May 15, 2020
By Julia Ainsley, NBC
WASHINGTON — Several immigrant rights organizations are outraged by a new choice U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is presenting to migrant parents: Separate from your child or stay together in detention indefinitely.
Starting on Thursday, the groups claim, ICE began distributing a form in all three of its family detention centers that would allow parents to apply for their minor children to be released. The form, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, states that it is in compliance with the Flores court agreement, which prohibits ICE from holding minors for more than 20 days.
The released children are placed with family members, sponsors or placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Trump administration faced intense criticism for a Zero Tolerance policy in 2018 in which undocumented migrant children were separated from parents who had illegally crossed the order. The policy was implemented in May 2018 but reversed after an outcry in June.