To protect the country from possible COVID-19 transmission, the Trump administration issued an emergency health order to expel “aliens” that have crossed the border.
Before the new directive, unaccompanied migrant children coming to America are allowed to request for asylum through an immigration court.
Instead, the children are expelled – without a proper judicial ruling.
Children processed under the new directive were denied access to lawyers, social workers, or even family members.
They were not even issued a registration number by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for proper tagging and tracking.
Efrén C. Olivares, a lawyer from the Texas Civil Rights Project, argues that this practice is illegal.
Citing the Florence Settlement, migrant children should be held in licensed childcare facilities and should be immediately released, upon processing.
Prolonged detention in an unauthorized facility such as a hotel, is a breach of the settlement said Neha Desai, an attorney with the National Center for Youth Law.
He further said that this is a “shadow operation.”
An example of this undue process was when a Guatemalan girl begged federal agents at the border for help.
She carried her baby across the border to seek refuge from the man who raped her and threatened her life.
She was not allowed to request for asylum and was processed for expulsion.
Instead of keeping her and her baby in a state-licensed childcare facility, they were sent in a hotel, managed by contractors, who are not certified or licensed to care for children.
International refugee groups recognized that her life was in danger and have assisted her after she and her baby were flown back to Guatemala.
The groups endorsed her for protection in another country.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other advocacy organizations have filed cases against the administration’s expulsion program.