U. S. Circuit Court Judge Dolly M. Gee ruled this month that children detained for longer than 20 days should be released from family prisons.

ICE has the authority to release parents with their children, but has instead chosen the path of cruelty—they have asked parents to choose between family separation or continued detention of their children at a time when Covid-19 is spreading in detention prisons like wildfire.

This is not choice at all. Families should be freed together, now.

Understanding that family separation is ongoing and currently threatening the families detained in immigration prisons across America, members of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network asked survivors of the “Zero Tolerance” policy what they would say to prevent future separation of migrant families. What they told them should end family separation once and for all.

Here are 11 stories from family members who recount the trauma of being separated from their children. The harm is irreparable, they say.

In addition, find a collection of their stories — in English and Spanish videos — here.