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Separated Parents Weren’t Asked to Be Deported with Their Children

Plus: Immigration court nonprofits fear Justice Department will halt funding, and Biden reforms ICE without making cuts.

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A new report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General revealed that between July 2017 and July 2018, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 348 parents without their children and without recording if they agreed to be separated. ICE also removed parents without their children despite knowing they didn’t want to be separated, the report concluded. “There was no policy or standard process requiring ICE officers to ascertain, document, or honor parents’ decisions regarding their children,” said the report. Deported parents claimed ICE refused to reunite them with their children before their deportation, while DHS officials said they gave parents a choice to leave their children in the U.S. Mother Jones 

In other federal immigration news…

Immigration Court Aid Nonprofits Fear Program Expirations

The Justice Department is nearing a May 31 deadline to renew a contract with nonprofits that help immigrants through the court system, and advocates say they’re worried it won’t be renewed. The Legal Orientation Program was almost terminated by the Trump administration until Congress agreed to manage its funding. And now, “four months into the Biden administration, our organizations are concerned that this generally antagonistic approach toward legal access programming and access to legal representation in the immigration court persists,” 21 legal advocacy groups stated in a letter. The Hill 

Biden Administration Reforming ICE, Not Cutting Funding

While President Joe Biden has so far resisted calls to abolish ICE, he is effectively putting the agency on promotion. ICE carried out fewer than 3,000 deportations last month, and now makes an average of one arrest every other month. Still, immigrant advocate groups are demanding deportations be reduced even further and pushing for the closure of immigration jails. When ICE issues its first Homeland Security budget request next month, those advocates want to see its funding slashed. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he doesn’t plan on eliminating or shrinking ICE, but instead wants to reform the agency. The Washington Post 

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