MDCR Statement on President Trump's Zero Tolerance Policy and its Impact on Michigan

Contact: Vicki Levengood - levengoodv@michigan.gov, 517-241-7978
Agency: Civil Rights

June 19, 2018

Lansing, MI-The Michigan Department of Civil Rights today announced that the Department is actively engaged in assessing the impact of President Trump’s zero tolerance policy and the separation of children from their parents at the US/Mexico border on the state of Michigan, and the Department’s responsibilities under state law. 

Historically, Michigan has served as an important site for adult and family refugee resettlement and has provided foster care placement for unaccompanied immigrant children that arrive alone at international points of entry into the US. 

However, under this new policy, children who are being separated from their parents at the border are now being transported to Michigan for temporary foster care placement.

In response to this situation, Agustin V. Arbulu, Executive Director of Michigan Department of Civil Rights released the following statement:

“While the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, along with people all over the nation, decry the forced separation of children from their parents taking place on our southern border, the policy is a federal issue and beyond the scope of this department’s responsibilities under law. But for those children who have been separated from their parents and brought to Michigan, the Department of Civil Rights has a duty to make sure their civil rights are protected.”

“This week, I have been in touch with various agencies and organizations working with these vulnerable children. We have received reports and are very concerned that the children arriving here are much younger than those who have been transported here in the past. Some of the children are infants as young as three months of age and are completely unable to advocate for themselves. While we commend the work of resettlement agencies in Michigan attempting to serve these children with dignity and compassion, nothing can replace the love, sense of security and care of a parent.”   

“I take very seriously our responsibility under state law to see to it that the civil rights of every person in this state, especially these vulnerable children in crisis, are protected. We will continue to monitor this situation closely to ensure the rights of these children are protected to the fullest extent.”

 

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