The latest trending headlines seem more and more to do with children being separated from their families. But while everyone is willing to parrot a headline, no one is actually willing to do the research is and find out for themselves what is happening on the ground level. So here is an interview from a woman named Anne Chandler who runs the Children's Border Project, a charity that works with hundreds of kids that have been released from ORR (Office of Refugee Resettlement) care.
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When asked to describe what she has been seeing, Chandler replies with a summary of what she witnesses on a day to day basis:
"The short of it is, we will take sample sizes of numbers and individuals we’re seeing that are being prosecuted for criminal entry. The majority of those are free to return to the home country. Vast majority. We can’t quite know exactly because our sample size is between one hundred and two hundred individuals. But 90 percent of those who are being convicted are having their children separated from them. The 10 percent that aren’t are some mothers who are going with their children to the detention centers in Karnes and Dilley. But, for the most part, the ones that I’ve been working with are the ones that are actually being prosecuted for criminal entry, which is a pretty new thing for our country—to take first-time asylum seekers who are here seeking safe refuge, to turn around and charge them with a criminal offense.
"Those parents are finding themselves in adult detention centers and in a process known as expedited removal, where many are being deported. And their children, on the other hand, are put in a completely different legal structure. They are categorized as unaccompanied children and thus are being put in place in a federal agency not with the Department of Homeland Security but with Health and Human Services. And Health and Human Services has this complicated structure in place where they’re not viewed as a long-term foster care system—that’s for very limited numbers—but their general mandate is to safeguard these children in temporary shelters and then find family members with whom they can be placed. So they start with parents, and then they go to grandparents, and then they go to other immediate family members, and then they go to acquaintances, people who’ve known the children, and they’re in that system but they can’t be released to their parents because their parents are behind bars.
"And we may see more parents that get out of jail because they pass a “credible fear” interview, which is the screening done by the asylum office to see who should be deported quickly, within days or weeks of arrival, and who should stay here and have an opportunity to present their asylum case before an immigration judge of the Department of Justice. So we have a lot of individuals who are in that credible fear process right now, but in Houston, once you have a credible fear interview (which will sometimes take two to three weeks to even set up), those results aren’t coming out for four to six weeks. Meanwhile, these parents are just kind of languishing in these detention centers because of the zero-tolerance policy. There’s no individual adjudication of whether the parents should be put on some form of alternative detention program so that they can be in a position to be reunited with their kid."
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In reality, the percentage of children separated from their families is very low as Chandler suggests, although she did not have an exact percentage of immigrants who were prosecuted compared to those that were let go, she clearly says the majority is the latter. Only a very small portion of illegals are prosecuted for crimes, about the same number which coincides with the amount of child trafficking networks, and actual criminals who are among those asylum seekers. When the children are being separated it is because their "parents" are likely not their parents and somebody with a known criminal history. Finding new homes for these kids is a service that America feels obligated to do because morally we can't return kids drug and human traffickers that are being prosecuted.
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