Children are still being separated from their parents by the Trump administration

Written by: Sarah Barnes
Date Posted: August 2, 2019

More than 900 children have been separated from their parents at the U.S. border in the year since the Trump administration officially ended its “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in families being separated. According to the New York Times, these 911 children have been held in detention for an average of 68 days, and four of these children have been separated from their families for more than 300 days. More than half of the children were under the age of 10 when they were taken from their parents, and 185 children were 5 years of age or younger.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed documents in federal court this week documenting the administration’s continued actions to remove children from their families under the administration’s immigration policy. Children are being separated from their parents for minor occurrences such as an incidence of shoplifting on a parent’s record. The ACLU has asked a federal judge to rule that the administration may only take children from their parents when there is evidence that the child is in genuine danger. The current policy allows immigration officials broad discretion to separate families at the border.

We know that holding children in detention for any length of time, even with their parents, has significant and long-lasting consequences for the safety, health, development and well-being of children. We cannot undo the harm caused to children as a result of being separated from their parents and held in detention, but it is critical that these children be released from detention and reunited with their parents without delay, and it is imperative that the Trump administration immediately stop separating children from their families at the U.S. border.

If we want to live in a country where our own children feel safe and loved, then we must make it true for every child in our care—no matter their country of origin.

Sarah Barnes

About Sarah Barnes

Sarah serves as the Manager of Special Policy Initiatives for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. In this role, she works across the organization and with external stakeholders to develop and oversee the implementation of the Campaign’s engagement on strategic policy priorities Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign, Sarah taught middle school English and worked as an Interventionist at Pioneer Charter School in Denver. She was a 2011 Teach For America corps member.