“The US government has deliberately adopted immigration policies and practices that caused catastrophic harm to thousands of people seeking safety in the United States, including the separation of over 6,000 family units in a four-month period, more than previously disclosed by authorities,” Amnesty International said in a new report released Thursday.
The report details the separation of 6,022 “family units” from April 19, 2018 to August 15, 2018. The term “family unit” has varying applications in the U.S. immigration enforcement world. Sometimes it refers to individuals in a family and other times it refers to family groups containing multiple people. The figure reflects the largest total ever disclosed by the agency relating to the family separation crisis.
Using statistics from the last two years, Amnesty reports that in 2017 and 2018, the Trump administration appears to have separated around 8,000 “family units” at the border.
If only half of the people referred to in that figure were parents, the remaining 4,000 children dwarf the total number of kids reported to have been impacted by the “zero tolerance” campaign.
Since 2017, US authorities have also imposed a policy of mandatory and indefinite detention of asylum-seekers, frequently without parole, for the duration of their asylum claims. This constitutes arbitrary detention, in violation of US and international law.