Some people in Florida may have heard of a policy proposed in March by then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to separate families at the border who were applying for asylum. This was viewed as a way to reduce immigration. However, there was a public outcry against the idea, and immigration numbers were also relatively low at the time.
The number of immigrants crossing the border has risen again. In April, it was fewer than 12,000, but in November, there were more than 29,000. As a result, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has approved the plan to split up families as has the White House. Although even some immigration hard-liners are against it, the Trump administration supports it as the only way to reduce immigration numbers. The plan must be approved by Kirstjen Nielsen, the DHS secretary.
However, despite the lack of a formal policy, 150 families have been separated this year. For example, a Salvadoran man who came to the border with his 1-year-old son was sent to California alone. It was six days before the man and his wife, who was still in Mexico, learned that their son was in Texas. A spokesperson for ICE said the father and son were separated because of lack of proof that the child belonged to the father.
A person might ask for asylum while facing deportation or upon entering the country. People who are seeking asylum might want to consult an attorney. There are several grounds on which a person can claim asylum, including fear of persecution because of political opinion, membership in a social group, religion or race. An attorney may be able to advise a person as to how a case arguing for asylum might best be presented.