- Attorney Michael Avenatti finds himself at odds with some immigration attorneys and activists over his calls for a “single staging area” to reunite families that were separated at the border by the Trump administration.
- In a brief interview with Business Insider, Avenatti said the single staging area is “the only way this problem gets solved.”
- “THIS IS A HORRIBLE IDEA,” tweeted one immigration attorney.
Attorney Michael Avenatti finds himself at odds with some immigration attorneys and activists over what he is calling on the government to do to reunite the families and children that were separated as a result of President Donald Trump’s recent “zero tolerance” policy at the southern border.
Avenatti has called for what he calls a “single staging area” to reunite the families. It would involve the government moving all of the detained migrant families and their children who have been separated from them and place them into one facility for the purpose of reunifying them.
“I rarely ask for help but I’m asking now,” Avenatti tweeted. “We need to pressure the govt to reunite families NOW by using a single staging area approach. This can be solved but they need to act immediately before time and distance permanently destroys families. Please trend #undefined”
Avenatti told The Washington Examiner that he is “in the process of discussing” that plan “with various individuals in the government.”
In a brief interview with Business Insider, Avenatti said the single staging area is “the only way this problem gets solved,” claiming that he’s “making some progress, slowly but surely” on making the idea a reality.
‘I think the people that are criticising that decision are very short-sighted’
Some immigration attorneys criticised the single-staging idea, saying it would exacerbate family detentions, leaving the families reunited but in detention centres for an indefinite period.
“We have been fighting to put an end to deportation internment camps, not to create one monolithic one where refugees are kept indefinitely where they are subjected to abuse and torture,”tweeted Matthew Kolken, an immigration attorney.
“THIS IS A HORRIBLE IDEA,” tweeted immigration attorneyAlida Garcia.
Avenatti has pushed back on this criticism, even accusing his opponents on the issue of seeking to use the children to advance a separate immigration agenda.
“By the way, I think the people that are criticising that decision are very short-sighted and are ostensibly trying to use children as pawns to advance a bigger agenda, and I don’t believe in that,” Avenatti told Business Insider.
Addressing the criticisms to the New York Observer, Avenatti said the children and parents were “already in custody” and that Trump “could decide tomorrow to move them all to a central location, and there’s very little anyone could do about it.”
“The idea that this single staging area somehow advances what he’s trying to do or otherwise is absurd,” he said. “What’s the alternative? Deport the parents and leave the kids behind?”
Avenatti has also taken to Twitter to counter the argument,saying “the left” could “overplay their hand” on the border crisis.
“Some groups do not want to unify families bc they argue it makes it easier for DJT to advance unlimited detention,” he tweeted. “This makes no sense.”
Avenatti is providing counsel to detained migrant families that have been split up and to whistleblowers working for law enforcement agencies and detention centres that have dealt with the recent influx of roughly 2,000 children.
The “zero tolerance” policy led to the children being separated from their families as the Trump administration opted to prosecute their parents for illegal entry, a misdemeanour. Trump last week issued an executive order putting that policy on pause as it was met with intense backlash, but the administration has yet to reunite all of the children with their families.
Avenatti rose to prominence as the attorney for Stormy Daniels, the porn star who claims to have had a 2006 affair with President Donald Trump and was paid to keep silent before the election. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing Trump and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, in California seeking to void the nondisclosure agreement.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.