DHS Responds To Claims 545 Immigrant Children Not Reunited, Says Some Parents ‘Refused’ Reunions

“The Department of Homeland Security responded to an NPR report from earlier this week alleging that the agency cannot find the parents of 545 minors separated from their adult caretakers during the short time the Trump administration was enforcing a “no tolerance” policy at the United States-Mexican border.

Despite their best efforts, DHS says, many of the children’s parents have refused a reunion, leaving the children orphaned in DHS’s care.

The policy of separating adults seeking asylum from accompanying minor children at the border began during the Obama administration, after a judicial ruling barring the Obama administration from holding asylum-seeking families for more than two weeks. The Obama administration reasoned that, if the families were separated, it would both allow immigration officials to extend the time adults could spend in custody and could deter families from seeking asylum in the United States.

The Trump administration adopted the policy as part of its “zero tolerance” anti-immigration efforts back in 2018 but ended the practice after public outcry. Hundreds of children, though, remain in DHS custody, according to litigation filed this week.

Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Chase Jennings was clear in responding to the lawsuit this week, calling the report “wholly inaccurate,” and pointing to evidence in the plaintiffs’ own filings noting that, of the 545 children yet to be reunited with their parents, a shocking 485 children have been left in DHS custody because their parents or family members “refused” a reunion.

“This story is wholly inaccurate,” Jennings said on Twitter. “In the current litigation, for example, out of the parents of 485 children whom Plaintiffs’ counsel has been able to contact, they’ve yet to identify a single family that wants their child reunited with them in their country of origin.”

DHS is trying to reunite the children with their parents or, if they are unable to do that, with family members, but that’s proving more difficult than anticipated, Jennings added in a later statement.

“DHS has taken every step to facilitate the reunification of these families where the parents wanted such reunifications to occur. The simple fact is this: after contact has been made with the parents to reunite them with their children, many parents have refused,” Jennings noted.

“In the current litigation, for example, out of the parents of 485 children whom Plaintiffs’ counsel has been able to contact, they have yet to identify a single family that wants their child reunited with them in their country of origin. The result is that the children remain in the U.S. white the parents remain in their home country. The reunification process is a whole-of-government approach involving CBP, ICE, and HHS.”

The ACLU notes that, in some cases, the coronavirus pandemic has created an extra layer of difficulty for those seeking to reunite children with deported parents.

“The filing estimates that two-thirds of the separated parents are believed to have returned to their home countries. Nongovernmental groups appointed by the court have ‘engaged in time-consuming and arduous on-the-ground searches for parents in their respective countries of origin,’” the organization notes.

Efforts to press for reunification are resuming.”

This article originally appeared on the Daily Wire.

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About Jeff Rainforth 545 Articles
Jeff covers border news in the US and has traveled around the world documenting the border walls of other countries. He embedded with Hong Kong protesters covering their fight for freedom against the Chinese Communist Party, and regularly films inside of riots in Democrat-run cities in the United States. He is also the editor of Right Wing News. Jeff did a special 2nd Amendment project for Navy SEAL Rob O'Neill who killed Bin Laden, and he was the national rally organizer to free Marine Sgt. Tahmooressi from the Mexican prison. He is chairman emeritus of Ross Perot’s Reform Party of California, and a former candidate for governor. He wrote for former war correspondent & Breitbart contributor, Pat Dollard, and headed up his 30 person research team. Mr. Rainforth also wrote for the Wayne Dupree Show. Jeff is a two-time nominee for the prestigious Blog Bash Award for best activism for organizing the national movement to form a select committee on Benghazi, and for his role as the national rally organizer to free Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi from Mexican imprisonment. Jeff appears in Sgt. Tahmooressi's mother's book, "When Light Prevails."

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