Migrant Children At The Border

02 June, 2018, 22:11 | Author: Irene Delgado
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In cases where a parent crosses illegally with his or her child, the parent will be referred for prosecution and the child directed to HHS for care and custody while the child's immigration case is resolved.

And the administration said that includes parents traveling with children.

"We try to provide the children with some comfort and routine, so they don't have any more surprises", said Abbott.

"This still stems back to Obama's policies", he said. "Especially sponsors who aren't parents, maybe they see they bit off more than they can chew".

A New York Times report and a USA Today report both had to issue corrections after they claimed that the Trump administration had "lost track" of almost 1,500 unaccompanied minors who had crossed the southern border and been resettled across the country.

Now facing a new surge, the Trump administration has expanded prosecutions, making them the standard rather than the exception under a new zero tolerance policy. Data reviewed by The New York Times in late April says that almost 700 children, including more than 100 under the age of four, have been separated from people claiming to be their parents.

"Children should not be used as a deterrent", said Dona Abbott, director of refugee and immigrant program services at Bethany Christian Services, which has provided foster care to 1,400 children since 2014 at shelters and homes in Maryland and MI.

The most recent site survey by HHS included officials going to four bases in Texas and Arkansas. "So the goal was to get kids out of the Border Patrol, into proper care by HHS, and then HHS is supposed to release them to the least restrictive setting, and in more than 80% of the cases, that was their parents who were already in the United States". But even its supporters, such as chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus Mark Meadows, R-N.C., have said they don't believe it has the votes to pass. "If you call a friend and they don't answer the phone, you don't assume that they've been kidnapped".

"This policy will undoubtedly make it more likely that qualified sponsors will hide in the shadows, leaving vulnerable young children to languish in immigration jail", said Rich Leimsider, executive director of the Safe Passage Project, which represents immigrant children in NY, in an email to Reuters. Former GOP Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum even tried placing the blame on the children's parents.

An official from the Health and Human Services Department told a congressional hearing last month that his department placed follow-up phone calls from October to December to USA households that were sponsoring the minors after they came to the border without their parents.

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The administration has branded as "loopholes" a series of laws that are created to provide human rights and due process rights protections to immigrants, especially children.

They have not said information gathered by HHS will be used for enforcement purposes, but a year ago, top officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement proposed adopting such measures to discourage parents who send for their children by hiring "coyote" smugglers to bring them to the United States from Central America. Immigrants who present themselves at a U.S. border to claim asylum-something they have every right to do under U.S. and worldwide law-sometimes also have their children taken away from them. In some cases, sponsors simply didn't respond to the follow-up phone call, not surprising because many are themselves in the USA illegally and reluctant to speak to authorities.

This treatment goes against U.N. Refugee Agency guidelines that say children have the right to remain united with their parents, and that detention of asylum-seekers must be avoided.

The groups demand the commission to require the USA government to inform parents where their children are, provide a way "for them to communicate regularly and freely" and provide the commission with measures it is taking to ensure that children "can be located, properly identified, and reunited with ... parents".

Did the almost 1,500 immigrant children come with their parents?

Jonathan Rath Hoffman, chief spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, described the Trump administration's determination to prosecute parents as a continuation of Obama-era measures.

- Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 1, 2018Not only that - this administration built on their "zero tolerance" policy earlier this month. During President Barack Obama's second term, the government prosecuted roughly 70,000 cases per year.

The policy comes from Trump's own administration, which has made a decision to enforce criminal charges against people crossing the border illegally with few or no previous offenses.

What's more, Democrats aren't wholly responsible for either policy. "It was not an Obama policy".

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