The Trump administration, yet again, can’t account for nearly 1,500 unaccompanied migrant children, or kids who came to the U.S. by themselves, that were released from Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody and then placed with U.S. sponsors this year, the New York Times reports. “In findings that lawmakers described as troubling, Senate investigators said the department could not determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,488 out of 11,254 children the agency had placed with sponsors in 2018, based on follow-up calls from April 1 to June 30.” If this all sounds familiar, you’re right.
Last May, ORR officials were blasted by senators for failing to track nearly 1,500 migrant kids—another group of children totally different from the children in the New York Times’ latest report—that were placed with U.S. sponsors. Now, while it’s true that the administration has been wholly unfit to care for migrant kids, it can also be true that these sponsors and families may have intentionally cut off communication with Trump officials as a matter of survival.
“In September 2017, then-ICE acting Director Tom Homan said at a public event that his agency would arrest undocumented people who came forward to care for the children, something previous administrations avoided,” CNN reported, with Health and Human Services (HHS), which runs ORR, partnering with ICE “to more heavily scrutinize adults who come forward, including fingerprinting. Now as a result of these roadblocks, a record 12,800 migrant kids are in custody, including more than 200 separated kids who have yet to be reunited with their parents despite a judge’s order.