DHS considering separating undocumented children from parents
Mar 08 2017
WASHINGTON ― Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Monday that he's considering splitting children from their parents if they arrive at the U.S. -Mexico border without authorization.
"I would do nearly anything to deter the people from Central America getting on this very, very unsafe network. going through Mexico", Kelly said.
Yes I'm considering, in order to deter more movement along this terribly unsafe network, I am considering exactly that.
"We have tremendous experience dealing with unaccompanied minors, we turn them over to HHS and they do a very good job putting them into foster care, or linking them up with family members in the United States", Kelly replied.
Generally families are housed in detention centres for a few days before being released in the U.S. as they wait to hear about their case. "I am considering exactly that", Kelly said.
Since 2014, tens of thousands of families fleeing violence and poverty in Central American countries such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, were caught crossing the border illegally.
Responding to such criticism, DHS claimed that removing children from their parents would prevent illegal immigration before it occurs.
Under current rules, families are detained at the border before being released into the United States to wait for an immigration judge to decide their fate.
However, the new proposal would allow U.S. immigration officials to separate children from the adults they crossed the southern border with.
Immigration experts have blasted the DHS proposal, which mirrors President Trump's pledge to crack down on illegal immigration and radically overhaul protocols on how to deal with asylum-seeking families.
Leon Fresco, a former DOJ official in President Barack Obama's administration, said the previous administration considered, but ultimately rejected, the move. The idea was never implemented because it was deemed too detrimental to the safety of the children, Fresco told CNN. The idea behind the program was to give parents already lawfully in the USA a means to legally bring in their children if they could prove the kids were at risk in their native countries.
Officials could move the separated children under protective status to be with family members in the United States or to keep them under state protective custody such as child services. "Bottom line: separating mothers and children is wrong", he said. "Who knows what they're going to do with them?"