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Home / US / The US lost 1,475 migrant children last year. That's why people are outraged now.

The US lost 1,475 migrant children last year. That's why people are outraged now.

Young boys sleep in 201
4 in a prison cell in a customs and border guard in Nogales, Arizona. (Ross D. Franklin / AP)

Reports from federal agencies are losing track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children in their care. Hissing criticism of children who were taken by their migrant parents at the border. Proposed rallies . In the past week, outrage over the treatment of children placed in US custody at the southwestern border has peaked and exploded in a barrage of tweets and calls to action with the hashtags #WhereAreTheChildren and #MissingChildren.

How exactly are they safe? Course claims online? What do these children have to do with the new immigration policies of the Trump administration? How many families are separated? And why is it so outrageous now? We take a look at how the story went at a snail's pace.

Have the United States really lost track of 1,475 immigrant children?

In short, yes. During a Senate hearing at the end of last month, Steven Wagner, an official at the Ministry of Health and Social Services, said that the federal agency had lost sight of 1,475 children who had crossed the US-Mexico border alone (ie unaccompanied) of adults) and were subsequently placed with adult sponsors in the United States. As the Associated Press reported, the number was based on a survey of more than 7,000 children:

From October to December 2017, HHS called 7,635 children the agency had placed with sponsors, noting that 6,075 of the children were still alive Sponsors, 28 had run away, five had been deported and 52 lived with someone else. The rest was missing, said Steven Wagner, assistant secretary at HHS.

Public health and public health officials have argued that it is not the department's legal responsibility to find these children after being released from custody of the refugee camp. that falls under HHS administration for children and families. And some have pointed out that adult sponsors are sometimes relatives who already live in the United States and deliberately do not respond to HHS attempts to contact them.

However, none of these arguments has done much to uproar the testimony surrounding the testimony of Wagner, a principal of the HHS, who is managing children and directs families to suppress.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), chair of the Senate Subcommittee, has repeatedly argued that it is a question of humanity rather than just legal responsibility. He cited a case in which federal officials had handed over eight migrant children to traffickers.

"These children, regardless of their immigration status, deserve to be treated properly, not abused or traded," Portman said in the subcommittee. "This is about responsibility."

Portman reiterated his stance in a PBS "Frontline" special called "Trafficked in America" ​​on April 24 that documented the plight of the eight children who had to work on an Ohio farm

"We have these kids, they are here, they live on our soil, "he told PBS. "And to just trust someone else to take care of them and blame them on the wolves, which HHS did, it's completely wrong, I do not care what you think about immigration policy, it's wrong." [19659014InawrittenstatementtotheWashingtonPosttheDHSsaidthatabout85percentofsponsorswhoacquirecustodyofunaccompaniedminorsareparentsorclosefamilymembers

Were these 1,475 children separated from their parents on the border?

No. The children, who were not included in last year's HHS survey, all arrived at the southwestern border alone. The government refers to these children as "unaccompanied extraterrestrial children" or UACs.

Are children taken from their parents after crossing the border into the United States?

Yes. On May 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice would prosecute any person crossing the southwestern border illegally – or at least attempting to pursue "100 percent" – even if some of them could or should

Although Sessions said he understands that some people flee from violence or other dangerous situations, he has also stated that the United States "can not accommodate all on this planet, which is in a difficult situation."

"If you cross the border illegally … then we will prosecute you," he said in two speeches in Scottsdale, Arizona, and San Diego. "If you smuggle an illegal alien across the border, we'll track you … If you smuggle a child, we'll prosecute you, and that child will probably be separated from you, as the law requires." "If you're your child Do not take it over the border illegally, it's not our fault that somebody does that. "

The consequence of this new" 100 percent "policy is that children are separated from their parents because the Adults are charged with an offense, even if the adults seek asylum and are present even at official ports of import. According to federal regulations, the Immigration and Customs Authority will transfer unaccompanied minors and now children of detained adults to the Refugee Relocation Bureau within 48 hours of the border crossing. according to AP [19659022] Are parent-child separations used as a means of deterring border crossings?

That seems to be the case. As Sorbs Horwitz and Maria Sacchetti of the Washington Post reported, internal discussions about the separation of families at the border indicated that people should be prevented from crossing the border:

High-ranking immigration and border officials demanded that increased prosecution [in April] a confidential memo to the Minister of Homeland Security Kirsten Nielsen. They said that filing criminal charges against migrants, including parents traveling with children, is the "most effective" way to stop illegal border crossings.

The "zero tolerance" measure announced on Monday could divide thousands of families due to children are not allowed in criminal prisons. So far, most of the families illegally pulled across the border have been released to await deportations.

In an interview with John Burnett on May 11, John F. Kelly, White House Chief of Staff, described the separation of the family as something that would be a "hard deterrent" for migrant parents who might think of pushing their children to the limit bring to.

"Let me step back and tell you that the vast majority of people who move illegally to the United States are not bad people." Kelly told Burnett. "But they are also not people who would easily integrate into our modern society, they are mostly rural people in the countries they come from – the fourth, fifth, sixth grade is a kind of norm … they come out And I understand the reason, but the laws are the laws, but a great name of the game is deterrence. "

Children have breakfast on April 28 at the Vina de Tijuana AC refugee camp in Tijuana, Mexico. (19659029) What are some of the problems these children face when separated

For months there have been countless families separated by immigration authorities at the border: Three children were separated from their mothers as they fled from a gang in El Salvador; a 7-year-old was taken by her Congolese mother, who requested asylum; and so on, supposedly hundreds of cases. In almost all cases, the families have described heartbreaking farewells and agonizing uncertainty about reunification.

