Today, U.S. government officials explained that a blueprint is being crafted that would aim to dissuade illegal aliens who are crossing the southern border from doing so with children.
The Department of Homeland Security is discussing a change in policy that would do away with “catch and release,” a procedure that allows detained families to remain in the U.S. while they await trial hearings.
Such a change in law would, in certain circumstances, require mothers to part with their children. Parents would be placed into federal custody while the children would be guarded by the Department of Health and Human Services in the “least restrictive setting” before a relative claims the child or expanded government care takes place.
In a statement to Reuters, the Department of Homeland Security said, “The journey north is a dangerous one with too many situations where children — brought by parents, relatives or smugglers — are often exploited, abused or may even lose their lives.”
“With safety in mind, the Department of Homeland Security continually explores options that may discourage those from even beginning the journey,” the statement continued.
Texas Democratic representative Henry Cuellar was not pleased with the current hypotheticals, saying “Bottom line: separating mothers and children is wrong.” Cuellar also proclaimed, “That type of thing is where we depart from border security and get into violating human rights.”
Between Oct 1. of 2016 and Jan. 31 of this year, more than 54,000 family groups were apprehended by border enforcement agents, twice the number of detainees in that same four-month span a year ago.
Congressional Republicans believe the system has been taken advantage of by families who know their asylum will be granted as they await deportation or, possibly, an eventual residency in the United States.
Opposition claims that the lack of safety in Central America and Mexico requires children to accompany their parents on the arduous trek to the U.S. and such a dangerous journey should mandate the U.S. government to accept such families.
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