Under the Trump Administration, family separation and detention is occurring for families who “seek asylum in the US by crossing the border illegally” (Lind, 2018). Typically, the separated children are labeled as unaccompanied minors and sent to live under either foster care or government custody, while the parents are considered criminals and go to jail. The justification for this tactic is that, when the parent is tried and prosecuted under an immigration court and sent to prison, their children cannot accompany them there, so they are separated, and that it is all part of the normal trial and prison process (Lind, 2018). There have also been documented cases, however, where parents arrive with their children and apply for asylum, which is entirely legal and not breaking any US laws- however they are still separated and held in detention.
There are many critics that oppose this tactic. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP, 2018), this policy was enacted “as a way to deter families from migrating to the United States,” and that “no child should be placed in detention, and that even short periods of detention can cause psychological trauma and long-term mental health risks.” They also noted that there have been reports of poor quality of care and treatment that families receive from federal government custody (AAP, 2018).
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2018). Family separation and detention. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/federal-advocacy/Pages/family-separation-and-detention.aspx
Lind, D. (August 14, 2018). The Trump administration’s separation of families at the border, explained. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/2018/6/11/17443198/children-immigrant-families-separated-parents