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Admin: Location Known for All Kids     06/24 11:44

   Trump administration officials say the U.S. government knows the location of 
all children in its custody after separating them from their families at the 
border and is working to reunite them.

   (AP) -- Trump administration officials say the U.S. government knows the 
location of all children in its custody after separating them from their 
families at the border and is working to reunite them.

   A fact sheet on "zero-tolerance prosecution and family reunification" 
released Saturday night by the Department of Homeland Security and other 
agencies involved in the separations also says a parent must request that their 
child be deported with them. In the past, the agency says, many parents elected 
to be deported without their children. That may be a reflection of violence or 
persecution they face in their home countries.

   The fact sheet doesn't state how long it might take to reunite families. The 
Port Isabel Service Processing Center in Texas has been set up as the staging 
ground for the families to be reunited prior to deportation.

   How the government would reunite families has been unclear because the 
families are first stopped by Customs and Border Patrol, with children taken 
into custody by HHS and adults detained through Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement. Children have been sent to shelters around the country, raising 
alarm that parents might never know where their children can be found.

   The information comes as protests erupted around the country over the 
separations and the future of families arriving to the U.S. illegally.

   The fact sheet states that ICE has: implemented an identification mechanism 
to ensure on-going tracking of linked family members throughout the detention 
and removal process; designated detention locations for separated parents and 
will enhance current processes to ensure communication with children in HHS 
custody; worked closely with foreign consulates to ensure that travel documents 
are issued for both the parent and child at time of removal; and coordinated 
with HHS for the reuniting of the child prior to the parents' departure from 
the U.S.

   As part of the effort, ICE officials have posted notices in all its 
facilities advising detained parents who are trying to find or communicate with 
their children to call a hotline staffed 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

   A parent or guardian trying to determine if a child is in the custody of HHS 
should contact the Office of Refugee Resettlement National Call Center at 
1-800-203-7001, or via email information@ORRNCC.com. Information will be 
collected and sent to HHS funded facility where minor is located.

   President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered the practice of separating 
parents and their children to stop. As of last Wednesday, 2,053 minors who were 
separated at the border were being cared for in HHS-funded facilities, the fact 
sheet said.

   But, it's unclear whether detained parents have access to computers to send 
an email, or how their phone systems work to call out. Attorneys at the border 
have said they have been frantically trying to locate information about the 
children on behalf of their clients.

   Until Wednesday, the president, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen 
and other officials had repeatedly argued the only way to end the practice was 
for Congress to pass new legislation, while Democrats said Trump could do it 
with his signature alone. That's just what Trump did with the executive order.

   U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said it had reunited 522 children and that 
some were never taken into custody by Health and Human Services because their 
parents' criminal cases were processed too quickly. Officials have said as many 
as 2,300 children had been separated from the time the policy began until June 
9. It's not clear if any of the 2,000 remaining children were taken into 
custody after June 9.

   The zero tolerance policy of criminally prosecuting anyone caught illegally 
crossing the border remains in effect, officials have said, despite confusion 
on the ground on how to carry out Trump's order. Justice Department officials 
asked a federal judge to amend a class action settlement that governs how 
children are treated in immigration custody. Right now, children can only be 
detained with their families for 20 days; Trump officials are seeking to detain 
them together indefinitely as their cases progress. Advocates say family 
detention does not solve the problem.


(KA)

 
 
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