The Trump Justice department is trying to undermine legal protections for unaccompanied minors ('UAC') to the United States. These are minors who arrive in the United States without their parents.
In a previously unreported memo, obtained by CNN, the general counsel of the Executive Office of Immigration Review, which manages the nation's immigration courts, wrote in a legal opinion that the administration would be able to decide a UAC was no longer eligible for protections -- a sea change in the way the 2008 law granting those protections has been interpreted.
The Trump administration claims that they're protecting the U.S. from gangs by doing this.
The Trump administration has portrayed the UAC protections as a loophole in the law that can be exploited by gangs, though experts have testified before Congress that the minors under the program are more likely to be victimized by gangs in the US due to a lack of a support network than to be gang members. The administration also has sought to crack down on parents who pay smugglers to bring their children into the US illegally, even to escape dangerous situations in Central America.