Obama officials explain viral photos of immigrant children 'in cages'

Obama officials explain viral photos of immigrant children 'in cages'

Obama officials explain viral photos of immigrant children 'in cages'

Those shelters are at 95 percent capacity, an HHS official said Tuesday and the agency is preparing to add potentially thousands of new bed spaces in the coming weeks.

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

In an interview with NPR in May, White House chief of staff John Kelly described family separation as a "tough deterrent".

After staying with the ORR, most of these children are sent to live with a sponsor, who more often than not have close ties with the children, mostly parents or close relatives.

The latest figures do not distinguish between minors who arrive without a parent and those who are separated from their mothers and fathers after they cross the border.

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. His new "zero tolerance" immigration policy is splitting up hundreds of migrant families at the border. Many seized on reports that HHS "lost" 1,475 children past year, describing them as "missing".

The government reportedly places the separated children in foster homes. But if HHS can't keep track of children it was already responsible for, some fear the new policy will make things worse. HHS officials told the Post that the agency now has 1,300 reserve spaces to provide for incoming minors, but at the rate that immigration officers are prosecuting migrant parents, those beds will be full in a matter of weeks. "But the big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long".

Wagner told reporters that HHS went a step further than required by the Flores Settlement by making the follow-up phone calls. "Sometimes they don't even talk to the kid", he said.

The phone calls revealed that the majority of the children were still with their sponsors.

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"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. Meanwhile, there are 1500 children that are missing their parents as a result of Daddy's orders.

Concerns over HHS's placement and tracking of children aren't unfounded. Sen.

"From these calls, officials learned that 6,075 children remained with their sponsors". However, many children may have been separated from their parents after they had entered the United States together. But the Department of Homeland Security said last month that the practice is not a deterrence mechanism and is done to protect minor children's "best interests" if the department can not confirm a parental relationship or if they think the child is otherwise in danger. In some cases, sponsors simply didn't respond to the follow-up phone call, not surprising because many are themselves in the US illegally and reluctant to speak to authorities.

"Flores is not supposed to override a parent's choice and have their child sent to a odd facility, ' said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants" Rights Project.

The administration has complained in particular about the greater share of these crossings that involve children and family units, which have picked up in recent years, but are not inconsistent with the last few years of the Obama administration.

Actually, the policy in question was enacted by his own administration. Second, every individual who crosses the border illegally is prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

The Trump administration wants to treat all unaccompanied immigrant children like Mexican children are treated, while immigrant advocates want everyone treated like South American children.

"What's happened is the exception to the rule is now becoming the rule", said Wendy Young, president of the advocacy group Kids in Need of Defense.

Those arguments underscore the degree to which this controversy is animated as much by attitudes toward the president and the way he has made immigration a focus of partisan conflict as by specific policy preferences.

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