The Federal Government Lost 1,500 Immigrant Children

Separating young children from their parents is bad enough. Losing 20 percent of the kids in federal care is appalling.

Sometimes the truth is stranger and more appalling than satirists could possibly imagine. That was the case recently when the news emerged that the federal government had misplaced 1,500 immigrant children.

For the past year, the Trump Administration has implemented a policy of separating children from immigrants who were being held in immigration detention centers. As John Stonestreet noted in Breakpoint, it was not only illegal immigrant families that were being torn apart, but also families who had come to the United States legally to seek asylum.

Earlier this month, CNN reported on the Senate testimony of Steven Wagner, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Wagner revealed that in the last three months of 2017 the government had lost track of an astounding 20 percent of undocumented minors in its custody. In all, Mr. Wagner testified that the Office of Refugee Resettlement “was unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 children.” Another 28 children were known to have run away.

Mr. Wagner was not overly concerned with the 1,500 missing children. “I understand that it has been HHS's long-standing interpretation of the law that ORR is not legally responsible for children after they are released from ORR care,” he told senators.

Stonestreet noted that Obama Administration policy was to detain families of asylum seekers while their applications were being reviewed. The Trump Administration initiated the policy of separating families to discourage immigrants from coming to the US.

Earlier in May, the Trump Administration announced the new policy of referring every person caught crossing the border illegally for federal prosecution. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at the time, “If you're smuggling a child, we're going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don't want your child to be separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally.”

On May 11, Chief of Staff John Kelly told ABC News, “The children will be taken care of -- put into foster care or whatever.”

The policy is apparently being used against legal immigrants seeking asylum as well. In Breakpoint, Stonestreet cited the case of “Mrs. L.,” a Catholic refugee who was detained in San Diego and separated from her daughter without due process. The daughter was sent to a facility in Chicago where their only contact has been a half-dozen phone calls.

When the policy of family separations became news this week, President Trump responded by blaming Democrats. The president tweeted that Democrats needed to be pressured “to end the horrible law that separates children from there [sic] parents once they cross the Border into the U.S.” The problem is that the separations are Trump Administration policy, not a legal requirement.

While needlessly separating young children from their parents is bad enough, losing 20 percent of the children in federal care is appalling. If the Trump Administration hopes to persuade Americans that the federal government is not competent at even the smallest task, losing more than a thousand children in its care is an excellent way to start.

The hardline policy may backfire on the Trump Administration politically. Americans have consistently been more accepting of immigrants than Republicans have been. Last year, Fox News found that 83 percent of registered voters supported a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens. Ripping small children from the arms of their parents is unlikely to boost support for strict immigration enforcement.

The policy is likely to make the Republican brand look even worse. An AP poll from March found that most Americans already think President Trump is racist. A policy separating immigrant parents from their children is unlikely to convince people otherwise.

Trump’s policy is also inconsistent with the image of a party that claims to be pro-family and Christian. Republicans have scored recent victories against abortion and Planned Parenthood, but the poorly-implemented child separation policy lends credence to liberal claims that the party only cares about children until they are born.

Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” But Christ also gave a warning, saying, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,” Jesus said. “For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”

Ripping families apart to make a political point is hard to square with Christian and conservative ideals. It is even more difficult to justify taking so little care that 1,500 little children – 20 percent of the total – could be placed into federal care and simply disappear.

[Photo: ICE Special Agents (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) arresting suspects during a 2010 raid in Houston.]

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NWRED
NWRED

This article shows mass confusion in the law. We have illegals connected with smuggling. We have refugees. We have people on work visas. Are the children anchor babies, or near misses? Mother delivered before the border was crossed. Were any of those who were sent back guilty of crimes, not counting immigration crimes? Mexicans and others from South America might be the target because of the numbers, but some from Europe and the Middle East could also be included.. This mess was caused by Obama's executive orders. Sessions is honoring the laws passed by a congress. If the family doesn't want to be split, send the back. Where are the green cards at the time of arrest? Did those here legally commit a crime?

streiff_is_a_moron
streiff_is_a_moron

@BobtheBeefman - Other than the "name calling" I am responsible for(and completely aware of and done for a point) please direct me to the "name calling" anywhere else in the comments for this article. Since I'm certain you can't provide any evidence, how am I wrong in saying there was no name calling prior to Reaganite complaining about it? As to the quantity of irony in this situation, it weighs much more heavily on you, since you don't know the meaning of the word or understand the context of my "name calling". It's far more ironic to call irony out while not understanding the word. What I did was satirize my response, since his original complaint was completely unfounded. There's nothing ironic about my name (or behavior) either since it's also lampooning someone completely unlikeable.

ConservativeChick
ConservativeChick

wait, they lost track of some of the children (we still have absolutely no idea how many illegal immigrants are even in this country and now we question where 1500 of them are?) Are you telling me that a government bureaucracy is ineffective? I am shocked I say. Shocked.

Reaganite
Reaganite

Bob, I fear that his moniker may be a mea culpa, a cry for help, and the threads of The Resurgent have become his confessional. :)

JPL
JPL

Stephanie, you are absolutely correct. That human lives are being used so callously is truly appalling.

streiff_is_a_moron
streiff_is_a_moron

@Reaganite - If you've truly stared death in the eye and you're whining about imaginary name calling, I feel bad for you son. Go cower in your FOXhole.

