Illegal immigrant parents being sent back at border have option to leave kids behind in US

DCNFJulia Cohen, DCNF

Customs and Border Protection has reunited 522 illegal immigrant children with their families who were separated as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, according to a Department of Homeland Security statement released Saturday.

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“CBP has reunited 522 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) in their custody who were separated from adults as part of the Zero Tolerance initiative,” the press release said. “The reunions of an additional 16 UAC who were scheduled to be reunited on June 22, 2018 were delayed due to weather affecting travel and we expect they will all be reunited with their parents within the next 24 hours.”

The press release said some families were transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody together due to “the speed in which adults completed their criminal proceedings.” The report did not say how many families were currently together in ICE custody.

There are still 2,053 children in Department of Health and Human Services custody waiting to be reunited with their families, according to the press release.

The statement also highlights that parents who are removed from the country have a choice as to whether or not their children will be taken with them.

“It should be noted that in the past many parents have elected to be removed without their children,” the statement said.

The report comes after an order to create of an HHS task force to reunite families with their children under the Office of Preparedness and Response, which handles public health crises. These children were reunited with their families before the creation of the task force.

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