Sep­a­ra­tion of mi­grant kids from fam­i­lies con­tin­u­ing but on smaller scale

Stop­gap spend­ing bill passes with­out wall money, set­ting up pos­si­ble col­li­sion with Trump

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - NATION & WORLD - BY COLLEEN LONG

WASH­ING­TON — The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion sep­a­rated 81 mi­grant chil­dren from their fam­i­lies at the Mex­i­can border since the June ex­ec­u­tive or­der that stopped the gen­eral prac­tice amid a crack­down on il­le­gal cross­ings, ac­cord­ing to data pro­vided by the gov­ern­ment to The As­so­ci­ated Press.

De­spite the or­der and a fed­eral judge’s rul­ing, im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials are al­lowed to sep­a­rate a child from a par­ent in cer­tain cases — se­ri­ous crim­i­nal charges against a par­ent, con­cerns over the health and wel­fare of a child, or med­i­cal con­cerns. Those caveats were in place be­fore the zero-tol­er­ance pol­icy that prompted the ear­lier sep­a­ra­tions at the border.

The gov­ern­ment de­cides whether a child fits into the ar­eas of con­cern, wor­ry­ing ad­vo­cates of the fam­i­lies and im­mi­grant rights groups that are afraid par­ents are be­ing falsely la­beled as crim­i­nals.

From June 21, the day af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s or­der, through Tues­day, 76 adults were sep­a­rated from the chil­dren, ac­cord­ing to the data. Of those, 51 were crim­i­nally pros­e­cuted — 31 with crim­i­nal his­to­ries and 20 for other, un­spec­i­fied rea­sons, ac­cord­ing to the gov­ern­ment data.

Nine were hos­pi­tal­ized, 10 had gang af­fil­i­a­tions and four had ex­tra­ditable war­rants, ac­cord­ing to the im­mi­gra­tion data. Two were sep­a­rated be­cause of prior im­mi­gra­tion vi­o­la­tions and or­ders of re­moval, ac­cord­ing to the data.

“The wel­fare of chil­dren in our cus­tody is para­mount,” said Katie Wald­man, a spokes­woman for the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, which over­sees U.S. im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment. “As we have al­ready said — and the num­bers show: Sep­a­ra­tions are rare. While there was a brief in­crease dur­ing zero tol­er­ance as more adults were pros­e­cuted, the num­bers have re­turned to their prior lev­els.”

At its height over the sum­mer, more than 2,400 chil­dren were sep­a­rated. The prac­tice raised global out­rage from politi­cians, hu­man­i­tar­i­ans and re­li­gious groups who called it cruel and cal­lous.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.