Support Initiatives
November 02, 2020

Reunite deported migrants with their children

A 2017 pilot program by the U.S. government resulted in the separation of over 1,000 migrant families crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S.

The program, which was kept secret until 2019, was a precursor to the notorious 2018 ‘zero tolerance policy’ imposed by the White House; it had been used as a method of deterring migrants from coming to the U.S. by separating parents from their children and deporting the parents without allowing them to apply for asylum (in violation of both U.S. and international asylum laws). 

Almost three years after the program was launched, the deported parents of as many as 545 migrant children have yet to be located in Central America. And while the government was ordered by a federal judge to assume responsibility for reuniting families separated under the 2018 policy, it is NGO’s and activists who have been spearheading and managing the search for parents deported under the 2017 pilot program.

Justice in Motion is among the primary NGOs working to track down migrant parents who were separated from their children by U.S. immigration authorities at the border and subsequently deported back to their countries of origin without their kids. 

Justice in Motion has established a “Defender Network” of attorneys across Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua who cooperate with colleagues in the United States to try to track down the parents and reunite them with their children. The Defender Network is currently comprised of 40 different organisations. 

The Defender Network also works on cases pertaining to detention of migrant children in U.S. prisons and cases in which migrant workers in the U.S. and Canada became victims of fraud and maltreatment. 

Recognising that legal mechanisms often fail to deliver justice across borders, Justice in Motion sets out to fill in the gaps and ensure that migrants’ cases do not fall between the cracks. The organisation does so by training and advising U.S. and Canadian attorneys on how to take on and successfully fight cases on behalf of migrants who went back to their home countries, and matching them up with attorneys from the Defender Network who can assist in myriad ways - including by procuring crucial documents in countries of origin. 

The trainings cover various issues, ranging from human trafficking and immigration to employment rights and recruitment fraud and abuse. 

Justice in Motion also engages in policy advocacy with governments and community outreach work. 

Please visit Justice in Motion’s website to learn more about its work to guarantee justice for migrants across borders. Click here if you wish to pledge a donation.

Image: alisonflintham

Call to Action
Reunite deported migrants with their children