Rights groups criticize immigration form for detained parents
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Rights groups criticize immigration form for detained parents

According to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) form [text, PDF ] first obtained by NBC News  [NBC report] Tuesday, detained immigrant parents, even those with pending asylum claims, must choose between returning to their country with or without their children.

The form is to be read to the parents in a language that they know and has them sign for either reunification and group deportation with their children or to return to their country and allow their children to “pursue available claims of relief.”

After the June 26 ruling [JURIST Report] by California Federal Judge Dana Sabraw, the government must reunite parents and children but is not obligated to let families stay together in the United States while their asylum claim is being decided.

The form is being described by lawyers as coercive, persuading parents to give up their right to remain in the United States to be reunited with their children. ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt commented [Washington Post report], “there’s no reason the government should be asking about removal at the same time as reunification . . . The ruling makes clear that parents are entitled to get their children back” without being “contingent upon them waiving their right to contest removal.”