ICE GUIDANCE FOR PARENT ARRESTS: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement posted online Friday an updated policy on what to do when the parents of minor children are arrested and detained. ICE made public the August 2017 directive, which supersedes Obama administration guidance from four years earlier, after Morning Shift obtained a copy and queried ICE about it.
The 2013 Obama guidance said ICE should ensure its enforcement activities "do not unnecessarily disrupt" parental custody of minor children. The new guidance tells officers merely to "remain cognizant" of the effect their enforcement actions might have on children; in keeping with the Trump administration's less forgiving view of deportations, the guidance does not demand prosecutorial discretion. Michelle Brané, director of the migrant rights and justice program at the Women's Refugee Commission, said the change "will no doubt result in broad separation of families." The new directive does maintain a few features of the Obama-era policy: ICE officials must make arrangements for detained immigrants to participate in child custody hearings, and children must be permitted to visit parents in detention. In addition, absent signs of abuse or neglect, officers must allow parents to make arrangements for their children at the time of arrest. "We hope these are implemented and help at least keep children safe when a parent is detained," Brané said.
During a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing Thursday, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) questioned Matthew Albence, an ICE associate director, about the changes . The directive, Albence said, required an overhaul to align with President Donald Trump's January 2017 executive orders on border security and interior immigration enforcement. Read the new 2017 policy here and the 2013 directive it replaced here.