The order directs the government to begin the process of reviewing asylum claims for about 60 detained parents and children, even if their claims had previously been denied.
“I don’t like answering calls from people who aren’t listed in my phone,” he told me. “I always have in my head that this isn’t my country.” This time, however, he decided to answer. On the other end of the line, the speaker identified himself, in Spanish, as a U.S. government official. “Are you bringing or receiving anyone coming to the United States?” the official asked. Jorge said no, but then a thought occurred to him: earlier in the summer, his sister in Guatemala had mentioned that her seventeen-year-old son, Pedro, might travel north to live with his grandparents in the United States. “Could it be Pedro?” Jorge asked the official. “That’s him,” the official replied.
Most of the 245 children in custody have parents who were removed from the United States — 175 children, according to the latest government tally.
The proposal would give detained immigrant families two options: remain detained together while their case works its way through the system, or allow children to be released from custody after 20 days while their parents stay behind bars.
MORE THAN A year after the Trump administration quietly began a program of separating migrant children from their families along the U.S.-Mexico border, the full number of people impacted remains unclear. According to a new report, however, the government’s own data indicates that the campaign was far more expansive — and far more destructive — than previously acknowledged.
One option under consideration is for the government to detain asylum-seeking families together for up to 20 days, then give parents a choice: stay in family detention with your child for months or years as your immigration case proceeds, or allow your children to be taken to a government shelter so other relatives or guardians can seek custody.
As the nation turns its attention from the Supreme Court nomination battle to the midterm elections, national media coverage is dominated by political theater in the fight for control of Congress. In the meantime, a wholly avoidable and self-made humanitarian crisis persists at our border; a crisis deepened by a cruel and vengeful policy that uses the lives of children as bargaining chits in the absence of coherent immigration policy.
On April 20, Alejandra and her two-year-old daughter were taken into a small room at the Karnes family detention center in South Texas. Officials working at the center said they had good news and bad news. Alejandra, a 20-year-old from Honduras who had been detained after crossing the border with her daughter, asked for the good news first.
But there was one major problem, according to advocates who worked on the case: The man didn’t learn his daughter was coming until 30 minutes before her flight was set to land in Guatemala City.
The Oct. 2 editorial “The ongoing misery of separated children” criticized the Department of Health and Human Services for providing care to unaccompanied alien children after they illegally crossed our border. Our office identified contact information for parents of such children who were outside the United States. Our grantees who care for the children had already established regular contact with the families and have helped advocacy organizations make connections when they were unable to do so independently.