Immigration officials have been posting flyers at detention centers across the country directing parents to call a hotline if they happen to become separated from their kids.
The flyer asks, “Have you been separated from your child(ren)?”
“U.S. Immigration and Customs may be able to help you locate your child(ren) if you become separated during the immigration process,” the flyer continues.
The flyer is a chilling signal that the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy is in full effect, and that some parents enter immigration detention centers with no idea where their children are located.
Last month, the Trump administration announced the new policy: “If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”
Immigration attorney Prerna P. Lal first shared the flyer on Twitter on Wednesday, saying she had received it in an email from ICE.
ICE spokesperson Danielle Bennett said the flyers were posted at detention centers in both Spanish and English.
When asked if all parents separated from their kids had to call this hotline to locate their kids, Bennett said: “The flyers are posted in all ICE facilities so parents have the resource to independently call the call center to get the information.”
She declined to say if parents had access to their children’s location through other means.
The flyer is also not all that reassuring; it merely states that ICE “may” be able to help.
“ICE is committed to connecting these family members as quickly as possible after separation so that parents know the location of their children and have regular communication with them in line with ICE policies and detention standards,” Bennett told Splinter.