Don’t Use Threat of Coronavirus to Force Detained Parents to Permanently Give Up Children

Target: Matthew Albence, Acting Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Goal: Withdraw questionnaire which forces parents in detention centers to choose between staying in detention or permanently giving up custody of their children.

Parents in detention centers have been given a stark choice by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): either put their children up for adoption or keep them in coronavirus-prone prisons indefinitely. This so-called “binary choice” is an attempt to restart the separations of migrant families which outraged the world in 2018. Offering this option to detained parents is a way to show that they agreed to give up their children willingly, but to offer this option now is exceptionally cruel as COVID-19 rampages through ICE facilities throughout the United States.

In the middle of the most terrifying pandemic in recent history, migrants are being cruelly forced to destroy their families with the threat of incurable disease affecting their decisions. This horrific choice should never be presented to any parent, and ICE should instead work to protect the health of detainees without threatening the mental and emotional well-being of thousands of human beings. Sign the petition below to demand that they withdraw this ultimatum.


Dear Director Albence,

It is profoundly cruel to offer migrants’ children freedom and safety from coronavirus only if they give them up forever. Parents in prison are not in a position to act fairly and in the interests of their whole families under these circumstances. Many may feel they have no other option but to permanently separate their families.

I demand that you end this horrific practice and offer migrant families support and medical care as COVID-19 rages on.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Charles Edward Miller

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