According to the Florence Project, a non-profit organization in Arizona providing legal and social services to imprisoned immigrants, there were more than 200 cases of parents separated from their children in the state alone since the beginning of the year.

"The kind of devastation we are talking about … where a separated mother does not know where her child is for four days, that's just perfectly normal in this administration," said Laura St. John, the legal director the group, opposite MSNBC's Chris Hayes. "Children and parents who live apart sometimes have days to talk to each other – I've seen months when one parent had no idea where his child was after the US government took their child away."

St. John noted that her group also saw more and more younger children being taken into custody by the Refugee Relocation Office, as opposed to migrant teenagers who had previously crossed the line themselves.

"Just last week, we saw a 53-week-old boy child in court without parents," St. John told Hayes. "What we see now is that, because the government is separating the children from their parents, the government actually portrays these children as unaccompanied minors and places them in emergency shelters."

In The Same Program, Lee Learned, Deputy Director of the ACLU Immigration Rights Project, Hayes said the number of separations his group had seen was "unprecedented."

"That's the worst thing I've seen in over 25 years of civil rights work," said Learned. "I talk to these mothers and they describe their screaming kids," Mama, Mom, do not let them take me away! "The medical evidence is overwhelming that we can do these children a permanent trauma, and yet the government is doing everything it can to justify it. "

The Refugee Relocation Office reported that children were in detention for an average of 34 days during the 2015 financial year.

How did the government react?

In his May 11 NPR interview, the White House chief of staff danced around asking if it was "cruel and heartless" for US border officials to take an immigrant child away from his mother.

I would not say so, "Kelly said to Burnett." The children are cared for – in foster care or whatever. But the big issue is that they are elected to come illegally to the United States, and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for a long time.

Many congressmen have voiced concern over family divisions, with 71 Democrat MPs signing a letter to Nielsen in February saying they were "deeply disturbed by the increasing practice," pointing to a lack of understanding of the violence of many On May 16, Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) Asked Nielsen about the "immoral" policy and asked if she had been ordered to separate families for future attempts at border crossing Nielsen denied that the new policy was a deterrent.

"What purpose do you have to separate parents from their children?" asked Harris.

"So my decision is that anyone who breaks the law "Being pursued," said Nielsen, "If you are a parent or are an individual or have a family, if you are between the entry ports we will take you to the street transfer the tracking. They broke US law.

Nielsen also tried to rewrite issues that characterized the release of children as family separations from parental custody when Harris wanted to know if or how Border Patrol agents were trained to take children from their parents Nielsen

"No, what we're going to do is prosecute parents who broke the law, just as we do every day in the United States," she said.

"I can understand that," she continued Harris continues, "but if this parent has a 4-year-old child, what are you going to do with that child? "[19659048]" The child, by law, goes to the care and custody of the HHS, "said Nielsen.

" They are separated from their parents, "Harris said slowly," My question is when you have children Separate from their parents, do you have a record of how this should be done, and do you train the people who actually remove a child from their parents, as you do in the last traumatic path? I hope you train how to do that.

Nielsen said that she would later provide this information to Harris.

Although the hearing took place two weeks ago, Harris tweeted shots on Saturday afternoon and called Nielsen to answer "beyond the insufficiency." [19659050] I demanded answers from DHS secretary Nielsen about the Trump administration's immoral policy of separating children at border & entry ports from their parents last week, and their answers were more than insufficient. pic.twitter.com/2g2vo7EBJd

– Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) May 26, 2018

Why are we now hearing about these issues?

As mentioned, reports of 1,475 children of HHS could not be uncovered in April, and already in the past In the past year proposals have been discussed on how to deal with immigrant families crossing the border.

Nevertheless, history has smoothed out last week, with thousands of E expressed concern about family separation or last year's HHS survey. Why? As with other topics that inexplicably appear on social media, it is unclear. The topics may be partly due to a widely used column in USA Today by columnist E.J. Montini

Friday also happened to be the International Missing Children's Day and produced something that was described by the Immigration and Customs Department recruitment department as an unbalanced tweet. Although ICE is not the agency responsible for migrant children, it has been under the control of deportation of undocumented immigrants since President Trump took office.

MSNBC Hayes raised the topic to his show Friday, calling out monstrous cases of family separation in social media and calling the practice "moral abomination and national shame."

As already mentioned, the 1,475 children were not separated from their parents on the border. However, many who have been outraged over family disconnections on the Internet have tagged their tweets with the #WhereAreTheChildren or #MissingChildren hashtags to purposely or unintentionally connect the two topics.

Some who should be better informed have merged the two Federal officials had lost 1,500 immigrant children who were taken from their parents when they did not.

Other officials and celebrities seized the hashtag to propose protests and spread the story further.

However, Vox immigration reporter Dara Lind pointed out in a long thread in both The fact that HHS has already admitted that it does not apply to nearly 1,500 migrant children who were previously in custody does not make it clear that the Agency could perform better with a wider range of tasks.

extended duties to care for children separately from parents? They bet it's " Lind wrote." But that's [because] it's the agency that fails at its TRADITIONAL function and is now being asked to make a new one. "

The subject won On Saturday morning, when Trump tried to blame the Democrats for "the terrible law that separates children, as soon as they cross the border" – though there is no such law, and though it was a policy of his own

Trump also tried to use the issue to gather support for his proposed boundary wall [19659072] put pressure on the Democrats to end the terrible law that separates children from their parents as soon as they crossing the border into the US Catch and release, lottery and chain must also go along, and we MUST continue to build the WALL! DEMOCRATS PROTECT MS-13 THUGS.

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018

"He used DACA children as a bargaining chip and it did not work," said Kevin Appleby, director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies, a bipartisan think tank. "Now he uses vulnerable Central American families for his nativistic agenda. It is shameless.

Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.


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