/ Modified jun 19, 2018 3:04 p.m.

Questions Remain as 2,342 Children Separated From Parents at Border

Border Patrol says it's up to sector chiefs to determine cutoff ages for the separation of children from parents.

EUA U.S. sign A sign pointing in the direction of the U.S. at a port of entry in Nogales, Mexico.
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In the last several weeks, the administration took 2,342 children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. They labeled the kids as unaccompanied minors, and housed them with Health and Human Services.

Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent Brian Hastings said among the reasons the administration has argued to separate children from their parents was concern that child smugglers were pretending to be the parents.

"From October until April 2018, we’ve had 148 cases of fraud with 301 aliens involved," he said.

Health and Human Services' Steve Wagner is tasked with finding places for those kids to live while in custody. He didn't know how many children had been reunited, citing the newness of the plan.

"I don’t know how many of the separated kids have been placed or reunited with parents. This policy is relatively new. We are still working with parents to unify kids with their parents after adjudication," he said.

The Border Patrol’s Hastings said sector chiefs, like those who head the Tucson, Yuma and El Paso sectors, are responsible for determining the age at which children can stay with their parents in custody.

The Tucson Sector, Arizona’s largest, hasn’t responded to questions about what age it is using as a cutoff for separation.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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