Soon, parents living in America without authorization who paid a smuggler to sneak their child into the country may be subject to criminal prosecution. Their children also may be quickly deported upon arrival at the US borders, housed in detention centers and not given the same protections and opportunity to stay in America as under the previous administration.
Department of Homeland Security John Kelly circulated proposed orders among agency heads in two memorandums written for distribution and dated Friday,
Thousands of children who arrived in the United States as “unaccompanied minors” and were subsequently reunited with a parent living in the country illegally will be affect if these orders become finalized.
A senior White House official said that the memos were not final but the immigrants would be subject to what’s known as expedited removal proceedings to quickly get them out of the country.
Los Angeles immigration attorney Alma Rosa Nieto told KPCC that many families, including those with legal status, arrange for their children to be brought into the country through smugglers. She said that parents who are in the U.S. illegally cannot obtain visas for their children to come legally, even if they face danger in their home country.
“It is common for parents to bring their children and use whatever viable recourse there is in their arsenal to bring them into the United States,” Nieto said.
Robin Hvidston of We the People Rising, an local activist group that supporters tighter immigration laws, also told KPCC that the new Trump order simply enforces existing rules.
“It’s against the law for a person to smuggle in another person,” Hvidston said. “Even if it is a family member, that is still against the law.”