One can argue that our immigration and naturalization laws need reform. I can even agree with that. But until and unless they are changed, they are the law and if you don’t want to face the penalty then don’t. break. the. law. Seriously. Nobody says “you can’t break up families” when we arrest a thief and send him to prison. If you don’t want your family separated as a result of breaking the law, then don’t break the law.
Now, this is usually where somebody starts citing “unjust laws” and “civil disobedience” but the whole point of civil disobedience is to evoke the penalty for the “unjust law” in order to sway opinion so as to get the law changed.
There’s an exchange attributed to Gandhi where one of his followers comes in all excited that they’d done a protest and the British didn’t do anything. Gandhi purportedly told him, basically that they were doing it wrong. The whole point was to have the British respond, showing the British people and the world the injustice of British rule.
If you’re engaging in civil disobedience, you not only expect, but welcome the imposition of the penalties. If you’re not, then it’s not civil disobedience and you’re not the heirs of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. You’re an overgrown toddler having a temper tantrum, kicking and screaming until you get your way.
That’s if you’re an adult able to make such decisions for yourself in full understanding of the consequences. If you’re bringing children into it. If you are dragging children along, evoking the penalties not just for yourself but for them, then you’re not protesting. You’re not engaging in civil disobedience. You’re scum abusing children and engaging in the reckless endangerment thereof.
And if you’re actually seeking asylum and have good cause for it, then the last thing you want is a bunch of other people swarming the border confusing the issue making it that much harder for folk to determine that your need is valid and your situation actually justifies asylum. But since they are, if you really have a case, you’ll understand that it might take some time to sort things out and that might involve some temporary discomfort, even some separation since our laws put different requirements on dealing with adults and dealing with children (thank previous administrations for that), while things are sorted out. And you’ll realize the temporary hassle is a small price to pay for end result.