After much wailing over migrant families separated at the border, it turns out that many parents don’t want to be reunited with their children after all.
Of 162 Central Americans deported without their kids, 109 have opted to leave their youngsters in the U.S.
Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union say the recalcitrant parents fear for their children’s safety south of the border.
These willingly abandoned children, along with thousands of unaccompanied alien children (UACs — minors who traveled to the U.S. without family members), will be allowed to pursue asylum claims, while living in government shelters or placed with family members or foster families.
But under new rules by the Trump administration, fleeing domestic violence and gang violence will no longer be accepted as reasons to pass so-called credible-fear interviews, the first hurdle to be allowed into the U.S. to apply for asylum. The new rules allow U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers to count illegal entry as a mark against consideration for asylum – if an applicant has “demonstrated ulterior motives for the illegal entry that are inconsistent with a valid asylum claim.”
Since 2016, more than 100,000 UACs have been released into the interior of the U.S., according to the Department of Homeland Security. Now the administration wants to stanch the illegal influx of minors – irrespective of their parents’ desires and intentions.
Whatever gang activity exists in places like Guatemala and Honduras, U.S. officials say young migrants are ripe recruits for violent gangs here, such as MS-13. One review of unaccompanied alien children in custody of the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement found 39 of 138 were in gangs most of them voluntarily. In addition, minor children who travel to, or are left in, the United States alone frequently become victims of human smugglers, sex traffickers and sweatshop operators.
As the “family separation” narrative shifts with deported parents rejecting efforts to bring their children home, immigration activists continue to stir the pot in U.S. courts. A federal class-action lawsuit filed this month seeks unspecified financial compensation and the creation of a fund to pay for mental health treatment for more than 2,000 children taken from their parents after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border this spring.
Coming or going, America pays.