Trump Executive Order = Indefinite Detention of Immigrant Children and Their Families in Jail-like Conditions

June 21, 2018


Washington, DC — Statement by KIND President Wendy Young:

President Trump’s Executive Order would allow the United States to hold immigrant children in jail-like conditions for an indefinite period of time. It leaves the “zero tolerance” policy intact, resulting in parents still being criminally prosecuted at the border, and could eliminate all standards governing the Department of Homeland Security holding of immigrant children in custody. It is no solution – it simply trades one abhorrent policy for another.

It also denies access to fair hearings as it fast tracks immigration hearings, even ahead of those who have committed crimes in the U.S.

It ignores a real solution – to keep families together by placing them into community-based community alternatives that have proven to be effective – nearly 100 percent of the families in these alternative programs have appeared for their immigration hearings. These programs are also far less expensive – dollars per day versus hundreds of dollars a day.

It also for the first time introduces a military role on a formal basis into immigration detention, further militarizing our immigration system.

Finally, the Executive Order does nothing to address the root causes of these families’ flight – the pervasive narco-trafficker and gang-violence that threatens the families, and particularly children, daily. The Trump Administration eliminated the Central American Minors program, the only way Central American children in danger could apply for protection in the U.S. from their home country.

We cannot be a nation that puts immigrant children in jail and throws away the key. Saying that the Executive Order is an end to family separation is a cynical misrepresentation that has nothing to do with the well-being of families and is another act of abject cruelty towards immigrant children.

Additional Information on President Trump’s Executive Order and Family Separation:


Media Contact: Megan McKenna,, 202-631-9990