A 29-year-old mother from Honduras is being detained at one of ICE’s immigrant detention centers 120 miles away from her baby boy.
A 29-year-old mother from Honduras is being detained at one of ICE’s immigrant detention centers 120 miles away from her baby boy.According to the American Civil Liberties Union — which is filing a class-action lawsuit against the federal government over its separating of immigrant parents from their children — the mother, Mirian, has been separated from her child for at least two months. Mirian is being detained at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas, while her baby is being detained in San Antonio.
A Friday report in the New York Times shows that the practice of separating parents from their children has become more common since October of 2017, with ICE keeping more than 700 children away from their parents. 100 of the children detained since October are ages four and under.
Kevin McAleenan, a commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told Congress that the practice of separating parents and children was “a very rare occurrence.” And while the Trump administration denies that separating parents from children is official immigration policy, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly — then in his capacity as Secretary of Homeland Security — told CNN in March of last year that his agency was considering separating families at the border as a means of deterring immigrants from entering the United States illegally.
Honduran mothers like Mirian are likely fleeing their home country for the United States due to the violence and instability that has plagued the country since the United States-backed coup in 2009. As of January 2018, the U.S. State Department has been warning travelers to reconsider plans to visit Honduras, due to high crime throughout the country.
“Violent crime, such as homicide and armed robbery, is common. Violent gang activity, such as extortion, violent street crime, rape, and narcotics and human trafficking, is widespread,” the State Department website’s description of Honduras reads. “Local police and emergency services lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crime.”
Shortly after Donald Trump was inaugurated, he signed an executive order giving ICE greater authority to detain and deport undocumented immigrants. In just the first 100 days after the order was signed, ICE reported arresting an estimated 41,000 people. In order to house the growing number of detainees being rounded up, ICE is reportedly looking at building new detention centers in St. Paul, Minnesota, Salt Lake City, Utah, Chicago, Illinois, and Detroit, Michigan, according to NPR.
Michael Boone is a freelance journalist and columnist writing about politics, government, race, and media. He graduated from Texas Southern University’s School of Communication, and lives in Houston’s Third Ward.