Immigrant Providers/Advocates Update On Migrant Child Crisis In NY

June 22nd, 2018

Call for Support to Providers, Rally planned for June 30th

NEW YORK, NY - Today, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and service providers held a press briefing to provide updates on the thousands of migrant children separated from their parents, many of whom are here in New York.

Listen to the press conference call recording here.

Additionally, participants are planning a massive rally and march on June 30th led by NYIC and with support of partner organizations. It is expected to draw tens of thousands of New Yorkers who are outraged by the administration’s inhumane policies of forcibly separating children from their parents.

“First the Trump administration ripped thousands of children out of their parents’ arms, locked them in cages, and then shipped them hundreds of miles away to New York, with no plans to reunify the families. Then Trump signed an executive order mandating that children be locked up with their parents indefinitely in ICE prisons, or worse on military bases. It’s inhumane and immoral,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

“Many children are traumatized before fleeing to the United States to escape violence or gang threats. Separating them from their parents or detaining them forever inflicts additional trauma on them. Our supervising social worker already spends many hours helping children work through their trauma to explain why they fled to the United States, which is critical for us to get them the legal protections that they qualify for, such as asylum. The mere fact that traumatized children will be detained is a problem, regardless of the conditions in the shelters. It is alarming that the government seeks permission to detain families in locations that do not meet any state licensing requirements. The problems are magnified by how the government does not give lawyers to children who are fighting deportation. Safe Passage Project provides free lawyers to unaccompanied immigrant children who are at risk of deportation, but we are unable to help all of the children,” said Rex Chen, Supervising Attorney for the Long Island office, Safe Passage Project.

“The President may have rescinded his cruel policy of separating children from their parents, but that does nothing to help reunite traumatized kids with their families. Instead, children as young as toddlers remain scattered across the country, some of them right here in Westchester. They are scared, they are in a place that is unfamiliar to them, and with people they don't know. This whole experience has the potential to leave them scarred for life. Policy comes and goes, but the trauma it causes stays with you,” said Carola Otero Bracco, Executive Director, Neighbors Link. “Do not forget that the government continues to incarcerate families who are fleeing violence, looking to the United States for help. We call on elected leaders of both parties to forge a sane path toward creating a holistic and humane immigration policy that is in keeping with traditional American values. And we call on them to do it now.”

"The Trump Administration is waging a war on immigrant children and families. Tearing families apart and increasing family detention are just the latest attacks in a campaign that began on inauguration. The Door asks all New Yorkers to join us in the fight to win humane treatment for immigrant families across the nation," said Eve Stotland, Director of Legal Services Center at The Door.

Best practices for the public and the media:

1. Do not hold protests or press conferences outside of children’s shelters. Shelter providers are not the villains, and children are being re-traumatized by the large crowds.

2. Do not call police on protests, to shelters, or near children. Many of these children believe that the police are ICE agents taking them to be deported.

3. Do not block entrances to children’s shelters or places where the children might be. Crowds outside these places are blocking critical service providers from accessing children.


This week, President Trump signed an executive order to address his own “zero-tolerance” policy of separating children from parents along the southern border, despite placing blame on Congress and unspecified court orders. The executive order mandates that children now be imprisoned with their parents in ICE facilities indefinitely unless their cases are resolved.

Recently, the Trump administration has been separating families at the southern border who are fleeing violence and seeking protection in the United States, placing thousands of children in separate detention camps. The images and videos of children being held in jail-like conditions, stripped from their parents, has rightfully stoked outrage across the country and prompted the United Nations to issue a rebuke of the United States.