StephanieLoomis
StephanieLoomis

It is appalling that this many children (20%) are unaccounted for. It is equally egregious that children are used as pawns in a political game by BOTH sides. If the US government insists on separating children from parents in order to dissuade illegal immigration, it must then take on the responsibility to ensure the welfare of those children. Perhaps some of these children did run away. But it is also highly probable that some of those children fell into the dark world of human trafficking. There are better ways to secure the border than this.

BobtheBeefman
BobtheBeefman

since facts have actually come out, that desensationalize and fully explain this issue, why is this half-truth and essentially fake 'news' story still up at the Resurgent?

BobtheBeefman
BobtheBeefman

Ironic, isn't it, that one whose moniker displays "name calling" would say he/she doesn't 'see any name calling'? Does that make "streiff_is_a_moron", a "moron"?

Reaganite
Reaganite

I come from a different generation when civility and mutual respect weren't dead, when you debated the great issues of the day and then went to lunch together, and no one hid behind screen names. It is the anonymous bravado syndrome, pundits huddled over their computer in the dark of their rooms hurling invectives and spewing vitriol. If you knew the story of my life and how many times I've stared death in the eye, I don't think you'd think of me as a snowflake, but you might still employ the term because, even though it is not profanity, it is the term du jour to insult people you engage on the vast wastelands of the net. On our better days, some of us, who learned the hard way who and what never mattered and Who always will, try to practice the Words in red and forgive our enemies and love our neighbors, seventy times seven...but I guess that's just what we snowflakes do.

streiff_is_a_moron
streiff_is_a_moron

@Reaganite - I don't see any name calling in this thread. Maybe someone said something that hit a little to close to home? Respectfully, you're one of the snowflakiest of the snowflakes. I don't even know what a safe space for you would look like. Redstate & a blast chiller?

(my referring to you as a snowflake is the only "name calling" but it's also 100% true)

aprilmoon
aprilmoon

The administration saying it is not our problem, it is not our responsibility, sounds amazingly like what every person or organization or bureaucracy says when things very go very wrong. See "pointing the finger at someone else". Classic response.

Reaganite
Reaganite

Please stop the name calling. State your case. Point, counterpoint. The threads on The Resurgent continue to deteriorate into little more than a print version of the name calling and mudslinging wrestling matches we are subjected to by the "analysts" on network "news."

RogueValley
RogueValley

@FloridaMan

No, they didn't run away, these are specifically children under the age of 5, most between 1 and 3. They lost them by sending them to "vetted" families, but they didn't keep track of any contact details, so they passed out infants to folks, remember, also legal immigrant's kids too, and don't know where they are, how to contact them etc. If the parents status changes, granted residence or deported, we don't know where the kids are to reunite them.

RogueValley
RogueValley

Not secret, changed in the last 7 months, but not the way we've done it for several hundred years, you didn't know and you have access to TV and internet. Also remember, this includes kids whose parents immigrated legally as well.

Jack_Krevin
Jack_Krevin

@JaneKMiller: I can take it from your response that you can't answer the question then?

JaneKMiller
JaneKMiller

@Jack -- Oh no, it took a grown-up to shame you, believe me.

Jack_Krevin
Jack_Krevin

@JaneKMiller: My personal views are completely irreverent to this discussion. I asked a question. Either you can answer it or stop wasting time. Your childish attempts to shame or perhaps infuriate me are beyond silly.

Chevy99
Chevy99

Answer me honestly Diogenes, what would you risk to give your child a chance at a better life?

Diogenes
Diogenes

It's the parents of these children who consciously make the choice to have their families separated. This is not a secret law/policy, is it?

No. 26-38
Chevy99
Chevy99

Hyperbole aside, what the founding fathers thought about immigration is really more than pointless. I mean they were so hard up for labor they forced people to come here and enslaved them. Not exactly the immigration policy that America has sense settled on. Nor is it true that children are just ripped from their family when the parents commit a crime. The state goes out of their way to make sure the child has as little as possible change in their lives. Whether that means putting them with family or friends. I mean they have a whole department to handle situations just like that. Which brings me to the actual issue, when did Republicans start wanting to punish people for trying to better their lives and the lives of their children? I still believe America is the land of opportunity and the fact that so many people want to rip families and endanger children because a parent wanted to give their children a better chance at life seems so UnAmerican. Not to mention unChristian, but there's no way anyone can say Republicans are the Christian party anymore. Either way this new screw them attitude disgusts me and makes me want to vote Democrat.

FloridaMan
FloridaMan

They weren't lost, they ran away. Slight dif.

JaneKMiller
JaneKMiller

@Jack -- Yeah, I don't argue with racists. No point. But don't hide who you are. Be a man and stand up for what you believe in, even if those "main stream people" think you are repulsive.

Jack_Krevin
Jack_Krevin

@JaneKMiller: If you disagree that was Jefferson's view I am willing to be enlightened but I don't think the evidence exists. Simply put, for better or worse, the Founders had views on race closer to the 18th century than the 21st. Further, mockery is not an argument. And, used as you have done here, is typically more a way to escape an argument you're losing and save face.

JaneKMiller
JaneKMiller

@Jack -- HAHA all White Men. Perfect. Way to show your cards, bub.