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Organization says treatment of asylum seekers violates law

According to Amnesty International, when immigration officials forcibly separate children from their parents at the border in Texas and other states, they are violating international law. The organization has documentation showing that children and their parents are being separated even when they have proof of their relationship. During prolonged detention, they are not allowed access to asylum procedures.

Amnesty has also documented the deleterious effects of long-term detention on asylum seekers' psychological health. The organization's executive director says the children have already been traumatized by the time they arrive because of having to flee their countries with their parents and by the long journey.

A director of the organization says under refugee law, the U.S. is in violation of its obligations. As part of that criminalization, asylum seekers are being prosecuted in federal courts and placed in federal prisons. A 2017 report from the organization examined how asylum seekers crossing at the border with Mexico has been affected by border agents' regular denial of asylum seeker claims at ports of entry. Earlier in 2018, Amnesty worked on reuniting several families it said had been separated in violation of Homeland Security policy.

Immigration law and how it is interpreted is in flux, and a person who has immigration issues or questions may want to consult an attorney. These could be questions about remaining in the country on a temporary or permanent basis. A person may be facing removal proceedings or might be interested in naturalization. Others might have questions about whether family members might be able to immigrate or what is necessary to obtain the right documents to work or study in the United States. The forms and documentation required for various types of immigration are complex, and errors might delay their processing, so people may want to work with an attorney to ensure their correct preparation.

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