The young migrants and asylum seekers swim across the Rio Grande and clamber into the dense brush of Texas. Many are teens who left Central America on their own; others were sent along by parents from refugee camps in Mexico. They are as young as 10.
Under U.S. law they would normally be allowed to live with relatives while their cases wend their way through immigration courts. Instead the Trump administration is quickly expelling them under an emergency declaration citing the coronavirus pandemic, with 600 minors expelled in April alone.
The expulsions are the latest administration measure aimed at preventing the entry of migrant children, following other programs such as the since-rescinded “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in thousands of family separations.
Community Interviews with Moose FM
Border agencies say they have to restrict asylum claims and border crossings during the pandemic to prevent its spread. Migrants’ advocates call that a pretext to dispense with federal protections for children.
Story continues below advertisement
In interviews with The Associated Press, two recently expelled minors said border agents told them they would not be allowed to request asylum. They were placed in cells, fingerprinted and given a medical exam.