Zero tolerance immigration policy impacts in AL

(WBRC) - Representatives with the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (HICA) call the new zero tolerance immigration policy a "human rights violation." They also say they are seeing some impact at the local level.

"The United Nations says this violates the rights of parents and the rights of children and also international law," said Carlos Aleman, HICA Deputy Director.

Aleman and others at the organization believe one of the off shoots of the new policy is what's happening to the LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) program. Before, they said it would help place children who had attempted to cross the border.

"They didn't tell anyone they were coming and they would just show up and they got caught at the border. And then the family members would be like we want to help them. We want to get them out," said Lucia Gaona, who works in the organization's Immigration and access to justice program.

Those family members would come to HICA and be finger printed. A background check would also be run. However, that information would never leave LIRS.

Last Thursday, the coalition says Homeland Security announced it also now wants access to that information.

"That wasn't policy before. And now they are saying you need to sign an authorization of release form to make sure we can run a background check on you as well," said Gaona.

According to HICA, no one at Homeland Security has announced what they plan to do with that information, but they think they have a good idea.

"It's really hard to tell them that you could potentially end up in deportation proceedings yourself," said Gaona.

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