The Trump administration has begun a targeted push on Congress to fix what they describe as “loopholes” that allow unaccompanied migrant children coming into the U.S.to “game” the immigration system. Others seized on reports the government had “lost” more than 1,000 children, though that wasn’t quite the case. In just the first two weeks of the program, which was implemented by the Department of Homeland Security on May 6, more than 650 children were taken into HHS custody due to adults going through the prosecution process, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials.
It was discovered in 2014 that ORR had released eight children to a child trafficker instead of family members. It’s also possible that sponsors may choose not to answer calls from federal officials to avoid deportation-for the children or themselves.
The latest figures also indicate the average amount of time that children spend in HHS shelters has increased to 57 days in recent months, up from 51 days a year ago. “You’ve broken US law”.
The photographs came as Democrats and immigrant rights groups have criticized the administration for a more aggressive enforcement strategy that has included separating children from parents and other adults who accompanied them across the border.
That’s a longstanding Homeland Security policy, DHS told us.
“These are not loopholes”, Feinstein said at a recent hearing. Because of that, they said, Congress must change the law in order to reduce illegal immigration and child smuggling.
“Make no mistake: This new policy is vicious, brutal and is nothing less than Trump administration-endorsed, USA government-sanctioned child abuse”, concluded political strategist and commentator Maria Cardona in an op-ed for The Hill on Tuesday. And I’m making no distinction between legal and unlawfully present immigrants, because those who despise them feel neither belong here.
That was after Trump lit up social media over the weekend by falsely claiming there was a “horrible law” that separates children from their parents after they cross the border illegally.
There’s been a lot of anger about the Trump administration’s policies on immigration, and in particular lately, around the policy of family separation at the border.
The Trump administration has also made asylum claims more hard to prove, chipped away at the definition of “unaccompanied-minor” status so kids’ legal rights can be diminished, and limited who qualifies for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, which is used to protect abused children. Then, Trump blames the Democrats for the policy.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions today notified all US Attorney’s Offices along the southwest border of a new “zero-tolerance policy” for offenses under 8 USC § 1325 (a), which prohibits both attempted illegal entry and illegal entry into the United States by an alien”, the US Department of Justice said in a press release last month.
HHS has about 100 shelters in 14 states and is preparing to add several thousand more beds.
Currently, all sponsors of unaccompanied children undergo an interview and a background check, and non-parental sponsors undergo fingerprint checks of a Federal Bureau of Investigation database. While precise numbers are not available, at least 700 children have been taken away from their parents in this heartless fashion. While HHS swears it isn’t done as a deterrent, then-DHS Secretary John Kelly said in March of 2017, “In order to deter more movement along this terribly risky network, I am considering exactly that”.
So what happened? The report had been about the federal government’s inability to locate almost 1,500 children who had been placed with sponsors after the kids showed up alone at the border.
“They’re crying for their parents, asking for their parents, having nightmares. They’re unable to sleep, or they sleep all the time”, Abbott said.
This is likely where some of the confusion originated, as hundreds of children have been separated from their parents at the border.
Hargan noted that some family members “simply did not respond” to voluntary calls and “in many cases sponsors can not be reached because they themselves are illegal aliens and do not want to be reached by federal authorities”.