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Federal Judge Forcing Parents to Abandon Children
545 Kids Already "Lost" - Hobson's Choice and COVID Exacerbates Problem
Public interest law professor John Banzhaf, in an amicus curiae brief, opposed this approach, arguing that the government can insure the appearance of migrants at hearings, without imprisoning them along with their children, by a variety of proven and inexpensive electronic means, and thus eliminate the need for detention in hotels or elsewhere.
Banzhaf's amicus brief noted that there are many simple, inexpensive, and proven methods which the government can use to insure that parents who are released do appear for required legal hearings, thereby making detention of entire families unnecessary.
Other treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the U.S. has also ratified, prohibits arbitrary detention and the deprivation of liberty, including for children. The ICCPR holds that detention should only be used with an individualized determination of a need to detain, which should then be periodically reviewed by an independent court.
Thus, a blanket detention policy - for completely innocent children as well as adults - for all illegal crossings may be in violation of international law and generally accepted norms and rights.
Banzhaf also cited many different U.S. court decisions which have recognized that, aside from whatever rights might be provided by the Due Process clause, there are separate broad rights related to child rearing and families which have long been recognized as falling under the broad right of privacy also established by the Constriction.
He also noted that threatening to hold children in detention for extensive periods of time if parents do not agree to abandon them is especially coercive because of the growing risk of COVID-10, especially for children detained with their parents, and thus kept in confinement under sub-standard health conditions, and with the limited care children and/or parents are likely to receive while in confinement should they contract COVID-19.