US Detained About 70,000 Migrant Children in 2019: Report

The unequaled figure shows that more children were separated from their parents in the U.S. than in any other country in the world.

In the United States, 69,550 migrant children were held in custody by the Trump administration in 2019, the Associated Press and the PBS series, Frontline reported Tuesday. 

RELATED: Yale Student Fights To Halt Deportation of His Mother With Stage IV Cancer

The unequaled figure shows that more children were separated from their parents in the U.S. than in any other country in the world; this occurring even if the government recognized that being jailed is highly traumatic for children, and exposes them to the important risk of long-term physical and emotional harm.

Some of the migrant children who were in government custody this year have already been deported, while others have reunited with family in the U.S., where they are trying to go to school and rebuild their lives. About 4,000 children are still in government custody, some in large, impersonal and facilities; yet more children are continuing to arrive every week.

The nearly 70,000 migrant infants, toddlers, kids and teens who were held in government custody this year spent more time in shelters and away from their families than in prior years. 

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration's set of harsh migration policies have increased the time children are held in detention, despite the government's own acknowledgment that it causes physical and emotional damage.

In 2013, Australia held 2,000 children during a surge of maritime arrivals. In Canada, migrant children are separated from their parents only as a last resort; 155 were held back in 2018. And in the United Kingdom, 42 migrant children were put in shelters in 2017, according to officials in those countries.

"Early experiences are literally built into our brains and bodies," said Jack Shonkoff, who directs Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child. Earlier this year, he told Congress that "decades of peer-reviewed research" shows that keeping children away from parents or primary caregivers is bad for their health, adding i  is a brain-wiring issue. 

"Stable and responsive relationships promote healthy brain architecture," Shonkoff said. "If these relationships are disrupted, young children are hit by the double whammy of a brain that is deprived of the positive stimulation it needs and assaulted by a stress response that disrupts its developing circuitry."

Younger children are at greater risk because their biological systems are less developed, he said. Previous harm and the duration of separation are also more likely to lead to trauma.

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Donald Trump administration fails to provide legal assistance for migrant children

Washington, September 10 (RHC)-- HuffPost reports the Trump administration is failing to provide legal aid for locked-up migrant children in at least three separate jails — a violation of federal law. 

Without the required legal services, migrant children are forced to navigate complicated legal proceedings alone and are more likely to be deported to potentially life-threatening situations. RAICES Executive Director Jonathan Ryan told HuffPost: “Our government is engaged in premeditated, deliberate acts of cruelty against children.  I don’t think one has to be a conspiracy theorist to believe that the government is attempting to systematically dismantle every framework of support for any immigrant in this country.”

Meanwhile, details from a lawsuit filed last month challenging the Trump administration over its termination of the Flores agreement have highlighted the dire conditions faced by locked-up migrant children.  Among the many violations, migrant girls reported being denied sufficient menstrual products and having to keep wearing soiled clothing throughout their periods.

Edited by Ed Newman
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Over 150 Migrant Children Still in US Far from Their Parents

Washington, Nov 22 (Prensa Latina) Almost 150 immigrant children are still in the United States away from their parents as victims of the criticized practices of President Donald Trump's government on this issue, according to official data.

A report released by the Department of Health and Human Services pointed out that exactly 147 minors are in federal custody almost five months after a court order for family reunification.

Due to the rejected policy of 'zero tolerance' towards undocumented immigrants, 2,667 children were separated from their parents.

The administration initially identified 2,654 affected by the situation, but it recently increased that number by 13.

The source stated that 30 of the parents had been declared ineligible for the union considering their criminal record, although some, according to civil organizations, committed minor offenses without affecting their ability to care for their descendants.

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Trump tries to defuse immigrant crisis, but policy hit by confusion

WASHINGTON/MCALLEN, Texas (Reuters) - President Donald Trump ordered federal agencies on Thursday to begin reuniting immigrant families recently separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, but his efforts to roll back a policy that drew global condemnation were beset by confusion.

Despite Trump’s order, it remained unclear how and when more than 2,300 children who have been separated from their parents in the past few weeks would be reunited with them, and where the families would be held while the parents face criminal charges.

It was also not clear if the government would keep prosecuting cases against people caught crossing the border illegally.

While prosecutors said they were not dismissing any cases, some hearings on Thursday did not proceed as scheduled. In McAllen, Texas, 17 immigrants were told by their public defenders that their cases were not proceeding for now.

Separately, the U.S. military was asked by the government to get ready to house up to 20,000 unaccompanied immigrant children at military bases, Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis said.

