1,500 immigrant children still lost at the hands of the Trump administration
According to data made public by Congress, the government still doesn’t know the whereabouts of 1,500 immigrant children who entered the country without documents this year.
This is the second time that it’s been proven that the system of migratory control in the country is sinking into chaos as the months pass.
And no, we are not talking about the "loopholes" or the "massive immigration" referred to by the White House. We are talking about the administrative disaster caused by the "zero tolerance" policy of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
According to information published by Congress on Tuesday, "the Trump Administration is unable to account for the whereabouts of nearly 1,500 migrant children who illegally entered the United States alone this year and were placed with sponsors after leaving federal shelters," reported the New York Times.
The legislators described as "troubling" the fact that the government's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could not "determine with certainty" the whereabouts of 1,488 children of the 11,254 that the agency had located with guardians during 2018.
This finding is similar to that reported by the Associated Press during April in which another 1,475 immigrant children had "disappeared" during the year 2017 after HHS attempted to follow up with them.
At that time, "the HHS said that 7,635 children were placed with sponsors," and it was discovered that only 6,075 of them were still living with their guardians, 28 had escaped, 5 were deported, and 52 were living with someone else. According to the report, the whereabouts of the rest of them is unknown, amounting to 1,475.
Although these children run the risk of ending up in the hands of human traffickers or being exploited, the government’s department has declared that "it was not legally responsible for children after they were released from the custody of its office of refugee resettlement," according to The Times.
Steven Wagner, an HHS official and acting secretary of the Children and Families Administration, explained that "while most children are sent to live with sponsors who have close ties to the children - typically a parent or close relative - some end up living with other-than-close relatives or non-relatives," CNN reported.
In another statement, the Children and Families Administration said that "when an unaccompanied alien child is placed with a sponsor, he or she ceases to be in the custody of the U.S. government and all HHS-provided subsistence (food, shelter, clothing, health care, and education) ends at that point and the child becomes the responsibility of his or her parent, guardian or sponsor."
However, on Tuesday, members of the Senate subcommittee introduced bipartisan legislation that will try to "require the agency to take responsibility for the care of immigrant children, even when they are not in their custody," explained TIME.
These data have been made public at a time when the government seeks to litigate its right to separate families at the border and keep children in detention for longer periods of time, revoking the so-called Flores Agreement, and struggling tooth and nail to pursue one the toughest anti-immigrant agendas in recent memory.