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|NPR Choice page||June 19, Updated on June 20, The controversy surrounding family separations at the U. Southern border has prompted outrageopinions and finger-pointing.|
Meanwhile, effective, cheaper alternatives exist and have worked in the past yet the Trump administration has curtailed their use. Detailed media reporting and research along the border, including our own during a June visit to Arizona, made visible the callousness, cruelty, and incompetence with which the administration separated thousands of children from their parents.
We witnessed a clear and indelible departure from long-held U. But even as we seek to draw lessons and avoid repetition, the path to reunification for hundreds of families remains unclear.
After release from the criminal justice system, most families persisted in seeking asylum in the United States, although hundreds of parents desisted from their claims and were deported back to Central America believing that this would be the fastest way to be reunited with their children.
The Trump administration has sought the ability to keep entire families in immigration detention while they await decisions on their asylum cases. So far, that cannot happen: Flores, which continues to be upheld in U. Between the onset of zero tolerance and a June 20 White House executive order suspending family separations, over 2, children were taken away from their parents and treated as though they had arrived as unaccompanied minors: Unaccompanied minors tend to remain in HHS shelter custody for an average of 57 days, after which more than 90 percent are placed with a relative living in the United States.
Relatives who are undocumented are unlikely to risk exposure.
Marshals or the Bureau of Prisons and, after serving their sentences, turned over to ICE for deportation or—if given a chance to express fear of returning—for the beginning of their asylum processes. Faced with an outcry from former first ladies, evangelical leaders, some Republican senators, U.
The children will be taken care of—put into foster care or whatever. But the big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long.
Some portrayed family separation as an effort to implement the letter of the law: Between and 1, families were separated in the pre-zero tolerance period. During those 50 days, U. However, this figure is only a portion of the border-wide number of children separated because it does not account for children who were separated before zero tolerance went into effect.
Indeed, court documents would later find 2, separated children in ORR custody, in addition to who were still in CBP custody on June 20, not yet turned over to ORR as unaccompanied children, meaning that over 3, children had been separated in total.
Some had been without their parents for weeks or months. As discussed below, reuniting them with their parents proved to be a process fraught with obstacles, ranging from bureaucracy to incompetence to lack of human empathy, and carried forward only under heavy pressure from the judicial branch of government.
This was almost certainly happening in less than half of cases, though. Alternatives to detention, like release with a GPS-enabled ankle bracelet, appeared to be more common. Zero tolerance in the Yuma and Tucson sectors meant that some separated parents were suddenly among those being prosecuted, but families were still being released every day.
The figure rose to during the first five months of the current fiscal year.1 of 53 Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children and Families Funding Opportunity Title: Community Collaborations to . For more than a year, top officials in the Trump administration threatened to prosecute parents caught crossing the southwest border illegally and separate them from their children in the process.
Jun 19, · The Trump administration Wednesday reversed a policy of separating families at the border, which had meant children were held at detention .
About. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is a division of the Department of Health & Human Services that promotes the economic and social well-being of children, families, individuals, and communities with leadership and resources for compassionate, effective delivery of human services.
In congressional testimony in May, Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, told a Senate subcommittee that children have spent an average of Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services.