Video footage of children who had been separated from parents sitting in cages and an audiotape of wailing children had sparked worldwide anger over Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policies.

The fierce criticism forced Trump to backtrack and sign an executive order on Wednesday to keep families together in detention during immigration proceedings.

First lady Melania Trump on Thursday visited children displaced by the immigration crisis .

But the olive green jacket she wore as she boarded the plane for Texas - daubed with the words “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” on the back - appeared to undercut the message of compassion.

The White House responded to criticism by saying there was no hidden message. “It’s a jacket,” said Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s spokeswoman. “After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn’t going to choose to focus on her wardrobe.”


In a filing in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the Justice Department asked a judge to modify a 1997 settlement that has been interpreted as setting a 20-day limit on detaining children who entered the country illegally, regardless of whether they entered with a parent.

It also sought an exemption from state licensing requirements for federal facilities that house the children.

The Justice Department said the recent surge in the number of illegal border crossings by families had created a “destabilizing migratory crisis” that put those families at risk and threatened public safety.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

“Under current law and legal rulings,” the Justice Department said, “it is not possible for the U.S. government to detain families together during the pendency of their immigration proceedings. It cannot be done.”

During a Cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump said he did not want to separate children from their parents and had directed the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services “to work together to keep illegal immigrant families together during the immigration process and to reunite these previously separated groups.”

The executive order was an unusual retreat for Trump, who made cracking down on illegal immigration a key part of his presidential campaign.

It moves parents with children to the front of the line for immigration proceedings, but the Trump administration said it did not end the 10-week-old zero tolerance policy that calls for prosecution of immigrants crossing the border illegally under the country’s criminal entry statute.

The U.S. Border Patrol will continue to refer for prosecution adults who are caught crossing the border illegally, a spokesman for the Customs and Border Protection said on Thursday.

“Family unity will be maintained for families apprehended crossing the border illegally, and they will be transferred together to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” the spokesman said in a statement.

The administration also has sought a permanent legislative fix on the issue, but the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday rejected a bill favored by conservatives that would have halted the practice of splitting up families and addressed a range of other immigration issues.

The House rejected the conservative bill on a 193-231 vote, with 41 Republicans joining the opposition. It also postponed until Friday a vote on a compromise bill in order to try to drum up more support.

Both House bills, backed by Trump but opposed by Democrats and immigration advocacy groups, would fund the wall Trump has proposed along the U.S. border with Mexico and reduce legal migration, in part by denying visas for some relatives of U.S. residents and citizens living abroad.

Reporting by Richard Cowan and Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Tim Ahmann, Amanda Becker, James Oliphant and Yeganeh Torbati in Washington and Mitchell Ferman in McAllen, Texas; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Bill Trott and Peter Cooney.

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US Detention Centers 'Force Migrant Children To Take Drugs'

Some children said they had been held down and given injections when they refused to take the medication voluntary, the new lawsuit says.

Immigrant children are being routinely and forcibly given a range of psychotropic drugs at U.S. government-funded youth shelters to manage their trauma after being detained and in some cases separated from parents, according to a lawsuit.

RELATED: World Refugee Day: End Wars to Halt Refugee Crisis

Children held at facilities such as the Shiloh Treatment Center in Texas are almost certain to be administered the drugs, irrespective of their condition and without their parents' consent, according to the lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law.

The Shiloh center, which specializes in services for children and youths with behavioral and emotional problems, did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The lawsuit was filed on April 16, days after the introduction of the Trump Administration's 'zero tolerance' policy separating children from parents who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. Trump abandoned the policy on Wednesday.

"If you're in Shiloh then it's almost certain you are on these medications, so if any child were placed in Shiloh after being separated from a parent then they're almost certainly on psychotropics," said Carlos Holguin, a lawyer representing the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law.

Officials at the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which oversees such centers, were not immediately available for comment.

Taking multiple psychotropic drugs at the same time can seriously injure children, according to the filing, which highlights the need for oversight to prevent medications being used as "chemical straight jackets" rather than treating actual mental health needs.

ORR-run centers unilaterally administer the drugs to children in disregard of laws in Texas and other states that require either a parent's consent or a court order, the filing said.

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Trump Orders End To Family Separations At US-Mexico Border

After global outrage over U.S. President Donald Trump's policy to separate asylum-seeking families at the Mexican border, he signs to end the practice.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to end the separation of undocumented migrant parents and children seeking to enter the United States at the Mexico border.

