It may sound like the next-best thing, but the truth is, your family is in the crosshairs of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The government agency, which has been accused of harassing, torturing, and otherwise abusing its agents, has been targeting the families of some of America’s most vulnerable people for years, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.
A 2013 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has a policy of sending agents to people’s homes to harass, intimidate, and arrest them.
“If the victim is a family member of an ICE agent, the agency is required to inform ICE agents in writing of the family member’s immigration status, as well as the location of the victim’s residence, if known,” GAO wrote in a March 27, 2018, report.
The GAO also said it’s unclear what specific cases the agency has taken action against.
In 2018, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee issued a report called “Making America Safe Again: How the Border Security, Immigration Enforcement Reform Act of 2018 Will Save Americans’ Lives.”
The committee said the administration is violating the constitutional rights of American citizens and residents by making arrests without legal justification, targeting and detaining immigrants without due process, and denying the due process rights of their families.
As Congress and the Trump administration continue to debate what to do about the president’s immigration order, a number of immigration advocacy groups have stepped up to oppose the new executive order.
The ACLU, which advocates for immigrants’ rights, is also challenging the order in court, arguing that the policy would violate the rights of immigrants, particularly those from Mexico and Central America.
“As we’ve seen from previous immigration actions, ICE will not be deterred from its illegal mission,” said Amy Schatz, a staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.
“The Trump administration is not giving up its fight to put an end to families being broken up, and that means the ACLU will continue to fight for our immigrant rights.”
In addition to the GAO report, the ACLU also released a new report titled “Treating Families as Enemies: A Guide for Protecting People’s Rights under the Trump Administration’s Immigration Enforcement Policy.”
The ACLU also compiled a guide for parents and legal guardians who have been detained at the border, which includes the steps they need to take to protect their children.
It includes how to keep the family safe during their detention, how to protect them from their own deportation and whether to pursue civil rights claims.
“These families are people who have worked hard to come to this country, they have families here, they love this country,” Schatz said.
“But when the government puts them in handcuffs, that means they’re being punished for being American.
That means that ICE and the U-M system can’t come in and punish them for having a family.”
For more information on the ACLU’s immigration rights work, visit their website at www.aclu.org.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.