A message posted on the DHS website on June 23 said that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) had established a process to ensure that family members know the location of their children and have regular communication after being separated to ensure that those adults who are subject to removal (deportation) are reunited with their children for the purposes of removal.
The release said that the U.S. government knows the location of all children in its custody and is working to reunite them with their families.
The new DHS/HHS policy was put in place as a result of President Trump’s June 20 executive order designed to keep together alien families who have been detained at the U.S.-Mexico border because they crossed the border illegally. At the time he signed the order, Trump said: “We’re signing an executive order I consider to be ... very important. It’s about keeping families together while at the same time making sure that we have a very powerful, very strong border.”
The DHS fact sheet noted that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has reunited 522 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) in their custody who were separated from adults as part of the Zero Tolerance initiative. Because of the speed in which adults completed their criminal proceedings, some children were still present at a Border Patrol (USBP) station at the time their parent(s) returned from court proceedings. In those cases, the USBP reunited the family and transferred them, together, to ICE custody as a family unit.
The release also said: “A parent who is ordered removed from the U.S. may request that his or her minor child accompany them. It should be noted that in the past many parents have elected to be removed without their children.”
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