Immigration Law

The Use of Coercion by U.S. DHS Officials Against Parents Who Were Forcibly Separated From Their Children

American Immigration Council and AILA | August 23, 2018 - "This complaint contains 13 pseudonymized case examples and original testimony from parents who were separated from their children that show a pervasive, illegal practice by DHS officials of coercing mothers and fathers into signing documents they may not have understood. The cases also demonstrate how the trauma of separation and detention creates an environment that is by its very nature coercive and makes it extremely difficult for parents to participate in legal proceedings affecting their rights. The direct consequence of the coercion is that many parents were forced to waive their legal rights, including their right to be reunified with their children. The cases present powerful evidence of gross violations of due process committed by government officials that place into question the validity and fairness of legal determinations made by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, as well as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) asylum officers and the Immigration Court. The coercive environment created by family separation was so overpowering as to render many mothers and fathers unable to answer questions or even comprehend the purpose of credible fear interviews or the removal process overall. Coercion of noncitizens by immigration officials is a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution, federal statute, and regulations."

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