Day 6

Children are still being detained in U.S. custody, 18 months after the end of family separation

U.S. President Donald Trump's family separation policy ended in June 2018, but hundreds of children arriving as asylum seekers have been separated from their families since then and refugee advocates say the conditions under which they are being held are unjust.

Hundreds of children have been separated from their families since the policy ended in June 2018

A family of Honduran asylum seekers stands on the international bridge from Mexico to the United States on Dec. 9, 2019 in the border town of Matamoros, Mexico. (John Moore/Getty Images)

More than a year and a half has passed since the Trump administration's policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border officially ended, but according to Erika Pinheiro, it's something that border officials are still doing.

"Trump has essentially given them free reign to violate the law," Pinheiro told Day 6 host Brent Bambury.

Pinheiro is a lawyer with the non-profit organization Al Otro Lado, and helps children and families on both sides of the border as they seek asylum in the U.S.

"It's deadly. I think it's just a matter of time before another child dies," ​​​​Pinheiro said, referring to the death of 16-year-old Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez from Guatemala who died in U.S. immigration detention in Texas last May.

His story resurfaced this month when video emerged showing how U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents held him in a concrete cell without proper medical attention. The video contradicts the agency's account of his death.

Pinheiro says more than 1,000 families have been separated by CBP since the policy of separation officially ended. She tells Bambury that the ongoing fight for the rights of these child migrants and their families should be everyone's fight.

"History shows us that the first population to be vilified and stripped of their rights is rarely the last," she said.

To hear the full interview with Erika Pinheiro, download our podcast or click Listen above.

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