Border official confirms migrant families have been forcibly separated for a despicable reason
A top Customs and Border Protection official claimed during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday that guidance allows them to forcibly separate kids from HIV-positive parents at the border, but could not point to where that guidance came from. "If a mother or father has HIV-positive status,” Maryland’s Rep. Jamie Raskin asked CBP chief Brian Hastings, “is that alone enough to justify separation from their child?" Hastings replied, "It is, it's a communicable disease under the guidance."
But HIV is not communicable “by ordinary contact,” Raskin correctly noted, adding that migrant families have been forcibly separated over a parent’s HIV status, in at least one instance permanently, following the father’s deportation. “That’s the guidance that we follow,” Hastings again claimed. Raskin wanted to know more about this guidance, asking Hastings if it came from legal counsel or Border Patrol’s chief.
“I’m not sure if that came from legal counsel,” he replied, once again saying he believed HIV is “defined as a communicable disease.” When Raskin asked Hastings if he had a list of these diseases, he replied, “Not with me, no, sir.” Nice work preparing there. In a final notation of the administration’s bigotry, Raskin asked if officials would “separate parents from their kids if a mom or dad had the flu?” Hastings replied, “We’re not, sir.”
The Washington Blade reports that “the Obama administration in 2010 ended the administrative HIV travel ban into the United States through administrative action after Congress repealed the statutory HIV travel ban during the George W. Bush administration.” Families have recently been torn apart over a parent’s HIV status, with Quartz reporting that officials separated three kids from their dad in November 2018, months after the family separation policy supposedly ended.
“According to an interview the father conducted with KIND, the US official told him that he ‘had been separated due to his HIV positive status.’” The dad was deported back to Honduras in February, while “his daughters were split up between two shelters in Texas, where they remained for months before being released to relatives in New York City. The girls’ mother died of AIDS before they left Honduras.”
Every day there seems to be a new low with this administration, with officials also ripping apart families by falsely accusing parents of gang ties. “We are appalled to learn that the U.S. government is again stigmatizing immigrants living with HIV,” Aaron Morris of Immigration Equality told the Washington Blade. “Separating children from their parents because they are HIV-positive deeply misunderstands basic public health and will irreparably harm families and children.”