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Protesters rally against the separation of immigrant families

BROOKLYN — New Yorkers rallied Thursday as part of a nation-wide protest against the practice of separating children from their families at the U.S. boarder.

“I’ve been here 52 years I never thought I’d live to see these atrocities,” Guatemalan immigrant and U.S. citizen Nancy Hernandez said. “It’s a violation of human rights.”

The practice of separating children from their families at the boarder is not necessarily new. However, it’s been brought to the forefront because of the tougher immigration stance of the Trump administration, which is promising more federal prosecution of people who cross the boarder illegally.

Anyone subject to federal prosecution is sent to federal jail and not to an immigration detention center where families can be held together. Children who are with the adults get sent to crowded foster homes and families— or placed with family living legally in the United States by the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The practice is criticized by some as an inhumane approach to a more nuanced issue. They argue it not only leaves children more vulnerable to abuse, but also leads to refugees and those seeking asylum to make higher risk decision. Advocates said the Obama administration worked to keep families together as much as possible during the lengthy court processes.

The Trump administration argues that the seperation policy is a deterrent to illegal immigration— and enforcing existing laws.