President Obama responds to family separation in immigration system

Both Eesha and I wrote about the new Colorlines investigation that revealed the frightening trend of kids taken from parents and put in foster care when the parents are caught up in our enforcement-focused immigration crackdown. Even after parents have been deported, many are unable to retrieve their kids.

Well President Obama has responded:

The president said parents should have access to their children if they are detained and that he has directed the Department of Homeland Security to examine its family unification practices to ensure that happens. The White House declined to comment today on the details of that examination or what policy changes it may produce.

But in his comments last week, the president said that there are administrative actions that the Department of Homeland Security can take to address the separation of families.

“I’m not here to pretend that this hasn’t happened,” said Obama, in response, according to a journalist present, to a question about the issues raised in the Applied Research Center investigation.

“I think we have to keep putting pressure on those responsible for administering the program, to make sure that children aren’t torn from their parents without due process and the possibility to stay with their children,” the president added, according to La Opinion’s report on the briefing.

It shows exactly what the power of independent media can be in influencing policy that he responded to, and affirmed, their findings. The question is whether he will actually put his political weight behind fixing the system. His administration is largely responsible for the severe increase in deportations, something that is gaining him no political favor with Latinos.

In response to questions about the separation of families at last week’s briefing, the president said, “We’re examining detention policy so that we can execute it in the most humane way possible. I think there’s a wide range of administrative measures we can take, not all of which are in progress now.”

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