The Hill

HIV Positive Members Should Be Separated From Their Families, CBP Says

Violating a nearly decade old policy approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service that enforced the removal of the HIV Travel and Immigration Ban, asylum seeking children are still being separated from their HIV positive family members.  

Chief Law Enforcement Officer of Customs Border Protection (CBP), Brian Hastings, called HIV a communicable disease under the agency’s guidelines and believed it was still the valid basis for separating families. He was responding to questioning by the Democrat party’s representative, Jamie Raskin, at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on July 25, when he made the statement. 

Raskin was quoting from complaints the Congress had received in this regard and grilled the officer in question. When Hastings was probed further on the issue, he did not seem to know the origin of the guidelines. He said, “I’m not sure if that came from legal counsel. I believe that it is defined as a communicable disease.” 

Raskin then asked him if he considered the flu a communicable disease enough basis to keep parents away from children, to which Hastings responded in the negative. He also did not carry a list of the communicable diseases with him at the time of the proceedings. 

Generally, the CBF is instructed to separate immigrating parents from their children if they have a criminal history. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) plans to file a motion to complement its ongoing litigation against the separation policy. Lee Gelernt, deputy director at the Immigrant Rights Project of the ACLU, told the Quartz that the organization intends to raise the issue of splitting immigrant parents from children for prior misdemeanors. 

Earlier this year, a father confirmed to be HIV positive was deported back to Honduras. This was after being held at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center on November 2018, without contact from his three daughters aged 11, 12 and 14 for four months. 

Deputy director for Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a nonprofit organization helping migrant children, Christie Turner is representing the girls who are now in the care of their relatives in New York. 

In which  circumstances is it legally allowed to segregate  children from their parents? Firstly, the parent should have a communicable disease listed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HIV was removed from the list once the ban was lifted. 

The other conditions are the parent or guardian should present a reasonable danger to the well being of the child, making a fraudulent claim of guardianship, parent has an ongoing criminal warrant and smuggling narcotics or breaking the law while entering the country. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Even after AIDS was declared a non communicable disease, it is used by Customs Border Protection forces as a reason for segregating parents with HIV from their children. U.S. Immigration and Customs E