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Federal report on zero tolerance immigration policy

Many families in Florida have been affected by immigration policy changes under the Trump administration. According to a federal report, the Department of Homeland Security did not properly plan for the “zero tolerance” policy that led to separation of over 2,500 families.

According to the report, the department detained minors longer than legally allowed, gave incorrect and incomplete information to their parents and failed to provide basic data on the families that were involved.

The ACLU agrees that the report shows the harsh consequences of the Trump administration’s policies. The ACLU assisted with filing a lawsuit that led to the end of the practice of separating families. Prior to the enactment of the “zero tolerance” policies, most undocumented immigrants were placed into civil deportation proceedings. Under the new policies, most are detained pending criminal prosecution.

Still, Department of Homeland Security promises to continue prosecuting anyone who is caught crossing the border illegally. A spokesperson for the department has stated that the report highlights the difficulties of enforcing immigration laws that are poorly written.

The report also highlights the difficulty separated parents had communicating with their children. Many were not reunited immediately after being released from immigration detention because of the extra paperwork that would be required.

Anyone who has been affected by the “zero tolerance” immigration polices may benefit from speaking to an attorney with experience in immigration law. A person who has been detained by ICE will likely be facing deportation proceedings.

In some cases, even after deportation, a person will be allowed to re-enter the country in the future if they do so legally. This may depend on the person’s criminal history. For example, if an immigrant has been previously convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, he or she may be prohibited from entering the country again.

Source: USA Today, “Trump administration’s family separation policy poorly planned and executed, federal report says,” Alan Gomez, 10/02/2018.