ICE detains 11-year-old boy for more than a month before noticing that he is a US citizen
One of the hundreds of children being held at an immigration detention facility in, New Mexico, was released last week when officials realized the 11-year-old boy was a U.S. citizen [traveling with his mother, who is not]…
In the past nine months, border agents have apprehended roughly 63,000 unaccompanied children—mostly from Central America. That is in addition to single parents with at least one child who have been apprehended as well along the Southwest border. As officials have sped up the processing time and immigration courts are fast-tracking the children’s cases, Laura Lichter—an immigration attorney who has been providing free legal counsel to detainees in Artesia—said the 11-year-old boy’s situation highlights the problems with rushing the cases:
“I think the fact that a U.S. citizen was detained and for this long before anyone actually realized that there was even the possibility that they had detained a U.S. citizen shows you just how little respect and attention is being given to people’s cases,” said Lichter, former president of American Immigration Lawyers Association. “What this shows you is that there really is no due process here and that the system is only working in a way to deport people from the country. It is not working to protect people’s claims.”
This boy’s case is merely one example, but the U.S. should not be lowering the bar on due process protections in the face of challenges posed by the arrival of thousands of children and young families at our southern border as they flee violence in Central America. The expedited process being pursued against the families at Artesia, may in fact be too expedited where speed is taking precedence over fairness and due process.
Photo by Nicolas Alejandro.