President Donald Trump’s administration is proposing new measures to halt a surge of Central American families and unaccompanied minors crossing the Mexican border. The proposals are still in anonymous condition as they have yet to get publicly disclosed.
One of them includes separating parents from their children. In efforts to comply, authorities will use data compiled by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The information would help to target parents for deportation after they try to get custody of their children. Despite a sharp decline in illegal immigration since Trump took office, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has previously considered some of these proposals.
Undocumented immigrants are thinking twice before attempting to cross the border. Agents took custody of 7,018 families along the border with Mexico.
According to the DHS, the number of migrants detained last month was 39,006 – the highest number since Trump became president. Tyler Houlton, a DHS spokesman, said some of the measures got approved.
DHS is working with other agencies to “implement them in the near future,” said Houlton. “The administration is committed to using all legal tools at its disposal to secure our nation’s borders, and as a result, we are continuing to review additional policy options.”
Former Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly told CNN the children would be “well cared for as we deal with their parents.” The administration described the measures as tough but necessary, to discourage Central American families to embark on the long and dangerous journey to the border.
“People aren’t going to stop coming unless there are consequences to illegal entry,” said the DHS. Most of the migrants come from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
The DHS has three family detention centers. In November, all three reached their highest occupancy levels and remain near maximum capacity, officials said.
If families are separated, or if parents know they could get arrested for trying to reunite with their children, migrant advocates say the U.S. government will be inflicting “devastating” trauma on families fleeing Central America because they feel their lives are at risk.
This article was inspired by The Washington Post // To curb illegal border crossings, Trump administration weighs new measures targeting families