DHS is considering separating undocumented children from their parents at the border - Alternative Media Forum


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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

DHS is considering separating undocumented children from their parents at the border

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly confirmed that the department is considering separating children from their parents at the border.
DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 15: Undocumented immigrant and activist Jeanette Vizguerra, 45, hugs her youngest child Zury Baez, 6, while addressing supporters and the media as she seeks sanctuary at First Unitarian Church on February 15, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Vizguerra, who has been working the United States for some 20 years, and her children will be living in a room in the basement of the church hoping to avoid deportation after the local office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement denied a stay of her case which would lead to her immediate deportation. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
"We have tremendous experience of dealing with unaccompanied minors," he said. "We turn them over to (Health and Human Services) and they do a very, very good job of putting them in foster care or linking them up with parents or family members in the United States."
He continued: "Yes I'm considering (that), in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network. I am considering exactly that. They will be well cared for as we deal with their parents. ... It's more important to me, Wolf, to try to keep people off of this awful network."
A senior DHS official had previously said that the department was considering a proposal to separate children from adults when they are trying to enter the country illegally at the southern border.
The official said the proposal is meant to deter the exploitation of children.
Currently, when adults enter the country accompanied by children, they are generally released into the US and able to stay in the country, pending disposition of their cases, the official said.
The proposal would allow US immigration officials to separate children from the adults they came here with. The adults could be kept in detention, and the children could be moved elsewhere under protected status, possibly with family members already in the country or to state protective custody such as child protective services.
In a statement said last week, DHS spokesman David Lapan said the agency "continually explores options that may discourage those from even beginning the journey."
"The journey north is a dangerous one, with too many situations where children -- brought by parents, relatives or smugglers -- are often exploited, abused or may even lose their lives," Lapan said at the time.

Leon Fresco, a former DOJ official in President Barack Obama's administration, said the previous administration considered, but ultimately rejected, the move.
"It was never implemented because the idea was that it was too detrimental to the safety of the children to separate them from their parents, and the thinking was it was always preferable to detain the family as a unit or release the family as the unit," Fresco said.

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