U.S. Border Patrol agents are taking children and infants away from immigrants, many whom are seeking asylum.
White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly defended the practice by telling NPR on May 11 that taking the kids away was a “tough deterrent,” and that “the children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.”
Steven Wagner, of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), told the Senate in April that the ORR was “unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts” of 1,475 children between October and December, notes Mother Jones.
Laura St. John, legal director of the pro- immigrant The Florence Group, to MSNBC host Chris Hayes how the Trump administration is tearing immigrant children away from their families:
What’s happening right now is really unprecedented. What we’ve seen here in Arizona is actually, since January, over 200 cases of parents being separated from their children.
And some of these children are extremely young, as you mentioed. We’ve actually seen children who are 2 years old, regularly, and just last week we saw a 53-week-old infant in court without a parent.
Hayes asked St. John: “At some point, someone from the government in a uniform comes and physically takes a 53-week-old baby away from the mother?”
St. John explained where the children go next:
That’s correct, yeah. What happens oftentimes at the border is that the parents are separated and taken into separate custody, and the children are brought into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and brought into shelters run by the government.
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