Thursday, May 31, 2018

Feds pay $670 a day to make unaccompanied illegal immigrant children ‘comfortable’

The image of two illegal immigrant children sleeping on the floor in a chain-link fence “cage” swept the internet last weekend, sparking misdirected anger from activists who blamed President Trump for the conditions — which were actually from 2014, when the photo was taken, under President Obama. Here is another image: illegal immigrant children set up in comfy dormitories, coloring with “multicultural crayons,” watching their favorite soccer teams from back home on the extensive cable system, even kicking the ball around themselves on a beautiful new soccer field — all paid for by taxpayers. There’s “Spanish language yoga” for those that want it and trips to go bowling, to visit museums and even to hit up the amusement park, at $49 a ticket, also on taxpayers’ tab. The children chow on three meals a day plus snacks, since federal rules say they must be fed “until they are full.” Both images are accurate: two distinct snapshots of different parts of the massive U.S. immigration system that handles hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied alien children, or UAC, who have streamed over the border over the past five years, challenging first the Obama administration and now Mr. Trump. The children initially are kept in stark cells at the border, where they are processed by the agents who catch them. That is what the photos from 2014 show. Fast-forward to 2013, when the patterns began to change, with the flow shifting from Mexicans to Central Americans, and from men to families traveling together, or even children traveling alone — the UAC. So far this year, about a third of the people nabbed by Border Patrol agents fell into one of those special categories. Under American law and government policy, they cannot be quickly shunted back across the border. The children can spend up to 72 hours in the Border Patrol facility, which has meant sleeping in a crowded room, with little but a Mylar blanket, in conditions so cold that the migrants call the cells “hielera,” or ice box. But under rules that have been in place for years, illegal immigrant children traveling as part of families are sent either sent to dorm-style detention facilities run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or are released outright, where they usually disappear into the shadows with the rest of the unauthorized population. They are supposed to be released within 20 days. If the children are UAC, meaning they jump the border without their parents or come as a family but become separated after their arrival, release comes much faster — 72 hours at the maximum, according to court-mandated rules. Then it’s off to a dorm run by social workers contracted by the Health and Human Services Department, which pays for the yoga classes, the multicultural crayons and all the other trappings designed to ease the UAC into a possible life in the U.S...MORE

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