Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Detention and Immigrant Children: Take Two

Immigration raids throughout the country earlier this month forcibly separated children of undocumented workers from their parents. Senator Dianne Feinstein asked DHS Secretary Chertoff about the Department's actions that reportedly left some young children stranded at day care centers and others without adequate adult oversight for days at a time:

[N]ews reports detail that one baby, who was breast-feeding, had to be hospitalized for dehydration because her mother remained in detention.

Leaving aside the Convention on the Rights of the Child (for reasons explained here), this practice of arbitrarily denying parents access to their children appears to violate Article 17 (right to family life) of the ICCPR, a treaty that the US has ratified, albeit as non-self-executing. The remedy? Litigation and advocacy efforts might draw authority from the international human rights angle, and if domestic remedies fail, Mexico and others might think about reviving ICCPR Article 41, which authorizes state-to-state complaints before the Human Rights Committee.

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