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PNS Daily Newscast - December 14, 2018 


The Senate votes to withdraw funding for the Saudi war in Yemen. Also on the Friday rundown: the Global Climate Conference reinforces the need for grassroots movements; and could this be the most wasteful time of year?

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With More Families Being Separated, Stress on Immigrants Adding Up

The U.S. government has moved more than 1,400 detainees at the border to federal prisons, including the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac. (SoundersBruce/Wikimedia Commons)
The U.S. government has moved more than 1,400 detainees at the border to federal prisons, including the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac. (SoundersBruce/Wikimedia Commons)
June 14, 2018

SEATAC, Wash. – Pressures are mounting under new Trump administration policies that separate immigrant families.

More than 200 people seeking asylum are being held in a federal prison in SeaTac, many of whom are mothers taken away from their children at the border.

And a new Department of Homeland Security policy could separate more families. It will allow U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to investigate and deport members of families who step up to host children found at the border.

Mark Chattin, legal services director at Catholic Community Services in Seattle, says host families usually are related to the unaccompanied children and will be wary to come forward under this new policy.

"It really does increase the likelihood that children will be separated from any sort of family when they're taken away from their parents,” he states. “A lot of families who would step up to be foster parents are going to be concerned about doing so."

Chattin calls these policies cruel.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and the state’s attorney general, Bob Ferguson, are seeking answers about the women held in SeaTac and are leaving open the possibility of a lawsuit to find out more.

More than 1,400 asylum seekers have been sent to federal prisons across the country.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also announced this week that most victims of domestic and gang violence would no longer qualify for asylum. He says the policy is needed because numbers at the border are threatening to overwhelm the immigration system.

Chattin says it isn't just immigrants coming across the southern border who are running into roadblocks reunifying with their families. The Trump administration has also halted cases from people around the world.

"They just basically have put everything on administrative hold,” he states. “And so those folks aren't being able to get reunified either.

“So you have those who come to the border get separated, and then those who are here legally but want to bring their family here can't do so."

Chattin wants to see the religious community step up with a unified voice to denounce these policies.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA