DISTURBING

Report: Migrants Told to Sign Voluntary Deportation Orders to Get Kids Back

Immigration authorities have allegedly told detained migrants at a detention facility near Houston to sign voluntary deportation orders in order to see their children—a move that often means they must drop their asylum claims, The Texas Tribune reports. Immigration advocacy groups also fear authorities may not be living up to their word, meaning hundreds of parents may be deported while their children stay behind. A 24-year-old Honduran native who brought his 6-year-old daughter to the U.S. to seek asylum told the Tribune he’d fallen for the offer out of “desperation” to see his daughter, who was reportedly taken to a facility in Arizona after the two were separated. The man, identified under the pseudonym Carlos, said nearly two dozen other detained migrants at the same facility have spoken of receiving the ultimatum. Anne Chandler, Houston director of the Tahirih Justice Center immigration advocacy group, backed up Carlos’ claims, saying she’d heard a nearly identical account from another detained migrant. Bob Etnyre, a Houston-based attorney and immigration law expert, called the alleged ultimatum a “particularly diabolical aspect” of the Trump administration’s family separations: bullying asylum-seekers into abandoning their claims in order to see their kids again.