The question of how to decrease illegal border crossings has troubled administrations both Republican and Democratic, but President Donald Trump has taken one of the more harsh stances toward undocumented immigrants in recent memory.
In the wake of increased border crossings after a marked slowdown following his election, Trump intends to implement policy that will see families separated - children in one direction, parents in another.
Previous administrations have stopped short of resorting to policies like family separation, because of concerns that it could force people into the hands of dangerous smugglers who sell themselves as a way to evade the Border Patrol, or force people with legitimate claims for asylum to remain in life-threatening situations in their home countries.
Under current policy, families are held in special detention centers or not detained at all and instead given a court date. Regardless, immigrant advocates say family separation already happens, with documentation of at least 150 such cases in 2017.
“It interferes with due process, and is really just cruel,” said Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the organization. “Children feel that they are being abandoned, literally being ripped out of their parents’ arms.”