Author: Clark Mindock
Federal public defenders say that immigration enforcement officials in the United States have repeatedly deceived immigrant parents arriving in the US seeking shelter from violent conditions in their home country, telling those individuals that they are taking their children away for baths or other benign reasons only to never return with them.
Miguel Nogueres, a federal public defender in McAllen, Texas said that he’s seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases his office sees on any given day during the presidency of Donald Trump, and that he has been hearing from clients that they were lied to by Border Patrol agents when their children were taken away, and not being given further information about the whereabouts of their kids.
He says that they have been trying to count the number of children that are being taken from parents, but that doing so has been made difficult by the changes in American immigration policies that allow federal agents to separate families with the expressed goal of deterring future immigrants.
“Every day we hear that parents are being separated from their children and are given different reasons for the separation. Some are told the truth,” Mr Nogueres told The Independent. “Others are told that they’re children are being taken for a break to play, or bathe, or sleep, … little white lies to ameliorate an exploding situation. The parents will realize they were lied to when they meet us before court.”
Emails requesting comment sent to the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Border Patrol were not returned.
Mr Nogueres said that he and his colleague —a fellow federal public defender named Azalea Aleman-Bendiks, who also represents clients in mass deportation hearings and who recently made similar statements about Border Patrol deception to The Boston Globe — have seen the number of people being pushed through the courts jump from around 20 to 30 clients a day under the administrations of Presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama, up to as many as 170 a day now.
During that time the makeup of those cases has shifted as well.