Immigrant parents who have been separated from their children have been asked to complete extensive paperwork to begin the process of reunification. The forms request basic information, such as date and city of birth, but also require documentation that the people, who are often poor, may not have, such as a passport. Advocates note that these are people who are still hoping to settle in the United States and so have not yet secured the required proof of address, such as a recent water bill or a letter from a bank.
Government officials have said they request extensive information because they are required to protect children and must prove family relationships.
But Bethany Carson, an organizer with Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit in Texas assisting immigrant families, called the requirements listed on forms provided to mothers “not realistic” and “demeaning.”
“It’s very clear they are trying to make this difficult and ignoring the court order that says to reunify these parents as quickly as possible,” Carson said Tuesday.
Here is a letter sent by a government-contracted shelter to an immigrant mother trying to reunite with her daughter after being released from detention. It outlines the kind of documentation needed to begin the process of placing a child with his or her parent or an adult sponsor.
Also attached is a lengthy Spanish-language questionnaire from the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, requesting various forms of identification as well as financial and medical information.