28 Jun FCAA Policy Statement on Immigration Families
A message from the FCAA National Board of Directors:
Background: The FCAA National Board of Directors is composed of a diverse group of professionals who have a wide variety of previous exposure to and life experiences within the child welfare system including foster care. Based on our professional and personal experiences we take a stand on the forced separation of children from families at the southern US border.
We’ve recently witnessed thousands of babies, children and teens separated from their asylum-seeking parents and subsequently detained around the country. We are deeply disturbed any time children are removed from their parents but we are especially disturbed when children are removed in situations like this.
The FCAA National Board supports the preservation of families, including those seeking asylum in the United States. We urge the immediate reunification of these families.
Many of the children are being displaced into our existing, seriously overloaded foster care systems. Some of them are also being detained in warehouse-like environments often in chain-link cages. This is unacceptable.
Further, the recent Executive Order issued by President Trump purports to end the US Government’s policy of separation of children from their parents who enter the US and are subsequently prosecuted while seeking asylum. In doing so, it replaced the policy of family separation with family detention.
In addition, the President instructed US Attorney General Sessions to petition the federal court to modify a previous Flores settlement decree which prevents migrant children from being detained for more than 20 days. If this happens, the government would be asking for a modification to allow the government to hold children, and by extension their families, for indefinite periods of time. The request asks, specifically, for permission from the courts “to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings.” This is also unacceptable.
The process for reunifying families whose children have been separated from their parents is unclear and is not spelled out in the Executive Order. Uncertainty remains for those children and families who have experienced the trauma of separation.
The Trump administration’s new policy of detaining entire families together, including children, but ignoring legal time limits on the detention of minors is inhumane. While the Obama administration also practiced family detention that kept families together while their case was being processed, it ended the policy when such detention was prohibited by the court, and released families together. It also developed Alternatives to Detention to provide supervised release of families awaiting decisions on their removal cases, including asylum seekers fleeing persecution in their home countries.
Policy Position: The FCAA National Board supports the preservation of families, including those seeking asylum in the United States.
- We urge the immediate reunification of the families whose children have been separated from their parents.
- We also urge the development of clear processes for reuniting families whose children have been separated from their parents.
- We oppose family detention, and support the development of alternatives to provide supervised and supportive release of families awaiting decisions on their removal cases, including families seeking asylum.
Recommendations for action:
- Call your elected officials and tell them that families belong together. Families that have been separated as a result of the “zero tolerance” policy should be immediately reunited.
- Attend a rally or march in solidarity.
- Donate resources to assist families in getting the legal resources to fight for reunification.
About Foster Care Alumni of America: Founded and led by alumni of care in 2004, FCAA empowers former foster youth of all ages to build a supportive community and use our collective voice for change. Our mission is to connect alumni to transform policy and practice, ensuring opportunity for people in and from foster care.