Last week The Guardian reported that US Border Patrol violated agency rules in deporting thousands of children. The full article can be read here.
Safe Passage Project legal intern Jason Kim, summarizes the story below.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently released an audit claiming that between 2009 and 2014, the US Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has repatriated thousands of unaccompanied alien children under the age of 14 without adequate screening. This was a clear violation of agency rules because these children, primarily from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, were not provided the proper screening to determine whether or not it would be safe to send them back to their home countries.
Organizations such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) have stated that the CBP are not prepared to handle the critical situation that they are experiencing at the border. Greg Chen, the Director of advocacy at AILA stated that, “CBP just does not have the training, the understanding of humanitarian protection, to make the assessment of these children from Mexico before sending them back to their home countries.” The primary issue is that the law assumes that these children, after going through the difficult journey, are capable of answering such important questions. Furthermore, there is a lack of documentation on how the CBP has decided each child would not face any danger if he or she was repatriated.
The lack of documentation makes it impossible to hold the CBP accountable for all the children that were sent back to their home countries. DHS has agreed to take action and improve its screening process by following the 12 recommendations given by the Government Accountability Office.