On Thursday, the Trump administration announced that almost half of the children who were five years old or younger and separated from adults at the U.S. border couldn’t be reunited with them because many of the adults were violent criminals, and some of the adults weren’t even the children’s parents.
According to the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, 46 of the 103 children are “ineligible” to be reunited with the adults. The departments added that 11 of the adults have serious criminal histories, some of which include charges for child cruelty, kidnaping, murder, human smuggling, domestic violence and narcotics-related crime. One man is wanted for murder in Guatemala, according to Chris Meekins, Chief of Staff, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services; seven others were “determined not to be a parent” at all, three of whom were found out through DNA testing.
As the Daily Mail reports, “Meekins described one adult who said he was a parent ‘right up until the time of a DNA swab,’ and then retracted his claim. Authorities determined that one potential child sponsor was alleged to have abused the child he was trying to claim. Another told the government that if his child were returned to him, he planned to house the youngster with an adult who has been charged with sex abuse of a young girl.”
Twelve of the problematic adults have already been deported. Meekins stated, ‘We don’t have the legal authority to bring those individuals back into the country for reunification purposes. have no lawful right to be here.”
A federal judge in San Diego has ordered the government to reunite all 103 children under five who were separated from the adults they came with at the border.