News Release

Executive Order and Child Separation


KEVIN JOHNSON, krjohnson at, @krjohnson58
Professor of public interest law and Chicana/o studies, Johnson wrote the piece “Trump and Sessions can end immigrant family separations without Congress’ help,” published Wednesday morning by The Conversation. He is author of How Did You Get to Be Mexican? A White/Brown Man’s Search for Identity.

KARINA MORENO,, @karyinbrooklyn
Moreno is an assistant professor in the School of Business, Public Administration, and Information Sciences at Long Island University-Brooklyn. She is a native of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Her pieces include “The Private Deportation Machine” and “Political Theater at the Border.”

She said today: “The announcement for Trump’s executive order comes as several ongoing lawsuits are challenging the separation policy. Additionally, a 1997 Flores agreement states that children can only be held in the least restrictive setting possible.

“Trump says this was the Democrats’ policy: yes and no. Obama had a huge influx of unaccompanied children at the border seeking asylum as part of the Central American refugee crisis. In an effort to not violate their right to procedural due process, the measures in place either held families together until they got to their immigration hearing, judge; or, the state assumed custody of minors until a guardian or family member claimed the child (the child was then released to this sponsor). Detention centers were regulated with basic standards on living conditions and how long children could be held, as well as required facilities to have childcare licensing. Most are run by private corporations. … Deportation has become a billion-dollar industry.”


From the New York Times: “Fact-Checking the Trump Administration’s Case for Child Separation at the Border.”

See AP piece “U.S. has split up families throughout its history“: “Some critics of the forced separation of Latino children from their migrant parents say the practice is unprecedented. But it’s not the first time the U.S. government has split up families, detained children or allowed others to do so.

“Throughout American history, during times of war and unrest, authorities have cited various reasons and laws to take children away from their parents.”