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Children in federal custody. Photo: Reuters.
Children in federal custody. Photo: Reuters.

Record number of immigrant children in federal custody

While the country was distracted by the midterm elections, the number of immigrant children detained increased to more than 14,000, a figure never seen before.

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Tracking everything that happens in the United States at this time is an increasingly difficult task.

While the country focused on the Democratic victory during the midterm elections, the San Francisco Chronicle reported a scandalous number of undocumented immigrant children in federal custody.

For the first time, 14,000 children are being held in camps improvised by the government after the implementation of its policy of zero tolerance, and this figure "shows no signs of slowing down" while the Trump government insists on finding measures to keep minors of age detained for longer periods of time.

As the media explained, by November 16, "there were 14,556 unaccompanied immigrant minors in the Department of Health and Human Services custody."

A government official provided these figures, and the Department of Health and Human Services subsequently confirmed that "the total had reached approximately 14,000."

This figure is another symptom of the crisis unleashed by the government in its effort to stop undocumented immigration in the country.

For Mother Jones, one of the aggravating factors of the situation is precisely the aggressiveness of the government when it comes to stopping undocumented immigrants. "While many of the kids are waiting to be released to sponsors or family members who will take them in, many potential sponsors have been discouraged by a new policy that allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement to run background checks on them," explains the report. "Dozens of immigrants have been arrested by ICE officials while attempting to come forward as sponsors."

While the Department of Health and Human Services has argued that it is a mechanism to "address the crisis on the border" and "prevent human trafficking, exploitation, and abuse," the presidential rhetoric and the political agenda of the administration would seem to demonstrate that it’s a generalized anti-immigrant stance.

Between the unnecessary militarization of the border, attempts to circumvent the Flores Agreement in the courts and trying to suspend access to asylum on the border, the government's alleged new plan is to offer two options to parents in detention pending hearings of deportation.

According to The Hill, parents may either "remain detained with their children for an indefinite amount of time or allow their children to be separated and taken to a government shelter for another relative or guardian to take custody of them."

One way or another, it’s a zero-sum game for immigrants.

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