Child Deportations Surge and Expedited in the Middle of Pandemic, but Speed-Up Plans Date since 2017
The US government has accelerated the child migrants' deportation in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, referring to public health.
However, the documents media organization, NBC News was able to obtain show that as far back as 2017, to date - the Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf sought to speed up child deportations "to discourage Central American asylum seekers."
Based on immigration lawyers' recent reports, congressional staff, as well as the DHS officials, have specified an increase in the number of unaccompanied migrant children's fast deportation.
Previously, children who arrived in the United States without a legal guardian or a parent were provided with protections against anti-trafficking laws, which, according to reports, "included the right to claim asylum," and be placed as well, in the Department of Health and Human Services' custody up to the time they could be placed with a guardian.
Over 900 Children Deported
Recently, The New York Times reported that over "900 children have been deported" in the new law that sends children back to their home nations before even having the chance to claim refuge or coordinate plans to a guardian at home in the US.
According to the news report, many of those deported children were in the US and lived with family members or in HHS custody before the COVID-19 crisis started.
DHS has recently said the deportations are warranted "under Title 42" which permits limitations on immigration slow the spread of the virus.
However, Wolf's 2017 proposal policy shows that the DHS has long searched for the ability to deport children faster, even long before the threat of the pandemic reportedly "gave it cover to do so."
The documents were initially acquired by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D.-Ore. Then, it was shared with NBC News. Wolf, who was then chief of staff to Kirstjen Nielsen, DHS Secretary, sent the Justice Department a collection of policy ideas.
Such ideas include plans of reclassifying unaccompanied migrant children "as accompanied" the moment they had been placed under the care of a sponsor or parent.
Meanwhile, the description, "unaccompanied child" is accepted during the immigration proceeding of the minor, despite the child's reunion with parents.
This then, according to Wolf, in an internal policy proposal memorandum, provides the children the protections under TVPRA or Trafficking in Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which allows them to elude furthered removal and seek refuge.
Last year, shortly before her removal as the DHS secretary, Nielsen wrote the Congress a letter, asking for an amendment in the law to allow the department to remove children faster. Congress did not grant the request.
In her said letter in March 2019, Nielsen Said DHS sought the authority to send back unaccompanied minors to their families in an orderly and safe manner if they did not have the legal right to stay.
The former secretary also said the letter was written and sent to the Congress as the number of children crossing the borders increased.
Immigration lawyers, on the other hand say, many of the children who were deported have no "plans in place in place for their care, neither do they have families when they found themselves returned rapidly by plain to their respective home nations.
The spokesperson for DHS has not responded to a request for comment yet.
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