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May 2, 2019
Another child death in custody
A 16 year-old boy from Guatemala died yesterday at a hospital in Driscoll, Texas, days after being transferred from an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelter. The shelter has not been identified. The boy, whose name has not been released, had undergone emergency surgery to treat a brain infection. He crossed into the United States near El Paso and was detained by border patrol in mid-April, before being transferred to ORR custody. According to border patrol, the boy showed no signs of health concerns prior to being handed over to ORR.
He is the third child to die in custody this year.
More on this story here.
Yes, the Trump administration is still separating children
Though Trump has celebrated his own role in ending the practice of separating children from family members at the border - a practice that pre-dates Trump, but one he turned into an expansive deterrence strategy at the southern border - in reality it never stopped. Trump’s executive order to end the policy last June, was undertaken, not from new found moral fortitude by the president, but was required by a federal judge who blocked the program and required the administration to reunite the children with families (many are still waiting). A report from USAToday:
From the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to the Southern California coast, the Trump administration carries on in separating migrant families at rates that alarm immigration attorneys and advocates, even though a federal judge has barred family separations as a systemic policy.
Separations have slowed significantly since a federal judge in San Diego ordered the administration to halt the practice in June 2018. But U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw allowed separations to persist in rare, specific circumstances, and the Trump administration has exploited those openings at a worrying clip, according to groups that work with migrants along the border.
"We are alarmed," said Jennifer Nagda, policy director at the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, a Chicago-based national human rights group. "In March and April, we again saw a notable increase."
Read the full story.
DNA Tests at the Southern Border?
The Department of Homeland Security is launching a pilot program to require DNA tests of some families crossing the southern border. The claimed purpose is to verify that people traveling with children are actually related to those children. The program is nevertheless wrought with privacy and civil liberties concerns - and if expanded would no doubt create further delays at the border. The pilot program is designed to evaluate the DNA testing technology - it will certainly be a huge contract for Colorado based ANDE Corporation, the company making the Rapid DNA test if approved for general use.
Details on the program here.