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It’s Not Just Immigrants. Trump Is Separating American Families, Too.

January 29, 2019 in Economics

By David Bier

David Bier

While family separation at the border received significant media
attention last year, a quieter family separation policy continued
under the radar, and the separations have targeted
American families. New research shows that President Trump’s
travel ban — first ordered two years ago last week — has
already separated thousands of U.S. citizens from their spouses and
minor children.

Virtually no one in the immigration debate openly supports
separating the nuclear family by denying visas to spouses or minor
children of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Last year,
even the White House
promoted
its plan to restrict “chain migration” of
other family members — adult children, siblings and parents
— as “promoting nuclear family immigration.”

If the current
restrictions remain in place, the policy will have broken tens of
thousands of American families by the end of the president’s first
term. This is a crisis that Congress cannot allow to
continue.

Yet the travel ban — which currently restricts entry of
nationals of five majority-Muslim countries – is breaking
apart nuclear families every day. New research from the Cato
Institute suggests that as of this January, the policy has prevented more
than 9,000 family members of U.S. citizens from entering the United
States since the Supreme Court allowed the policy to take full effect in
December 2017. That number includes more than 5,500 children and
just short of 4,000 spouses.

If we continue this trend, the separations will hit an estimated
15,000 spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens by the end of
2019. The policy will also keep out an additional nearly 2,000
spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents by year’s
end.

We don’t know the exact numbers, since the State Department has
not released official numbers of visas denied to family members of
U.S. citizens. But we can estimate how many people were prevented
from coming to the United States by looking at the average visa
issuances before the ban and comparing them with those after
it.

Before the ban, from 2012 to 2016, more than 9,000 spouses and
children of U.S. citizens entered from the travel-ban countries per
year. The current pace predicts just 1,700 will enter in 2019
— more than an 80 percent decline. This decline is a clear
departure from earlier trends in each of the five banned
countries.

The majority of the separations so far — more than 5,000
— have been of Yemeni spouses and children of U.S. citizens,
but nearly 1,500 Iranians, almost 1,500 Somalis, about 850 Syrians
and around 200 Libyans with U.S. citizen spouses or parents were
stranded …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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