Family separation at the border…Houston Chronicle

This excellent article presents the cruel reality of family separation now practiced by ICE and CBP with the willing participation of immigration judges.  This family’s experience shows how arbitrary asylum officers can be in a credible fear interview.  One member gets a positive credible fear determination, another with the same story is deemed negative. So much has to do with the situation of the interview… A detained person may not feel free or able to adequately describe what has happened. The document reproduced shows numerous errors of translation or transcription. There is no indication that this family has an advocate who could help to clarify this story or provide documents to corroborate the case.  News articles about the murder in El Salvador would have to be translated into English in order to be accepted as evidence in immigration court. The situation of gangs, military and police violence in El Salvador sounds too chaotic to be true to most Americans…even those officials trained to make these determinations. The mother is criminally charged, separated from her child and depressed. Is it any wonder that she cannot adequately explain the details of her case to a voice on a telephone?  She doesn’t even know where her child is, or if she will be sent back to El Salvador where she has nothing and lose custody of her child forever. Where she may not even survive.
In a legitimate process, the three members of this family would be able to seek asylum together since the dangers they face come from the same facts: the murder of their husband/father; the threats and retributions by both Salvadoran military officials and gangs. A person with expertise would explain the process, would counsel them. Instead, each person faces this confusing legal process alone; the mother is still detained and with a criminal charge in El Paso, she is unlikely to ever qualify for bond. She may not even have an asylum hearing as she did not pass her credible fear interview. In the El Paso immigration court, 98 percent of asylum cases are denied. With the criminal illegal entry charge, she may not even qualify for asylum.
Her adult son who passed his credible fear interview will have an asylum hearing in 2020 and can work. It is unclear if he has representation. A positive credible fear determination does not guarantee that he will be granted asylum. On the interview form (included at the link) the officer finds that there is “NO NEXUS” for his asylum claim… This means that his story does not indicate clear evidence that the persecution he suffered in El Salvador is due to his race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. However, his story is centered on the fact that his father was a military officer and was murdered by gang members due to actions he took as part of his job. Then the son was targeted and persecuted by both the military and the gangs. It is likely that an asylum attorney could establish the required nexus in this case.
Multiply this story (by hundreds? thousands?) and get an idea of the impact of a system designed to deport as many people as possible and to deny access to people with legitimate asylum claims. Separating families at the border is now deemed a legitimate practice by DHS to deter people from Central America trying to reach safety…many of them children. Instead of traveling with a parent, it is likely that many more will be handed over to human smugglers.
Go to the link to see the photos and the immigration documents included with this story. molly molloy

EL PASO – The boy was crying as federal agents ordered him into the government vehicle. Tell your mother goodbye, they said.

It was late October, and Blanca Vasquez and her 12-year-old son, Luis, had only been in the United States for a few hours. They had crossed the Rio Grande near El Paso, giving themselves up to Border Patrol agents to ask for asylum. A gang in El Salvador had murdered her husband, a military sergeant, and she said they were now after Luis.

For decades, hundreds of thousands of immigrant families from Central America, escaping gang violence and political persecution, have followed a similar path, relying on international treaties protecting those seeking asylum from being summarily turned away.

Vasquez figured she and Luis would be detained, or even released, while she fought for asylum. A 20-year-old federal settlement that bars the extended detention of migrant children would ensure they stayed together.

But that was then. This summer, the practice changed.



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