More than 2,000 unaccompanied children have been expelled from the U.S. since March under an emergency declaration enacted by the Trump administration, which has cited the coronavirus in refusing to provide them protections under federal laws.
August 6, 2020 GMTFILE - In this Nov. 16, 2018, file photo, immigrants who entered the United States illegally wait to board a plane for a deportation flight. More than 2,000 unaccompanied children have been expelled since March under an emergency declaration enacted by the Trump administration, which has cited the coronavirus in refusing to provide them protections under federal anti-trafficking and asylum laws. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2018, file photo, immigrants who entered the United States illegally wait to board a plane for a deportation flight. More than 2,000 unaccompanied children have been expelled since March under an emergency declaration enacted by the Trump administration, which has cited the coronavirus in refusing to provide them protections under federal anti-trafficking and asylum laws. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
HOUSTON (AP) — When officers led them out of a detention facility near the U.S.-Mexico border and onto a bus last month, the 12-year-old from Honduras and his 9-year-old sister believed they were going to a shelter so they could be reunited with their mother in the Midwest.
They had been told to sign a paper they thought would tell the shelter they didn’t have the coronavirus, the boy said. The form was in English, a language he and his sister don’t speak. The only thing he recognized was the letters “COVID.”Instead, the bus drove five hours to an airport where the children were told to board a plane.
ADVERTISEMENT“They lied to us,” he said. “They didn’t tell us we were going back to Honduras.”More than 2,000 unaccompanied childrenhave been expelled since Marchunder an emergency declaration enacted by the Trump administration, which has cited the coronavirus in refusing to provide them protections under federal anti-trafficking and asylum laws. Lawyers and advocates have sharply criticized the administration for using the global pandemic as a pretext to deport children to places of danger.
No U.S. agents looked at the video the boy had saved on his cellphone showing a hooded man holding a rifle, saying his name, and threatening to kill him and his sister, weeks after the uncle caring for them was shot dead in June. And even though they were expelled under an emergency declaration citing the virus, they were never tested for COVID-19, the boy said.
Three weeks after their uncle was killed, the children fled Honduras, crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone. Under the normal process set out by U.S. law, they would have been referred to a government facility for youth and eventually placed with their mother. Instead, they were expelled on July 24 after three days in U.S. detention and now live in Honduras with another uncle who is looking to leave the country himself.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection declined multiple requests for comment on the boy’s story, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also declined, saying the children had been in Border Patrol custody until they boarded a deportation flight operated by ICE.
Spokesmen for both agencies have refused to answer most questions about how they treat roughly 70,000 adults and children expelled under the emergency declaration issued in March. They have refused to say how they decide whether to expel children or where to detain them before expulsion, including in
as young as 1 year old have been held.ADVERTISEMENTMuch of what’s known about expulsions has come from the accounts of children like the 12-year-old boy, who recounted his experience to The Associated Press last week with a recall of details that makes him seem older.
The AP is not identifying the boy, his sister, their mother or where their mother lives in the U.S. because of fears the children are still targeted by the people who killed their uncle.Dr. Amy Cohen, executive director of the advocacy group Every Last One, interviewed the boy several times and said she found him credible based on her conversations with hundreds of other immigrant children.
“When he has an opportunity to exaggerate or embroider his story, he absolutely does not,” Cohen said. “And he is consistent with everyone he has talked to. There’s no sense that the story is rehearsed.”Six children have died since 2018 after being detained by the Border Patrol, several in conditions that raised questions about how the agency treats children. The agency says it has instituted new medical checks and takes anyone determined to need additional care to a hospital.
In court, meanwhile, the Trump administration has argued children it is seeking to expel are not entitled to protections under the Flores settlement, a 2-decade-old court agreement that sets standards for the detention of immigrant children.The children’s uncle took them in three years ago after their mother fled with their older sister due to gang threats, according to the family.
It’s not clear who killed the uncle. But the boy said he remembers family members deciding not to have his uncle taken to the hospital because they feared they wouldn’t be able to afford to get his body out of the morgue.The killing frightened the family. According to the boy, he was left alone in his uncle’s home with his sister to fend for themselves. The boy said he cooked meals for them with the beans and eggs left in the house.
