top of page
  • Writer's pictureNCJ Editors

Trump Administration's Family Separation Policy 2018


As part of the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance policy”, new protocols for immigration agencies were implemented on April 6, 2018. The protocol directed the Border Patrol and Justice Department to criminally prosecute all adults despite if they were illegally immigrating, legally presenting themselves for asylum, or had been apprehended beforehand, whereas beforehand adults were only criminally prosecuted after they had been apprehended twice before or committed serious crimes. This would lead to families getting separated, as children cannot be held in the same detention facility as their criminally prosecuted parents. If the adult is sent to a federal jail, the child is placed into the care of a willing adult sponsor, or in most cases placed into a government shelter. The children are placed under the supervision of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and held in facilities run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services.

On June 15, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security stated around 2000 children have been separated from their families in the time period of April 19, 2018 to May 31, 2018. The number has since updated to 2342 children separated from 2206 adults from the time period of May 5, 2018 to June 9, 2017.

President Trump signed Executive Order 13841—affording Congress and Opportunity to Address Family Separation—which has since stopped the guidelines for an indefinite period of time. The order has also instructed the Justice Department to possibly overturn the Flores Agreement, which limited the time for holding children and families with children to 20 days. If the agreement is overturned, children could potentially be detained indefinitely. President Trump has stated that he opposes families being separated, but wishes for strong borders, and that the zero tolerance policy would continue.

On June 26, 2018, US District Judge Dana Sabraw from San Diego, California ordered for immigration authorities to reunite separated families from the policies within 30 days, and for children under the age of 5 to be reunited within 14 days. While the government has missed the deadline of July 10 for children under 5, it has since reported on July 23 that 1012 parents have been reunited with their children out of around 1637 candidates. On the same day, the American Civil Liberties Union reported 917 parents remained separate, with more than half (463) already deported from the United States. Although some families have been reunited, the parents still face deportation orders. All eligible children under 5 have been reunited, while nearly half were unable do to safety concerns.



bottom of page