This is what happens when families get separated at the US border, step by step

Getty ImagesUndocumented migrants wait for asylum hearings outside the port of entry in Tijuana, Mexico on June 18, 2018.
  • President Donald Trump’s new “zero tolerance” policy has separated thousands of children from their families at the US-Mexico border.
  • The policy means children are being separated from their families upon crossing the border illegally, processed separately, and ultimately deported or released into the US without their parents.
  • The administration has claimed it’s separating “smugglers” posing as fake families in order to prevent human trafficking.
  • See what happens after families are separated at the border, step-by-step.

President Donald Trump’s new “zero tolerance” policy has separated thousands of children from their families after they illegally crossed the US-Mexico border.

Amid major backlash from both parties, one consistent falsehood coming from the Trump administration is blaming Democratic legislation for forcing officials to separate migrant families at the border.

But there is no law specifically requiring migrant children be separated from their parents if they illegally cross the border. The current practice is in place because of the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy, which could be rescinded at any time.

Under this policy, every adult caught illegally crossing the border is criminally charged, a process which separates the migrants from their children during prosecution.

Previously, families were either deported or held together in US custody until their hearing. Under the zero-tolerance policy, families are being split up and processed separately. The administration has also claimed it’s separating “smugglers” posing as fake families in order to prevent human trafficking.

The new policy stipulates that adults go through legal proceedings without their children, and are ultimately either deported while their child remains in the US or granted asylum after their child has also either been deported or placed with a sponsor.

Take a look, step-by-step, at the process behind the policy:

What happens when families get separated at the border immigration zero tolerance flowchartShayanne Gal/Business Insider

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