Then, one day, he said, a man approached him outside the house, asked to see his phone and gave it back with a video saved on it. In the video, a masked man said the siblings’ names and warned: “You either join us and start working with us,” or end up like your uncle. The same day, someone left a note outside their home threatening them, he said.
“It reminded me of my uncle’s death,” he said. “I felt a lot of fear.”They joined a large group of migrants leaving Honduras in hopes of reaching the U.S, he said. After the group split up in Guatemala, a man took him and his sister through Mexico and to the border.
Parts of the story are impossible to verify. Experts say MS-13 and other gangs often deliver death threats verbally, and migrant groups and routes through Mexico and Central America are known to be controlled by human smugglers who charge thousands of dollars per person. The boy’s mother says she doesn’t believe her son or any other relative paid a smuggler.
The siblings crossed the border around July 21 and were apprehended by Border Patrol agents, the boy said. Based on his description, it appears he and his sister were detained at the Border Patrol’s central processing center in McAllen, Texas, where children and adults are separated into large cages of chain-link fencing. Opened during the administration of former President Barack Obama, the
same processing center was usedtwo years ago to detain hundreds of parents and children separated by the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy.The boy said he was held in a cage with about 20 other boys his age and older. He was separated from his sister but could see her from a distance in another enclosure.
Once a day, someone took their temperatures, but the boy says he was never given a medical exam or a test to see if he had the virus. He said he wore a mask he brought with him from Honduras.He was able to call his mother from custody once before he and his sister were expelled. The phone call she received was from a number in McAllen, Texas.
The next call the mother received was from an official in Honduras, a few days later, asking her to send a relative to pick her kids up from a shelter for deported children. That was how she learned they had been expelled, she said.She sat recently in the trailer where she lives with family, including her elder daughter, now 16.
“I wanted something to be done and to be able to be calm, to know that my children are safe with me,” she said, crying. “No part of Honduras is safe.” Read more: The Associated Press »
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jawofsteel2014 Republicans love this diabolical personality Donald Trump has to lead them. This is the window, real caring, Americans must look through when the time comes to have some Nuremberg type trials. Trump, just like he does “Cohen” said, non directly, he cause the killing to go... No outrage from the AP when the Government shut down American businesses and violated American's rights but of course there is outrage when foreigners rights are violated.
shaunking FAKE NEWS, funny how you like to dish out lies constantly. Is that a condition? 🙄 shaunking morally bankrupt...doesn't seem to stop us squawking at other countries tho shaunking Thank you. AP shaunking Outrageous! TheDeepOffice Good. Go home. Stay home. Bogus evil trumpian expulsion Savages.
Christian, you say? Wake up “Christians”! Christ would be appalled! Racist Trump doesn't care about illegal children that are other than white. It's wrong beyond words. But wait, I thought children were “almost immune”? 🙄🤬 Prove it Very Pro-Life of him. CatholicNewsSvc The other side of the coin: hospitals in southern Texas are in undated with virus patients who entered illegally from Mexico. How many do you want to let in?
good send them all back home CatholicNewsSvc Good maggieNYT I think it’s to keep them safe .... from coming into a country riddled with infection. You know the Adminstation is known for its compassion, especially for kids at the border Where were they expelled to ? Why were they in USA to begin with? Where were their Parents aka coyote? There is a system and a doorway, don't blame return, when not followed
2000 !!!! who r they ? how did the y get here? where r the parents? good, send them back to where ever they came from!!!! they should wait till 2021 then free for all Good! So why are these children unaccompanied? How does that work? What exactly are we expected to do with these children? It’s the freakin middle of a pandemic-stop being stupid.
Protect the widows and orphans. At least their not in cages. Am I right? Too low. Heartless. Trump Has No Administration He Is A Complete Fake Quotes Republican President Mark Patrick Seymour.our savethechildren Trump is the monster created by American exceptionalism stop sending them That's a pretty good reason. How are we to know their pediatric history?
maggieNYT That's our Prez. He is all heart. Have they released .the kids they were ordered to release maggieNYT Is it even possible for 45 to be more heartless? I remember a time when the president of the United States was someone you looked up to. A true role model to either party. That seems like another life.
