The piece is in contrast to the hardline policy push by Trump’s anti-immigration assistant Stephen Miller’s efforts to make it difficult for those detained….
Homeland Security people have been stung by media focuses on the hardships, illness and heath issue that children have suffered while in the custody of the government….
Homeland bosses have been brought in before Congress to answer questions about their humanitarian efforts in handling those in their care…
If there is a ‘National Emergency’?
It’s about the health and safety of those seeking to come to America by foot…..
This cactus forest on the U.S.-Mexico border was quiet one recent day. No mass crossings of migrant families. No sprinters. Just two men caught sneaking into the Arizona desert.
Then U.S. Border Patrol Agent Daniel Hernandez spotted a youth alone under a juniper tree, dressed as if he were headed to church. When the agent approached, the boy quickly surrendered.
“Are you afraid?” Hernandez asked in Spanish. The youth nodded and said his name was Marco and that he was from Guatemala. He was 14 but looked small in an oversize jacket, pressed shirt and pants, and too-large black oxford shoes.
Hernandez lifted his sunglasses to appear less intimidating. He asked Marco who had left him, how he knew where the border was, and whether he carried food and water.
“Are you hungry?” he asked. “When was the last time you ate? Yesterday? You want a cookie?”
The deaths of two Guatemalan children in December and the massive groups of Central American families crossing the border are increasingly transforming the Border Patrol’s role from national security to humanitarian relief, even as President Trump declares the situation a national emergency.
Well over half the people taken into custody in recent months have been parents and children, with hundreds surrendering at a time, often in isolated locations. In other cases, youths such as Marco are dropped off by themselves. More than 1,800 Central American parents and children, a record high, crossed illegally last week on the day Trump went to El Paso to tout the need for a border wall.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen promised “extraordinary protective measures” following the deaths of Jakelin Caal, 7, and Felipe Gómez Alonzo, 8, who crossed into the United States with their fathers. Since then, the federal government says it has dramatically increased its medical staff at the border.
A Mexican man detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protectiondied this week at a medical facility, however. And advocacy groups warn that the remote areas where families are crossing, and the agency’s crowded detention facilities, still pose serious risks — especially for young children.
Medical teams from the Coast Guard, the Department of Health and Human Services, and new private contractors have been triaging and examining migrant children on the border. Border agents, hundreds of whom are also paramedics, are patrolling more far-flung areas, backed up by helicopters, buses and SUVs. The U.S. military has also helped with the evaluation and treatment of migrants.
“We’ve been adapting to these new realities,” said a senior adviser for Customs and Border Protection who was allowed to speak only on the condition of anonymity….
image….Border Patrol agents detain a 14-year-old from Guatemala who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border alone in January. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)