U.S. immigration authorities arrested 170 people between early July and late November who came forward to claim migrant children in government custody, according to official data released on Monday, a crackdown advocates say is discouraging relatives from volunteering to take in some of the 14,000 detained children.
Of those arrested, 61 were classified as criminal while the other 109 had only committed immigration violations, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Matthew Bourke.
President Donald Trump won the White House on a promise to crack down on illegal immigrants and he has ordered more aggressive enforcement to dissuade migrants from crossing the U.S. southern border.
U.S. laws and legal precedent limit the time migrant juveniles can be detained, so those caught crossing the border alone are often released to their parents or other close relatives.
About 80 percent of potential sponsors that ICE conducted checks on in that five-month period were in the United States unlawfully, said Bourke.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) cares for the migrant children, while the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) enforces immigration law and oversees ICE.
HHS officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In April, HHS and DHS agreed they would share more information about children and their potential sponsors. That information was not previously routinely shared. HHS now provides immigration authorities with names, dates of birth, and fingerprints of potential sponsors. All adult members of the potential sponsor’s household must also be fingerprinted, something not required in the past.
The government says it wants to ensure that potential sponsors are suitable and properly vetted. But immigrant advocates have criticized the policy change, saying it is scaring parents and other relatives from claiming their children.
On Nov. 28, 112 organizations wrote a letter to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and HHS Secretary Alex Azar urging them to reverse the policy.
“Your agencies have taken a process designed to protect children and made it into a tool that uses them to find and deport their families,” they wrote.
In September, senior ICE official Matthew Albence testified to Congress that ICE had arrested 41 people who came forward to sponsor immigrant children. The figures provided by ICE on Monday include the 41 people mentioned by Albence, Bourke said.
Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Kristina Cooke; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
Bomb detonates near Northern Ireland border
An explosive device described as an attempted trap for security forces detonated in a village on the Northern Ireland border on Monday, but failed to injure anyone.
Police and bomb disposal experts had been working in the area of Newtownbutler over the weekend since receiving an initial report about a suspect device on Saturday.
"I am of the firm belief this was a deliberate attempt to lure police and ATO (Anti-Terrorism Officer) colleagues into the area to murder them," Stephen Martin from the Police Service of Northern Ireland said in a statement.
New planet discovered in orbit of young Milky Way star
A second planet has been discovered circling Beta Pictoris, a fledgling star in our own galaxy offering astronomers a rare glimpse of a planetary system in the making, according to a study published Monday.
"We talking about a giant planet about 3,000 times more massive than Earth, situated 2.7 times further from its star than the Earth is from the Sun," said Anne-Marie Lagrange, an astronomer at France's National Centre for Scientific Research and lead author of a study in Nature Astronomy.
The new planet, b Pictoris c, completes its orbit roughly every 1,200 days. Like its big sister b Pictoris b, discovered by Lagrange and her team in 2009, it is a gassy giant.
Latino voter who backed the GOP for 20 years finally reaches his breaking point after Trump makes racism mainstream again
An Arizona immigration attorney has decided to leave the Republican party after 20 years because of the GOP's inability to rein in President Donald Trump's racist impulses, reports Fox 12.
Yasser Sanchez, a volunteer and donor for the Republican party, explained why he feels betrayed by the GOP.
"I didn't vote for Trump but still stayed with the Republican Party," Sanchez said. "I can no longer stand by and wait for the storm that is Trumpism to go by to feel comfortable defending a party that crazily doesn't want brown people or minorities in it."