SU Law Professor Says The Future for Immigrant Families Remains Uncertain

Jun 22, 2018

Outrage over family separation at the border has caused President Donald Trump to sign an executive order. SU Law Professor David Driesen says it may not solve the issue.
Credit John Smith / WAER News

An administrative Law Professor at Syracuse University feels the future of how to handle the crisis of breaking-up immigrant families entering the US remains uncertain.  David Dreisen said President Trump’s Executive Order to reverse his policy does not state if previous families will be unified or if there is a plan to accomplish that. 

He said the real truth is that immigrants come to America because they are fleeing persecution and poverty. They’re seeking refuge. 

"They are families. They haven't committed any real crime." Dreisen said. "It is a of course a crime to go over the border now, but that does not mean you have to separate parents from children. I think it's despicable. In terms of the executive order, it responds to the evil fo separating parents from children with a new evil, which is to keep them together in jail."

The professor said applications for asylum seekers aren’t being processed at the US border, so immigrants resort to entering between ports of entries. That is a misdemeanor, but it’s not a reason to jail families. 

"These are exceptions in that bill for child welfare, and you might argue that child welfare is not served by putting them in jail," said Driesen. "I'm not confident. This whole thing could be a mirage. I'm not sure of that. It depends on how its implemented. But I don't have much faith in these guys. Trump does not follow the law. He does what he wants. That's a big problem for American democracy."

Dreisen has been reviewing legislation by Republicans, but he couldn't find a single provision in the Paul Ryan compromise bill that says re-unification of families must happen.  He said lawmakers continue to be unresponsive to a humanitarian crisis brought on by the President, and Congress needs to hold Trump responsible.  A vote on the Conservative bill failed in the House on Thursday.  The Ryan Companion bill has been pushed to Friday. 

Cornell University immigration law professor  Stephen Yale-Loehr said in a release that if Trump’s Executive Order is successful at modifying the Flores versus Reno agreement of 1997, that could trigger separate lawsuits to question the legality of detaining immigrant families for long periods of time.