File image of an ICE officer
CNN  — 

House Democratic lawmakers urged the Trump administration in a letter Thursday to explain reported incidents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement asking migrant families in detention to choose between staying with their children or releasing them.

Advocates and immigration lawyers shared anecdotes of detained families distraught over their encounters with ICE last week, describing meetings between parents and ICE officers regarding whether their children would remain in custody with the parent or be turned over to a sponsor in the US.

“What’s certain and consistent is that these choices were presented to our clients and that our clients walked away truly feeling that they were asked to say good bye to their children,” said Shay Fluharty, director of Proyecto Dilley, an organization that provides legal services for families in detention.

Families detained in all three ICE detention facilities – Berks in Pennsylvania, South Texas (Dilley), and Karnes County Family Residential Centers in Texas – shared similar stories. Children at the facilities range from 1 year old to 17 years old, according to lawyers and advocates who provide legal assistance.