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Children detained at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children on Monday, June 18, 2018. The facility is housing 1,192 teenage immigrants, including 391 girls. ELLIS RUA/MIAMI HERALD
Children detained at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children on Monday, June 18, 2018. The facility is housing 1,192 teenage immigrants, including 391 girls. ELLIS RUA/MIAMI HERALD

Immigrants detained after offering to take care of undocumented children

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has detained dozens of undocumented immigrants who offered to take care of undocumented children who are in government…

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Under this government, the worst of nightmares for immigrants can come true.

It’s not enough that thousands of children have been separated from their parents, that many of them are living in terrible conditions in government custody, or that the Trump administration is looking for ways to keep them in detention for long periods of time. Now, the government has decided to use them as bait to arrest other undocumented immigrants that come forward.

On Tuesday, the senior official of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Matthew Albence testified before Congress and declared that, after the Department of Health and Human Services signed a memorandum of collaboration with the agency, it proceeded to do background checks on every person who offer to receive and sponsor undocumented immigrant children who are in custody, according to CNN.

An official of the agency assured the media that "70% of those arrests were for straightforward immigration violations – meaning they were arrested because ICE discovered they were here illegally."

Although the relationship between the arrested individuals and the children in custody has not been determined, CNN reported that it could be the children's parents or family members. They could also simply be members of adult homes that applied to take care of the children while they battle for their right to remain in the country.

The arrests took place between July and September. Among them, 12 were prosecuted on criminal charges and 29 for "administrative charges" involving violations of the immigration law.

While this seems to be a maneuver to prevent children from falling into the hands of human traffickers or child exploiters, the result has been the arrest of another sum of undocumented immigrants who are now in the hands of ICE.

According to previous reports, the government has lost track of more than 1,500 undocumented children who have been released from federal custody during the two years of the Trump administration. That is why the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and ICE have adopted a background check policy.

For Eric Levitz of the Daily Intelligencer, "instead of using such checks exclusively to ensure the safety of migrant children, the Trump Administration opted to use them as a means of identifying undocumented immigrants for ICE to hunt down."

One way or another, the government's "zero tolerance" policy seems to function as a closed system. Children are detained indefinitely while adults are deported, and the White House is satisfied.

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