Spirited away: The Trump Administration "loses" 1,500 Immigrant Children
NEW MEXICO - May 29, 2018
The US Administration has acknowledged losing track of 1,475 immigrant children, from Central American countries, distributed among private tutors last year and couldn’t be located now. The children, who had entered the country r through Texas, were part of a group of just over 7,600, which the Department of Health and Human Services placed in the hands of adults named "sponsors" in 2017. It’s a habitual procedure to give shelter to the thousands of children who enter the country illegally.
The authorities have informed that, following the corresponding protocol, the last months of October, November and December contacted the tutors, to confirm that the minors were there and safe. Of the 7,635 that made up the original group, 6,075 were still at their destination, while out of 28 they know they have escaped, 52 now live with other people, five have been deported, and the position of the rest is unknown.
The episode carried out by the North American authorities isn’t an isolated or recent phenomenon. The deficiencies of the system to adequately monitor immigrant children today raise to "hundreds of thousands" those who have ended up being off the radar of the Administration, according to BBC Mundo the expert in the field and director of the Center for Latin American Studies from American University, Eric Hershberg. And that despite the fact that 85% of them are located with relatives or acquaintances, and 60%, with their own parents, according to official data.
An unfortunate situation that is helped by the high number of children who illegally enter the United States each year. According to the agency of the Department of Human Services that is responsible for this work, more than 250,000 children have had to be located only since 2008.
But humanitarian organizations do not tire of drawing attention to the flaws of the official procedure, which often leaves children in extreme situations, including starvation or abuse. In addition, the lack of information of those affected, who often ignore the functioning of the system, or the fear of their guardians to be detained and deported, contribute to multiplying the number of "disappeared" children.
The misfortune of many of them, the great majority of whom flee violence and hunger in some areas of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, start when they embark on the course of what they consider the Promised Land. After thousands of kilometers traveled in difficult circumstances, crossing jungles, lakes and rivers, upon payment in the case of those who received some money from hopeful parents in a better future for their son, children are arrested upon entering the United States. The Customs Office states that between October 2017 and last April, they apprehended 26,000 minors who were not accompanied. In the case of the last remittance, although the Administration had been accused of separating children from their parents from certain sectors (something that is being done in other circumstances), almost all of them crossed the border alone.
Once arrested, the administrative odyssey begins for minors, who are sent to shelters under the supervision of the Refugee Resettlement Office, waiting to contact relatives or other adults where they can be relocated. The experts denounce that there is no adequate monitoring of children, whose ignorance logic often turns them into victims of the system they do not know.
The "disappearance" of minors comes at the most committed time for the Trump Administration, whose toughening of immigration policy is being contested by a sector of the Republican Party. Especially those candidates to the Congress who observe with fear how the official suspension of the program (DACA), which protected the "dreamers" (arrived in childhood until 2006 and now installed in the system), has generated discomfort in the states or constituencies by those that present themselves.