Ex-ICE Director: Some Migrant Family Separations Are Permanent - NBC 10 Philadelphia
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Ex-ICE Director: Some Migrant Family Separations Are Permanent

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    Ex-ICE Director: Some Migrant Family Separations Are Permanent
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    MISSION, TX - JUNE 12: A boy and father from Honduras are taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents near the U.S.-Mexico Border on June 12, 2018 near Mission, Texas. The asylum seekers were then sent to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processing center for possible separation. U.S. border authorities are executing the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy towards undocumented immigrants. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also said that domestic and gang violence in immigrants' country of origin would no longer qualify them for political asylum status. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

    Migrant parents separated from their children at the border are sometimes unable to relocate their child and remain permanently separated, a former head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told NBC News.

    "Permanent separation. It happens," said John Sandweg, who served as acting director of ICE under the Obama administration from 2013-2014.

    A parent can quickly move from detention to deportation, but a child's case for asylum or deportation may not be heard by a judge for several years because deporting a child is a lower priority for the courts, Sandweg said.

    Parents may then have trouble navigating U.S. immigration and judicial systems while back in their home countries and their children might be adopted by someone else after entering the foster system.

    Sandweg's comments undercut the White House's stance that the separation of women and child migrants under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy is only temporary.