‘Nobody Would Tell Me Anything’: Immigrant Parents Cannot Locate Children in ICE Custody

Immigrant Parents Cannot Locate Children in ICE Custody

Even as Biden nears his first 100 days in office, it seems immigrant families are still in great need of help. Under the Trump administration, ICE was given instructions to crack down on all undocumented immigrants, even those who had not committed any crimes since coming to the country. This resulted in children being separated from their parents at detention facilities, where they are at the mercy of disorganized record-keeping until they are deported. 

For many parents, they have no idea where their children are and when they will see them again. In 2019, a record number of 69,550 migrant children were imprisoned in U.S. detention centers, which is more than any other country in the world. 

Two of those 69,550 children are those of one Guatemalan father. After night for the past three weeks, he’s called the same Department of Health and Human Services number looking for his nine-year-old and thirteen-year-old daughters. Every night, this father looking for his children is put on hold for over an hour.

When asked about his daughters’ whereabouts, each operator tells him to be patient. Even though these children are detained without the care and watchful eye of their parents, the operators given this father the blanket answer of “Be patient. They are safe,” although he does not know where they are and who is taking care of them.

“Nobody would tell me anything,” the father laments. 

Any immigrant rights attorney in LA will agree that kids cannot be safe if they are not with their parents or a trusted caretaker. When a child is in a detention facility, their location is “confidential information,” so this poor father is supposed to wait for a case manager to reach out to him to start the process of releasing his own daughters into his care. 

Case managers for detained immigrant children are supposed to be looking after over twelve children each, so it makes sense that the system would be overwhelmed with the tightened immigration policy. 

Many politicians, including former President George W. Bush, are encouraging Biden to introduce immigration reform so that the archaic detainment centers can start to become more modernized. Until then, law offices of immigration in Los Angeles are fighting for their clients to have basic human rights, like contact with their own children. If you are fighting deportation, seek out the services of one of the immigration attorneys at Alami Law who can stop deportation.

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