ICE to Immigrant Parents: Agree to Deportation, Get Your Kids Back

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ICE to Immigrant Parents: Agree to Deportation, Get Your Kids Back

A Honduran man separated from his 6-year-old daughter in late May at the Southwest border agreed to sign a voluntary removal order that federal officials promised would reunite him with his daughter, reports the Texas Tribune.

The 24-year-old father asked to be referred to by the pseudonym “Carlos” because he feared negative consequences from telling his story. Carlos is just one of 20 to 25 men currently being housed at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility for men called IAH Polk County Secure Adult Detention Center outside Houston. According to Carlos, many of the men in the facility have been offered the same voluntary removal deal.

Carlos was informed by officials that his daughter is being held at a facility in Arizona. He told the Texas Tribune he is concerned about the conditions of the facility and whether or not she is receiving medical care for her asthma. He spoke to her on the phone for the first time on Thursday and said she was “very sad … and wanted me to get her out of there.” He went on to explain that two federal officials told him that he did not prove “credible fear” of torture or persecution in Honduras in order to receive asylum. They went on to say he would be reunited with his daughter at the airport if he signed the voluntary removal order, and he did.

In less than two week, he will be returned to the violence in Honduras that he was attempting to escape. He said, “I signed it out of desperation… but the truth is I can’t go back to Honduras; I need help.” Carlos paid a smuggler $7,000 for a 10-day journey to transport him and his daughter to the safety of America away from the Honduran gangs and organized crime syndicates.

Despite the federal agents’ claims, Carlos may not be leaving with his daughter as promised. Many parents have already been deported without their children. Private attorney Cynthia Milian said it could take one to two months to release an unaccompanied migrant child. Carlos is scheduled to be deported in less than two weeks. Milian called the situation a “parent’s worst nightmare.” She went on to say, “I doubt they would put his child on a plane to get her to where he would get deported out from, especially if she’s in Arizona. I just don’t see that happening.”

If Carlos is deported without his daughter, he worries she will not be sent to her aunt who lives in Los Angeles. Volunteer attorneys informed Carlos that he needs to revoke the paperwork he signed and appeal his case before an immigration judge.

Carlos’ story comes after Trump claimed on Twitter on Sunday that immigrants should not receive due process when they enter America illegally. The Washington Post notes that Trump was traveling from the White House to his Virginia golf course at the time of the tweets.

Based on Carlos’ story, though, the Trump administration already seems to be depriving undocumented immigrants of their due process rights.

Carlos, and many other detained parents, are attempting to recover their children before being deported. However, former U.S. officials warn that some of the family separations could be permanent because of the lack of assistance from the federal government. “The kids aren’t to blame for what’s going on,” Carlos said. “We only came because we can’t live in our country. We are looking for somewhere to live where our children can have a better future. In our country we can’t do it.”

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