Many arrived at the border without their guardians, while quite a few of them were separated from their parents after crossing the border. The US admitted that it had lost the track of at least 1,500 such children. At a Senate subcommittee testimony in April, acting Assistant Secretary for the Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families Steven Wagner said: “The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) was unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 (unaccompanied alien children).”
Most of these children came to the US from neighbouring El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras through the south-western border. Although the American border guards arrested their parents, the children were allowed to enter the country. According to Wagner, many children have taken shelter in the US after escaping from the drug-peddlers and traffickers.
Speaking at a media conference last week, a senior ORR official said that they rescued at least 40,000 children in 2017. The US government took care of them before sending some children back to their relatives, while some others were adopted by childless couples.
Wagner informed a Senate Subcommittee that the ORR tried hard to trace 7,500 children in October-December 2017. However, the Office received no information about 1,500 such children. Wagner further said that 28 children are still absconding. It means that many of the ‘rescued’ children managed to leave the ‘safe shelter‘. The ORR claimed that it was not ‘legally’ responsible for the incident.
Meanwhile, the US government has been strongly criticised for escalating criminal prosecutions for people crossing the border illegally. Legal experts opine that the enactment of zero tolerance policy will see even more parents jailed and separated from their children. As expected, President Trump has blamed his cruel child-separation policy on Democrats, saying: “Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from their parents once they cross the Border into the US.” He tweeted: “Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it and we MUST continue building the WALL! DEMOCRATS ARE PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS.”
Perhaps, the president – who is determined to restore ‘democracy’ in Syria and other parts of West Asia – is not that much of worried about neighbours’ children!
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