Featured Issue: End Family Separation and Family Detention

In April 2018, the Trump administration implemented a "zero tolerance policy" resulting in the widespread separation of parents and children arriving together at the United States southern border between ports of entry. The "zero tolerance policy" mandates the prosecution for illegal entry of everyone apprehended between ports of entry, including asylum seekers. Under this directive, while parents in federal custody underwent prosecution, the administration took away their children without any clear requirement of eventual reunification. This de facto family separation policy has inflicted trauma on separated family members, restricted due process, and violated fundamental norms of family unity and decency. No law or court decision requires such separation.

On June 20, 2018, President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) purporting to address the family separation crisis that it created, by expanding the use of family detention, while reaffirming his commitment to a "zero tolerance" policy of border prosecutions, even for those who lawfully claim a fear of persecution and are entitled to seek asylum in the United States. Subjecting children and their families to prolonged detention, however, is harmful, traumatic, and impedes due process.

Both family separation and family detention are inhumane practices that create severe due process barriers: the administration should end these policies without delay.

Family Detention is Not a Solution to Family Separation

Royce Murray, Policy Director of American Immigration Council, explains the alternatives to detention for families seeking asylum.

Read more below:


AILA Statements and Resources


Coalition Partners' Statements and Resources


Legislation Concerning Family Separation


Take Action to End Family Separation and Detention

Learn additional ways you can fight against family detention and family separation by supporting AILA and the American Immigration Council's Immigration Justice Campaign.


Litigation, Complaints, and FOIA Requests Concerning Family Separation


Complaint Filed Over DHS Officials’ Use of Coercion Against Separated Parents


Government Announcements and Memos


Other Statements and Resources


Media Coverage

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 18062033.