1,500 children were “lost” by US immigration authorities—but there’s a problem with that narrative

The problem, as the Washington Post notes, is that many of those missing kids may well be with their parents or families, and they may have gone off the grid deliberately to avoid Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities. Tracking them down could end up endangering more children and families.

…There are four levels of sponsors, according to ORR policy, beginning with parents, then siblings and close relatives, then distant relatives or unrelated adults, and finally willing strangers or agencies. Potential sponsors, once identified, must apply for unification with the child and provide evidence of a relationship. If the applicant is approved, the child is released. The ORR tries not to hold kids extensively, and data from 2015 show that children spent an average of 34 days in custody before joining a sponsor.

Once a child joins a sponsor, the ORR relinquishes responsibility—that’s what has people up in arms now. The sponsorship agreement essentially leaves it up to the child and their sponsors to show up for further immigration proceedings.

That’s not great. But demands to crack down on ORR release policies could make things worse for the kids who disappeared, and for those who will continue to arrive alone at the border. Asking ORR to be more strict about releasing undocumented kids, and keeping an eye on them after they are released, could make it harder for sponsors to step up and take in their family members. It could also incentivize more disappearances for those who do, forcing more families to exist underground to avoid authorities.

Although there are concerns that some undocumented children are trafficked or abused, the ORR claims that 85% of kids are placed in the custody of family members.

Knee-jerk indignation also plays straight into the hands of an administration eager to hunt down and prosecute undocumented immigrants.

1,500 children were “lost” by US immigration authorities—but there’s a problem with that narrative — Quartz

don’t confuse these kids with the ones interned at the former WalMart camp…


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