immigrants under the Trump administration.

Given the administration’s indiscriminate expansion of Immigration and Customs Enforcement activities, it is more critical than ever that government personnel be directed to use discretion when the apprehension of a parent places a child at risk. More than five million children in the United States have at least one undocumented parent, and 4.1 million of those children are American citizens.

When a parent is taken into custody, immigration officials must ensure that detained parents can communicate with their children and make arrangements for their long-term care.

In the past, ICE used discretion and developed policies — such as the 2013 parental interests directive — to ensure that immigration enforcement did not endanger children and permanently separate children from their parents. It is imperative that ICE shows the same common sense now. Destroying families does nothing to make us safer.

MICHELLE BRANÉ, WASHINGTON

The writer is migrant rights and justice director at the Women’s Refugee Commission.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/opinion/immigrants-parents-children.html?mtrref=query.nytimes.com&assetType=opinion

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