…“This will strain bed capacity,” authorities wrote in a discussion paper in February 2018.
..According to current and former government officials, and emails and memos detailing the Trump administration’s strategy, it is clear they knew that without enough beds in government shelters, children would languish in Border Patrol stations not equipped to care for them.
…[Policies also] made it harder for adult relatives of unaccompanied minors to secure the children’s release from U.S. custody. Enhanced vetting of sponsors — including fingerprints and other paperwork — and the sharing of that information between child welfare and immigration authorities slowed down the release of children and exposed the sponsors to deportation.
…The contractors tasked with carrying out the background checks and fingerprinting were overwhelmed, according to current and former HHS officials.
…The approach caused thousands of unaccompanied minors to be stranded in U.S. custody and exacerbated the appearance of a crisis on the southern border — a major element underlying the administration’s public request for billions of dollars in additional funding from Congress.
…A few months after the policy was implemented, HHS officials determined that it was not improving child safety. They concluded that the added vetting was redundant and needlessly extended the time children remained in custody.
…The administration also developed and rolled out its family separation policy in the spring of 2018, part of its “zero tolerance” approach at the border. The months-long initiative, which separated thousands of children from their parents, compounded the need for shelter space.
Advocates also report that some asylum seekers in the Western District of Texas who have given birth in USMS custody were forced to hand over their newborns to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Reuniting with their newborn hinges on their release from federal custody, and whether they can access legal help to navigate the child welfare system.
…Dr. Shelly said she doesn’t know if the U.S. citizen newborns of detained parents are eventually adopted or whether detained patients are deported without regaining custody of their babies. The OB-GYN is also unsure if foster parents have any obligation to remain in communication with parents remanded to USMS custody.
According to USMS, the onus for child care placement is on the detained parent, though it appears as if asylum seekers who give birth in USMS custody don’t have many choices at all.
…U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) could release these women shortly after they are first apprehended, and then refer them to organizations like Annunciation House that can offer support as they pursue asylum and prepare to give birth. But that’s not what happens.
Border Patrol is out of control.