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US 13 immigrant kids separated from families arrive in Michigan

09:30  15 february  2020
09:30  15 february  2020 Source:   freep.com

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13 immigrant kids separated from families arrive in Michigan . The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center is concerned that family separations of Immigrant advocates say it's another case of families being separated as the U.S. pushes to have asylum seekers wait in Mexico instead of in the

Separated from her parents at the southern border, a 9-year-old girl from Guatemala who recently arrived in Michigan often cries out in In Michigan , foster care and immigrant groups say they are seeing an increased number of children arriving in the state who have been separated by U.S

Thirteen immigrant children who entered the United States through the border with Mexico have been sent to Michigan in recent months by government officials.

a group of people standing next to a fence: In this Feb. 19, 2019 file photo, children line up to enter a tent at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Homestead, Fla.© Wilfredo Lee, AP In this Feb. 19, 2019 file photo, children line up to enter a tent at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Homestead, Fla.

Immigrant advocates say it's another case of families being separated as the U.S. pushes to have asylum seekers wait in Mexico instead of in the U.S. under the Migrant Protection Protocols, often known as the 'Remain in Mexico' policy, that started last year.

The unaccompanied minors were originally with their parents trying to cross into the U.S. seeking asylum, according to the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center.

They were one of the first families separated at the border. Two and a half years later, they’re still apart.

  They were one of the first families separated at the border. Two and a half years later, they’re still apart. Asylum-seeker Mar�a Reynoso was sent back to Guatemala. Her 9-year-old daughter is in Florida. Theirs is a hidden separation — older, longer, unreported to Congress.But when her teacher, or her social worker, or her best friend Ashley asks, Adelaida sounds it out — one of the first words she learned in English. “They separated us.

MI Dept. of Civil Rights on immigrant kids separated from parents arriving in Michigan : “the children arriving here are much younger than those who have been transported here in the past. Most of the passengers are asleep so they don't know they're riding with babies separated from their families .

'Where's my mom?' cries girl as immigrant kids separated from parents arrive in Michigan . Since May 1, Bethany Christian Services has served 76 children in their transitional foster care programs in Michigan , 58 of which were children separated from their families , according to statistics provided

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They "had previously been returned to Mexico with their mother or father (coming) into federal custody in Michigan as unaccompanied after they returned to the port of entry alone," wrote Susan Reed, Managing Attorney for the Michigan Immigrant Center in a recent letter to the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship.

"It feels like family separation 2.0, only with many more obstacles," Reed told the Free Press. "The situation is so desperate."

Reed said the Trump administration's new policies are "radically changing the way groups are treated at the  border." They are "senseless and cruel," she said.

The children were sent to Michigan through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee and Resettlement, said Rebekah Ostosh of Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. The center is legally representing the children.

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The government has no coherent plan to get immigrant kids back to their families . An 8-month old baby who arrived in Michigan this month is one of 50 undocumented children placed in the state — 50 among thousands separated from their families at the country's southern border.

Over two-hundred children taken from their families after illegally crossing the US-Mexico border are being housed at the Cayuga Center in East Harlem.

Family separations became a contentious issue in 2018 after reports of increasing numbers of families being separated after they crossed the border. In the summer of 2018, more than 50 separated children were taken to Michigan over a two-month period, the Free Press reported. Since then, the Trump administration created a new policy where migrants have to wait in Mexico while seeking asylum.

The Department of Homeland Security has defended its policies, saying that many "individuals arrive unlawfully at the Southern Border. MPP (Migrant Protection Protocols) will reduce the number of aliens taking advantage of U.S. law and discourage false asylum claims. Aliens will not be permitted to disappear into the U.S. before a court issues a final decision on whether they will be admitted and provided protection under U.S. law. Instead, they will await a determination in Mexico and receive appropriate humanitarian protections there."

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The Trump administration says it separates immigrant families only when necessary to protect the child. Officials have repeatedly declined to provide data on how many families have been separated , but suggested that the number was relatively low.

Shelter operator Southwest Key denounces ' separating families at the border'. For several years, Southwest Key Programs has operated shelters The federal contractor housing immigrant children in Arizona, California and Texas issued a statement Wednesday denouncing family separations .

But Reed said the separations are continuing in some cases and putting lives in danger.

She said in her letter that "at least three of those minors’ parents have since been kidnapped or otherwise disappeared."

One of the 13 children brought to Michigan had been kidnapped last year along with his father after the U.S. had sent them back to Mexico, Reed said.

"After being turned away from the port of entry, they took a taxi to a migrant shelter," Reed said in her letter. "The taxi was stopped en route, and father and son were abruptly pulled out and forcibly taken to a house where others were being held. The kidnappers demanded ransom, but the family could only gather half of the amount, so the kidnappers released the child alone."

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The child didn't know where to go, and so "he returned to the port of entry alone, and was taken into CBP  (Customs and Border Patrol) custody as an unaccompanied minor."

The letter, sent Jan. 22, praised the House subcommittee for announcing last month that it was going to investigate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).

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Arizona facility houses immigrant children separated from families . Gonzalez arrived in Nogales on Tuesday to seek asylum. Sean Logan, The Arizona Republic, via USA TODAY NETWORK. Southwest Key is housing an undisclosed number of children at some of its 13 facilities in Arizona Migrant families from Honduras and Guatemala are taken in to custody by Border Patrol after being

Published Thu, Sep 13 20181:29 PM EDTUpdated Thu, Sep 13 20181:52 PM EDT. People participate in a protest against a recent U.S. immigration policy of separating children from their families when they enter the United States as undocumented immigrants , outside the Tornillo Tranit

"We have become increasingly concerned about MPP’s negative effects on the children and families we serve at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC)," Reed said in her letter. "MPP should be abandoned immediately and asylum seekers’ rights under international and domestic law should be fully restored and respected."

In other cases, some of the 13 minors "we have interviewed report separating from a parent and crossing alone due to threats their families received in Mexico and lack of proper medical attention and access to food at border encampments," Reed said. "Exposing children and families who are seeking asylum through our legal process to this kind of violence and deprivation is senseless and cruel."

On Jan. 14, the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship said in a statement announcing its investigation into the Trump administration's new migrant protocols that the new "policy has nearly eliminated the already scarce due process protections available to asylum-seekers — such as access to counsel — further reducing the likelihood that legitimate asylum seekers can obtain asylum. Moreover, MPP forces women, children, and families to remain in areas that the federal government recognizes as especially unsafe." "

The Department of Homeland of Security has said that its new migrant protocols "will reduce the extraordinary strain on our border security and immigration system, freeing up personnel and resources to better protect our sovereignty and the rule of law by restoring integrity to the American immigration system."

Contact Niraj Warikoo: nwarikoo@freepress.com or 313-223-4792. Twitter @nwarikoo

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: 13 immigrant kids separated from families arrive in Michigan

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