July 16, 2020
KIND has assisted more than 1,100 individuals affected by family separation in the United States, as well as in the countries to which separated parents have been wrongfully deported. KIND has provided legal screenings and representation, facilitated court-ordered reunifications, advocated for the return to the United States of parents deported without their children, connected children and families with trauma-informed social services, and spearheaded the effort to implement safeguards to prevent harmful and unnecessary separations in the future. Together with coalition partners, KIND’s efforts helped reunite hundreds of children and families and enabled them to begin the difficult process of healing from trauma and pursuing their immigration cases. For families reunified in Central America, KIND partners have provided psychosocial support and ongoing reintegration assistance. Despite these efforts, however, it is tragically clear that far more remains to be done.
This report details KIND’s work on behalf of separated children since the end of the zero tolerance policy and highlights the gaps that remain in preventing wrongful separations in the immigration system. Absent concrete actions to limit family separations and ensure accountability, these gaps will tragically persist and children will continue to be ripped from their parents without assurance of reunification. This report also provides recommendations to help ensure that life-altering decisions about when separations should occur are made by professionals with expertise in child welfare, rather than law enforcement, and that the best interests of children are central to all decisions made at the border. This will help ensure that no family is separated in the name of deterrence and that the fair and appropriate treatment of all children at the border is not an aspiration, but a reality.