Louisville attorneys helping detained families navigate immigration laws

Attorneys at U.S. border say problem not fixed by executive order
Updated: Jun. 20, 2018 at 11:56 PM EDT
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President Trump signed an executive order to stop the separation of families at the border....
President Trump signed an executive order to stop the separation of families at the border. (Source: NBC News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Around 2,000 children were separated from their parents after being detained for crossing the U.S. - Mexico border.

Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to prevent the separation of families. But a Louisville attorney who traveled to Texas said the problem is far from over.

"What we are hearing down here is that when they were separated most of them have no way at all to be reunited with their children," Vanessa Cantley said.

Cantley is a personal injury lawyer in Louisville. The sight of children locked behind fences and the sounds of heartbreaking cries called Cantley and thousand of attorneys across the country to action.

There are ways to provide legal or translating services remotely. Cantley is looking for translating services, and recommends lawyersforgoodgovernment.org and nmilc.org to find other opportunities.

Cantley said she's working with families seeking asylum. Under the current law those families are supposed to have a hearing and cannot be detained for more than 20 days.

"If you are trying to get asylum, I mean you might be looking at two years," immigration attorney Nima Kulkarni said.

Kulkarni said the parameters of the law do not match the reality of immigr ant court.

"No one is changing the laws and congress has not passed any legislation," Kulkarni said. "These are just internal policies being applied and generated by the White House and being enforced by the immigration enforcement agency."

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) supports the president's executive order. He said in part: "The safety of Americans and the security of our nation require that people who illegally cross our border are not simply released into the United States."

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The executive order does not address the backlog of immigr ants waiting for a turn in court.

In Texas, Cantley said she will use her profession to work for the families.

"It's such chaos because there are worried families who have already been separated and will have no way to get back to one another," Cantley said.

The president said there is still a zero tolerance policy on immigration.

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