The Trump Administration Is Considering Separating Immigrant Children From Parents
Under a proposed policy, undocumented mothers would be detained while their children are placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly confirmed Monday that the Trump administration is considering separating migrant parents from their children who cross the U.S.-Mexico border together illegally.
“If you get some young kids who manage to sneak into the United States with their parents, are Department of Homeland Security personnel going to separate the children from their moms and dads?,” CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Kelly in an interwiew on Monday afternoon.
“We have tremendous experience in dealing with unaccompanied minors,” Kelly responded. “We turn them over to HHS, and they do a very, very good job of either putting them in kind of foster care or linking them up with parents or family members in the United States.”
He continued: “Yes, I am considering, 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.”
The proposed policy, first reported Friday by Reuters, would allow border officials to detain and hold parents in custody while their children are placed into the protective custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“They will be well cared for as we deal with their parents,” Kelly said. “It’s more important to me Wolf to try to keep people off of this awful network.”
Immigrant and civil rights groups denounced the proposal, saying the policy would not stand a court challenge like others recently enacted by the Trump administration.
Currently, parents and children spend a maximum of three weeks together in the custody of the authorities and are allowed to stay in the United States until the case of their illegal entry is resolved, as reported in Spanish newspaper El País.
Last July, Justice said that children should be released as soon as possible, but it did not force parents to be freed as well. To comply with that ruling, the Obama administration established that parents and children could not spend more than 21 days in a migrant detention center.
Between October and January, about 54,000 children and their parents were captured by US border police, more than double the same period last year, according to statistics quoted by Reuters. In 2014, the US suffered a wave of Central American minors traveling alone to the country.