The Lost Children

The Lost Children

It seems incredible that U.S. authorities could lose track of nearly 1,500 unaccompanied immigrant children. But repeated investigations have confirmed that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services does not know where the missing children are. This information surfaced when the office tried to follow up on the well-being of thousands of children placed with sponsor families. The missing children are natives of the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America made up of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Violence from drug trafficking and gang activity drove children from their homes to look for safety in other countries. The U.S. Immigration system does not retain custody of unaccompanied minors. Instead, they are transferred to Health and Human Services, which is supposed to find safe care for them. Sponsor families are like the foster care system of immigration. The Office of Refugee Resettlement is responsible for following up on the well-being of children in sponsor families within weeks or months of placements. When the office made checks in late 2017 they were unable to reach anyone in the sponsor family for the 1,500 children. The problem is…there is no way to know how many are with families afraid to communicate with ICE and how many may need help. It is important to note that the missing children are not children forcibly separated from their parents at U.S. borders. These border separations are based on a specific policy the Trump Administration started in April 2018. It remains to be seen how the immigration system will be able to care for these children when it cannot keep up with the system of care for those already placed with sponsors. If you are facing immigration enforcement, please do not hesitate to contact an immigration attorney who knows the law and who can represent you! At Landerholm Immigration, APC, we fight complex deportation cases; please call us at (510) 756-4468 to see how we can help you!
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