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The US Is Swiftly Deporting Migrant Children Due To New Coronavirus Restrictions

The United States is swiftly deporting migrant children apprehended on the US-Mexico border to their home countries under new coronavirus rules, a move the Trump government has up until now been unable to do.

Late last month, at the direction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention office, the Department of Homeland Security began preventing entry of all immigrants “seeking to enter the United States without proper travel documentation” for both the southern and northern border. Unaccompanied migrant children arrested by Border Patrol without a parent or guardian were initially exempted.

Customs and Border Protection, a department within DHS, said in a statement last week, but, that minors could be included, meaning children who arrive without parents or guardians at the border could be sent to their home country instead of turned over to the Health and Human Services agency, which is typically charged with their care.

“When minors are arrested without adult family members, CBP works closely with their origin countries to return them to the custody of government officials and reunite them with their families safely and quickly, if possible,” CBP said in a statement to Canusim, noting that there are exceptional cases, like if an officer suspects trafficking or sees traces of illness. Children who are exempted will be turn over to HHS.

The Trump government has always been trying to deporting migrant children from non-contagious nations shortly after arrest, arguing that the system as is enables illegal immigration and the exploitations of children. Those attempts, though, have been unsuccessful. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act dictates how unaccompanied migrant children are to be handled.

But against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the government is trying to move on with some of its most restrictionist policy that have struggled to be put into practice, including the quick expulsion of unaccompanied minor.

Recently, HHS noticed a drop in referrals from DHS, which takes children into custody before releasing them over to HHS. HHS funds a network of more than 100 facilities, where unaccompanied migrant children who arrived in the United States are provided care until they are released to a sponsor in the country.

“Until this last week, we really had not seen anything that was inconsistent with patterns,” an HHS official said. On Monday, the department only received four referrals from DHS, which officials called “very rare.”

One care provider that works with HHS has not received any referrals for the last four weeks, according to a source close to the intakes.

While illegal border crossings are seriously down, the low referral rate raised alarm according to immigrant advocates, lawmakers and lawyers.

In a letter to the acting Homeland Security Chad Wolf Monday, Democratic lawmakers called reports of children being quickly deported “deeply troubling” and call on the Agency to “stop this practice immediately.”

“We have a duty to ensure the health and safety of these children,” said Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Dick Durbin of Illinois, along with Reps. Zoe Lofgren of California and Jerry Nadler of New York.

“Children don’t have to be put in harm’s way to protect us from the coronavirus crisis,” they continued. “DHS has the ability to protect both these children and the public.