‘Minor Crimes’ Keep Asylum-Seekers Separated From Their Children

“The government immediately separated her from her three-year-old child, and that’s the way it’s been since May.”

August 7, 2018 7:23 am| ,

A federal judge’s deadline for reunification of immigrant families has come and gone, but hundreds of children are still separated from their parents. According to the ACLU, some of those parents are being kept from their kids because of what the organization calls “minor crimes.”

John Sepulvado, host for The California Report on northern California NPR member station KQED, told Texas Standard guest host Alana Rocha about a mother he met who entered the U.S. legally, seeking asylum. She and her two children, one of whom is a U.S. citizen, were traveled to San Diego.

“The government immediately separated her from her three-year-old child, and that’s the way it’s been since May,” Sepulvado says.

He says that the mother, called “M” to protect her identity, did not know where her child was for some time.

Sepulvado quotes a note M left for ICE officials. “‘I will like to get information about where is my daughter located…. She is three year old. They took her away from me. Thanks.’”

M did not learn of her daughter’s whereabouts for two weeks. The daughter, Sepulvado says, believed her mother was in the hospital. Social workers felt that telling the child her mother was ill would be easier on her than the truth – that her mother was detained.

Sepulvado says M’s separation from her child is related to a minor crime she is accused of committing. Neither Sepulvado or M’s lawyers know what she is charged with, he says. It’s possible the charge is drug-related, which is not grounds in California for separating a parent and child crossing the border to seek asylum.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.