US: Confusion reigns over fate of detained migrant children

أخر تحديث : jeudi 21 juin 2018 - 8:41
US: Confusion reigns over fate of detained migrant children

The fate of hundreds of undocumented children taken from parents remains unclear a day after President Donald Trump moved to roll back his policy

He ordered on Wednesday that the children be held with their parents while they are detained on charges of crossing the border illegally

But under US law, migrant children cannot be detained more than 20 days by immigration officials

Melania Trump made a surprise visit to a child migrant detention centre

Her tour of the federally funded facility in McAllen, Texas, housing dozens of Central American children came as her husband’s administration sought to quell the firestorm over migrant separations

US officials have expressed mixed messages about what happens next to at least 2,300 children taken from their parents since 5 May after entering the country without documentation

While the adults are held in custody pending court appearances, the children are being sent to holding cells, converted warehouses and desert tents under the « zero tolerance » policy introduced in April

?What does Trump’s executive order say

The president’s executive order says adults who illegally enter the US with children still face prosecution. It also calls for

Immigrant families to be detained together while their legal cases are considered

Expediting immigration cases involving families

Agencies, including the Pentagon, to construct facilities or make existing facilities available for the housing and care of alien families

?Is there a time limit on detentions

If the administration wants to detain migrant families together indefinitely while their cases churn through the legal system, it will need Congress or the courts to change the existing rules

Under a 1997 ruling, the Flores settlement, undocumented children can be detained for no longer than 20 days by US immigration officials

Mr Trump’s executive order requests the modification of this judgement

But analysts say it is unlikely the limit on detaining minors can be overturned within the next 20 days

Children walking to the US borderImage captionFleeing violence, migrant families make their way to the US border to apply for asylum

?When will new policy take effect

The New York Times reported that Gene Hamilton, a counsellor to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, mentioned an implementation phase

But an official for a division of the US Department of Health said no special effort would be made to reunite families already separated

Ken Wolfe was speaking for the Administration of Children and Families (ACF), which oversees where children are placed after they are separated from their parents

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