• Press Release

Government Report Reinforces That Cruelty Drove Family Separations

January 14, 2021

Yellow and white graphic with the Amnesty international logo on the bottom left and the word
Responding to a report finding that the Department of Justice – and in particular then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions – was a driving force behind the family separation policy that intentionally and cruelly separated families at the U.S. southern border, Denise Bell, the researcher for refugee and migrant rights at Amnesty International USA said:

“This is a damning condemnation of the Trump administration’s inhumane family separation policy. This report reinforces what we already knew: the cruelty was the point and the government ripped families apart intentionally to keep families from seeking safety here. This utter disregard for people’s lives caused irreparable harm. The cruelty of the Trump administration ceases to shock, while the human cost remains vast and families continue to live with the destruction.

“The new administration must act quickly and urgently to repair this harm as much as possible. While families may never be made fully whole again, the U.S. government has an obligation to help these families and provide redress, including pathways to lawful status for affected families.

“The report makes clear that accountability for these actions is all the more pressing. A criminal investigation is a critical and necessary step to ensure such wrongs are never repeated. There must be, where there is sufficient evidence, prosecution of all government officials, personnel, and contractors who are responsible for the abuses committed during this shameful period of our history — no matter their current or former level of office.”

Amnesty International USA is calling on the incoming Biden administration to find and reunify families, and deported parents who were separated from their children must be paroled into the United States. Amnesty International USA is calling on the government to provide monetary compensation and access to medical, legal, mental health, and other social services as needed.

All families seeking safety should be safe, free and together. People can learn more about Amnesty International USA’s work on the issue here.

Media contact: Mariya Parodi, [email protected]