These children are seeking asylum because their lives are in danger. They are NOT entering the US illegally. The US is illegally returning them without following the process. ShameonUS Were they sent back to thier families in thier home countries rather than being orphand here? Seems reasonable And you thought he only hated American children...
Good ! All they do is steal our jobs for 10 cents an hour and commit undocumented crimes!!! God damn cholos Okay. Good. maggieNYT This is unreal. 😕😕😕 AmericaFirst - thank you Mister POTUS ! We are hitting rock bottom. The inhumanity of this administration is unprecedented. GO HOME! It's not safe for them here.
They have no protections under federal law. They are illegal maggieNYT despicableplan by the NarcissistInChief while the ComplicitCorruptGOP remain silent! VoteOutTheGOP Hold each one responsible! WhereAreTheChildren Refugees bloodonyourhands Max_Lederman Either we're a nation of laws or a nation of crimes. Pick one. If you pick smart you'll see we must enforce our laws and punish anyone who breaks them.
And most of Repuklicans call themselves Christians , Jesus would shun them and open his arms to those poor children ! Why don't you report on the 800,000 children that go missing in the US every year? Trump thinks that babies can fly. No worries. When we look around there are so many big abandoned Catholic churches. If Jesus can take 4 loaves of bread and 2 fish from a boy, to feed 5000 and fight off so many biases & viruses..why not us! If we want, we are innovative enough to fight off a virus & help during any crisis
Stop illegal immigration. 🤮 Only pro life when controlling women. The number of human beings Trump has allowed to die will be incalculable 😡 Gotta go back and come in legally. Nice! Can’t wait until we have the United States of America back, so we can welcome the tired, the poor, the homeless masses yearning to be free back to our democracy.
We have enough poverty here don’t need to any more poor people maggieNYT Evil exists among us. 1600 Pennsylvania ave Shameful, the children need protection What Godless behavior is this Womp womp SaysSimonson They’re illegal, now you have to pass through checkpoints to get into New York because of coronavirus. Spare me
maggieNYT The cruelty is the point. Shameless. God will have revenge, for children are blameless and innocent 😇!! Trump will reep the consequences in due time. Hey NepotismBarbie about that claim daddy's helping trafficking victims ... IvankaTrump So they take them to the border and then leave them alone? I'm beyond disgusted
For more cartoons subscribe to So much for American values....this country has lost its way. The coronavirus is either serious enough to ignore laws or so overblown we should ignore the laws, I guess whichever one fits the administrations narrative that day Would you rather them be in cages? realDonaldTrump POTUS IS EVIL!
Who lets their little kids all by themselves travel. That’s not Trump that’s parents . Hopefully Mexico will take and put them in a safe place . I’m not buying the way this is being worded. maggieNYT Seriously. I mean, IS there any doubt at this point... Me searching for the child trafficking keyboard posse
There is nothing free or Christian about this country. You can not call yourself a Christian or a Mother if you protect your children but watch other people's children be sent to die! YOU HAVE NO HUMANITY! Where is our morality? How do we justify putting children in harms way? They aren't animals to set free, for they are humans made in the image of God. Where are the Christians in this country protesting this behavior? We as Americans need to bring the moral good back. Ashamed.
So lemme get this straight, kids must go back to school but we can't let any kids in to the US? Where are their shitty parents? 2k children are without their parents...now POTUS is about to use our children as guinea pigs in a horrible public health experiment. Protect our children America! Shouldn't that be 'illegal immigrant children'
US never cared about basic human rights. 👎 So the coronavirus is so bad that we can’t help these kids. But the coronavirus is so under control that we can risk our own kids going back to school? Seems like the overarching message of the Trump administration is “lol kids are gonna die.” Good. Those dangerous children! Sure feel a lot safer now!
No, I don't believe that this accurate. Fake News,...really. That's the GOP, the 'pro-life' party. so is this the new scandal?
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