RELATED: US Protests Against Border Separations, How We Got Here

The Trump administration had separated 2,000 families in the past six weeks at the U.S.-Mexico border, holding children as young as four years old in cages within cold warehouses in border states. The warehouses have become known as #Trumpcamps and have been likened to the U.S. Japanese internment camps during WWII.

Social media outlets lit up this week with domestic and international backlash protesting Trump's family separation policy. A June 18 Quinnipiac poll found that U.S. residents opposed the policy 66-27.

Pope Francis and outgoing United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein called the administration's actions "unconscionable" and called for an immediate end to the policy. Even the president's wife, Melania, urged her husband to cease and desist.

Earlier this week, Trump and his Director of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Kirstjen Nielsen tried to blame the practice on Democrats and some unnamed law they claimed the party had passed.

By the time of the signing, Trump publicly delivered a different message: "It's about keeping families together while at the same time making sure that we have a very powerful, very strong border," he said, signing the order in a hastily arranged Oval Office gathering that many in his closest circle were unaware was happening until it was over.

"I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated," said the president, flanked by Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence. "I think anybody with a heart would feel strongly about it. We don't like to see families separated."

Trump also took the opportunity to reiterate his zero-tolerance policy: "We are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be zero tolerance. We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally."

His somber tone on Wednesday was a far cry from his tweets on Monday, in which he criticized Germany and Europe for immigration policies he claimed had "violently changed their culture."  

"Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!" tweeted Trump.

The vast majority of separated families were Central Americans trying to gain political asylum, to which they are entitled under international law.

The U.S. border patrol took up the practice of "preventing refugees from coming to ports of entry, turning them away... and making them wait for indeterminate periods of time in Mexico," Jeremy Slack, assistant professor of geography in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Texas in El Paso, told teleSUR.

Last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials told the media they couldn't receive any more asylum seekers "until space becomes available."

Such families were forced to enter 'illegally' at non-port entries, where they were then picked up by border patrol agents and adults put on the path to be tried for misdemeanors or felonies. This obliged authorities to place children in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Prior administrations and even Trump had previously treated these cases administratively, which allowed families to stay together.

The order requires that immigrant families be detained together after entering the country. However, several Republican members of the House of Representatives – briefed by Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen on Wednesday about the president's decree – said they "do not know if it would prevent family separations during detentions longer than 20 days," Reuters reports.

The Families Belong Together  organization is planning a national-level U.S. protest against the president's immigration policy on June 30.

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Actor Peter Fonda suggests Trump’s son should be put ‘in a cage with pedophiles’ in a Twitter rant

Hollywood actor and activist Peter Fonda has let loose on Twitter in protest at the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policies which have seen 2,000 children separated from parents at the US-Mexico border.

During the multiple-tweet rant, Fonda suggested that Trump’s 12-year-old son Barron should be ripped away from his mother Melania and put “in a cage with pedophiles” to see if she will “stand up against” her husband then.


Fonda appears to be referencing allegations that migrant children are being held in what the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has said are “highly inappropriate and even unsafe” circumstances with adults they do not know and “without the proper privacy” that they need.

But Fonda didn’t stop there. Next he directed his ire at the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen, calling her a “lying gash” that should be “put in a cage and poked at” by people walking past. “The gash should be pilloried in Lafayette Square naked and whipped by passersby while being filmed for posterity,” the actor wrote.

In his next tweet, Fonda took aim at White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, also calling her a “lying gash” and clarifying that the word “gash” is “much worse than c**t” and suggesting that her children should be taken away from her.

@iamfonda Kristjen Nielsen is a lying gash that should be put in a cage and poked at by passersby. The gash should be pilloried in Lafayette Square naked and whipped by passersby while being filmed for posterity.

@iamfonda SS (Sarah Sanders) is a lying gash, too. And “gash” is much worse than cunt. Maybe we should take her children away and deport her to Arkansas, and giving her children to Stephen Goebbels Miller for safe keeping.

In another tweet, Fonda attacked White House senior advisor Stephen Miller, adding “Goebbels” into the middle of his name, a reference to Nazi Germany’s infamous propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

Fonda urged his followers to find the addresses of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and “surround their homes” in protest. He then suggested that people should go to the schools of the ICE official’s children to “scare the s**t out of them.”

While Fonda saw some support for his rant and engaged with his followers about how to start a huge countrywide protest against the Trump administration’s policies, others were not so happy about his approach.

TV presenter Piers Morgan tweeted that, while he too found the child-separation policy “abhorrent”, Fonda’s response to it was “disgusting too”.

A number of conservative commentators criticized Fonda for his “deranged” meltdown, calling him “unhinged” and “unstable”.

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