The scope of the Trump admin.'s COVID policy of expelling migrant children, without affording them humanitarian protections enshrined in US law, was revealed Friday.

8,800 minors apprehended without adult family members have been expelled since March. 1/
cbsnews.com/news/8800-migr…
In addition to 8,800 unaccompanied minors, 7,600 members of migrant families with children were also expelled by border officials.

In total, 159,000 expulsions have been carried under this indefinite pandemic policy, which was authorized by CDC Director Robert Redfield. 2/
How big of a shift is this? US law allows border-crossers to fight their deportation by requesting asylum.

The Trump admin. has worked to restrict asylum for 3 + years, arguing it is abused. But it has never been able to summarily expel migrants—let alone children—until now. 3/
Migrant kids have extra legal safeguards.

A Bush-era law requires officials to transfer most unaccompanied children to the US refugee agency, which works to release them to US sponsors / family members

Unlike adults, they can request asylum via a non-adversarial process. 4/
In addition to asylum, migrant children can obtain US refuge through visas for neglected, abused or abandoned minors.

All minors—both unaccompanied & those with parents—are protected under the Flores court settlement. Families are not supposed to be detained for 20 + days. 5/
The Trump admin (and to some extent, the Obama admin) has argued these safeguards encourage unauthorized migration, particularly from Central America.

Advocates say these asylum and anti-trafficking protections are critical for migrants fleeing violence, especially children. 6/
Now, citing the need to contain coronavirus, the Trump admin. has been able to suspend these safeguards for most. It argues they're superseded by public health law during a pandemic.

Despite authorizing it, the CDC has said little about this policy and faced little scrutiny. 7/
The Trump admin. is telling federal courts that allowing migrant children to stay in the US while their cases are adjudicated would overburden US refugee agency shelters and ICE family detention centers, making it harder to contain the coronavirus inside these facilities. 8/
Advocates like @L_Toczylowski say there are safe ways to allow children to seek US refuge.

"To find out that our gov't has literally taken children who are seeking protection and sent them back to the very places they fled in such high numbers really took my breath away." 9/
In 1 month, a CDC rule will take effect codifying its authority to give US immigration officials the power to bypass protections for asylum-seekers and migrant children during a pandemic.

Keep following @CBSNews. We'll continue to cover this policy. end/
cbsnews.com/news/8800-migr…

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More from @camiloreports

9 Sep
DHS No. 2 Ken Cuccinelli ordered officials in Dec. 2019 to fire or reassign staffers who compiled reports on violence, corruption and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that Cuccinelli felt undermined the Trump admin's asylum policies, per a whistleblower complaint.
Senior DHS official Brian Murphy, who filed the whistleblower complaint to the DHS inspector general yesterday, said he called Cuccinelli's instructions "illegal."

His complaint, as provided to Congress, is here:
intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/…
In his whistleblower complaint, senior DHS official Brian Murphy also accuses former DHS Sec. Nielsen's inner circle—including current acting Sec. Chad Wolf—of manipulating data about potential terrorists entering the southern border (to promote border wall construction).
Read 4 tweets
5 Sep
U.S. Judge Dolly Gee ordered DHS yesterday to cease using hotels as detention facilities for migrant children it seeks to expel from the border.

Gee said DHS can't "evade its obligations under the Flores Agreement by hiding behind" public health law. 1/
cbsnews.com/news/judge-rul…
If upheld, Gee's order will generally end the hotel detention system used by DHS to expel unaccompanied children and families under a public health CDC directive (there's an exception for ~2-day stays).

However, the order does not block DHS from continuing to expel children. 2/
The legality of expelling migrant children under public health law is being challenged in another federal court.

Gee, who oversees litigation over the 1997 Flores Agreement, is ordering DHS to transfer children to licensed facilities within 72 hours of apprehending them. 3/
Read 6 tweets
29 Aug
New: At least 177 unaccompanied migrant children were expelled from the US last month after being held in hotels as part of the Trump admin.’s pandemic-era emergency border restrictions, per government data provided to lawyers in the Flores court case. @CBSNews.
Additionally, at least 39 minors apprehended by US border officials with their parents or other adult family members were expelled last month after being held in hotel rooms, per the data.
These are migrant children and families who were expelled under the legal authorities of a CDC order the Trump admin. says supersedes immigration, asylum and anti-trafficking laws that allow border crossers, particularly minors, to seek US asylum or other relief from deportation.
Read 6 tweets
27 Jan
JUST IN: The Supreme Court has allowed the Trump administration to enforce its most ambitious effort to restrict legal immigration, green-lighting the public charge rule.

Critics say it will shut America's doors to low-income immigrants & people of color.
cbsnews.com/news/supreme-c…
This is major victory for the Trump administration, which says the rule is designed to promote "self-sufficiency" among immigrants.

But immigrant advocates say it institutes a “wealth test” designed to limit the immigration of poor people from developing, non-white countries.
The term "public charge" dates back to 1882 — when the US actively sought to limit immigration from non-white countries.

That year, the US enacted the discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Act on the premise that Chinese immigrants jeopardized "the good order of certain localities."
Read 4 tweets
23 Jan
NEW: Nine migrant parents who were deported from the U.S. after being separated from their children in 2017 and 2018 set foot on American soil once again late Wednesday night in a historic, court-mandated return.

@CBSNews was there:
cbsnews.com/news/migrant-p…
For many of them, it was the 1st time in the U.S. outside the treacherous terrain of the southern border, cold Border Patrol cells and detention centers.

It was also their 2nd time on board a plane; the first being on a deportation flight with their arms bound by shackles.
"We all deserve an opportunity in life," Fernando, one the parents, told me after embracing his family for the 1st time in nearly 2 years.

"To all the parents who are watching us—who are separated from their children—have patience, have faith & pray a lot because miracles exist"
Read 4 tweets

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