Jan 24, 2020
CNN – More than 300 migrant children who were previously waiting in Mexico with family as part of a Trump administration policy have crossed the US-Mexico border alone, marking a jump from the approximately 135 children who crossed last fall, the US Department of Health and Human Services told CNN.
Health and Human Services said that 352 children who “indicated that their family is in Mexico” had been referred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an office within HHS, between October 1 and January 13.
It’s part of an ongoing trend of children, many of whom are from Central America, separating from their families after living in squalid and unsafe conditions in Mexico.
Late last year, migrant families sent approximately 135 children across the US-Mexico border alone.
The administration’s policy of returning migrants to Mexico to await their court date in the US does not apply to Mexican nationals.
The department provided the updated figure to congressional staffers on a call Thursday.
HHS said in the statement:
“In October, (Office of Refugee Resettlement) began to track referrals of children referred where there is any indication that their parents remained in Mexico as they entered the country unaccompanied. The primary reason for tracking this information is to ensure that parents and their children, in ORR care, are able to communicate and parents actively participate in the sponsorship process.”
HHS cautions the figures are preliminary and is being reconciled with the Department of Homeland Security.
Nearly a year after the implementation of the administration’s so-called “remain in Mexico” policy, the US has returned more than 57,000 migrants to Mexico.
Administration officials argue the policy has helped stem the flow of migrants to the southern border.
But the perilous conditions many families find themselves in has resulted in children crossing the border alone despite initially arriving with a parent or relative.
The reasons behind why children believed to have previously fallen under the “remain in Mexico” policy have crossed alone vary — from parents disappearing to relatives deciding the camps are too dangerous for children. Read more.