“SHE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT SHE’S READING.” – DHS spokesperson
Chances are that you and many others heard about a supposed policy that President Trump put conditions on family reunification. Fake news travels fast and this is fake news that the DHS just slammed NBC reporters for. The Department of Homeland Security said two NBC reporters published what it called a “factually inaccurate” story that stated illegal immigrant parents were given a choice of being deported with or without their children as the only way to be reunited after being separated for illegal entry.
Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff reported the only way the Trump administration will allow family units to be reunited is if the parent agrees to be deported and have his or her asylum request rescinded. Then the parent can return home with or without the child.
A DHS spokesperson said that the policy being referenced has existed for “decades” and that Ainsley misinterpreted comments U.S. officials made in response to a recent court order and never asked DHS for comment.
“She doesn’t know what she’s reading,” the DHS spokesperson said over the phone when asked about the information in the story. A representative for NBC Universal could not be reached for comment.
The DHS official said parents and children are held in different dockets so if a parent finishes illegal entry court proceedings and is ordered deported, they are given the option to then ask that the child be taken out of his or her separate docket and also sent home.
The spokesperson added that parents are not being forced to voluntarily deport themselves in order to be reunited with their children.
The NBC report said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers had been tasked with asking parents to pick one of two options: “I am requesting to reunite with my child(ren) for the purpose of repatriation to my country of citizenship,” or “I am affirmatively, knowingly, and voluntarily requesting to return to my country of citizenship without my minor child(ren) who I understand will remain in the [U.S.] to pursue available claims of relief.”
Later Tuesday evening, ICE issued a statement that said the form NBC reported on was part of the Detained Parents Directive and “only applies to parents with a final order and who are part of a specific class action suit.