Jul 24, 2019

Thousands of migrant kids face indefinite government custody

Tents to house unaccompanied migrant children at the Tornillo-Marcelino Serna Port of Entry on June 18, 2018. Photo: Christ Chavez/Getty Images

More than 4,000 migrant kids are at risk of being held indefinitely in federal government shelters because no relative or family friend has come forward to take custody of them, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) director Jonathan Hayes told CBS in a June interview.

Why it matters: A third of all migrant children in ORR's care are in this situation — an unprecedented number. They're being held in shelters that are nearing capacity and not designed for long-term care.

The Flores Settlement requires that government agencies release children to family members as soon as possible, but that's become more difficult. Immigration experts told CBS that many unauthorized migrant families in the U.S. may be afraid to come forward due to the Trump administration's tough immigration policies and rhetoric.

  • ORR will not release migrant kids to American families who are not related or known by a migrant child's family, as a matter of policy.
  • When they turn 18, many migrant children will be transferred from ORR's child migrant shelters to adult ICE detention centers to await decisions on their immigration cases. But due to long backlogs in immigration courts, some wait months or even years for a decision on their case.

Go deeper ... The migrant crisis: Why Now

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Trump rule would indefinitely detain migrant kids with their parents

A migrant family jumps the wall to reach the U.S. Photo: David Peinado/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Trump administration announced a new rule on Wednesday that would allow migrant families who crossed the border illegally to be kept in detention centers long-term.

Why it matters: A decades-old court decision — the Flores agreement — has prevented the government from holding minors in detention for longer than 20 days. The new regulation would replace that and give the federal government more power in determining how to care for migrant minors and families in its custody. The rule was first proposed following the family separation crisis last year, and is certain to face legal challenges.

Go deeperArrowAug 21, 2019

ACLU: More than 900 migrant children separated from parents at border

Undocumented migrants waiting to be processed by U.S. Border Patrol on May 15 in McAllen, Tex. Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

ACLU lawyers told a federal judge on Tuesday that 911 migrant children have been removed from their parents since last year's court reunification order for separated families, the Washington Post reports.

What's happening: The ACLU urged the judge to clarify when family separation should be allowed, as the organization claims children are being separated for "minor alleged offenses," including traffic violations. The ACLU also asked the federal judge to block the Trump administration from continuing to separate families, per its Tuesday press release.

Go deeperArrowJul 30, 2019

Barr moves to restrict asylum claims based on threats to family members

Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr issued an opinion Monday that moves to restrict asylum protections for migrants whose family members have been persecuted in their home countries.

Why it matters: This precedent-setting decision is another attempt by the Trump administration to limit U.S. sanctuary options for asylum-seekers.

Go deeperArrowJul 30, 2019