Immigration Agents Separating Parents and Children

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin P.C. Assist Immigrants Applying to be a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States.According to some immigrant activists, federal immigration officials are breaking up families to send a message to those seeking asylum in this country. Where border crossers were historically sent back to their countries of origin, federal agents under the current administration have begun prosecuting migrant parents with the federal crime of entering the United States illegally. Once an immigration matter becomes a criminal case, parents and children can be separated.

Before the current administration, migrant families were generally processed by immigration courts and either detained together or released and ordered to appear in court at a later date. Shortly after taking office, the President vowed to end this process, calling it nothing more than, “catch and release.”

One Brazilian mother, known as Jocelyn, entered the United States last year with her 14 year-old son, hoping to flee domestic abuse at the hands of her husband. She entered the United States near El Paso and turned herself in to Border Patrol with a plan to apply for asylum.

Jocelyn was instead charged with a misdemeanor and her son was sent to a shelter in Chicago. In the days leading up to their separation, she was not told where he was going, but was simply told not to worry. She has spoken with her son on the phone four times since they were separated.

Cases Like This May be Common

Few immigration officials are willing to go on record acknowledging that the separation of families is common practice. They will only say they are willing to use all legal tools available to deter unlawful immigration. Activists say criminalizing people who cross the border traumatizes families and prevents their access to the asylum process. Others argue that criminal charges are a necessary and effective deterrent that actually protects children from dangerous smugglers.

Immigration activists say they are confused about how parents with children seeking asylum are to be handled going forward because the guidelines are still unclear. They say criminalizing immigration is dangerous because it may encourage some parents to plead guilty against their best interests so they can be reunited with their children more quickly.

Some migrant advocates have already sued in federal court, asserting that immigrants who are in fear of returning to their homelands should be referred to an asylum officer and be heard by immigration judges – as dictated by federal law.

In response to the separations of parents and children, a group of 75 congressional Democrats led by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard submitted a letter to the Department of Homeland Security calling for immigration officials to clarify their policies.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Protect those Seeking Asylum in the U.S.

With these new changes, many parents seeking asylum are afraid or prosecution and separation from their children indefinitely. But help is available. The Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. work tirelessly to help families access the immigration system and pursue asylum status while keeping their families together. To discuss your situation with a multilingual Philadelphia immigration lawyer, call 215-925-4435 or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Center City Philadelphia, where our attorneys are proud to serve clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania including those Bala Cynwyd, Merion Station, Darby, Wynnewood, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, Narberth, Cheltenham, Clifton Heights, Lansdowne, Glenolden, Drexel Hill, and Elkins Park.