Feds Will Now Target Relatives Who Smuggled In Children
Back to enforcing the law.
The Trump administration said Friday it will begin arresting parents and other relatives who hire smugglers to bring their children into the U.S., a move that sent a shudder through immigrant communities nationwide.
The new “surge initiative” by Immigration and Customs Enforcement marks the latest get-tough approach to immigration by the federal government since President Donald Trump took office. The government says the effort aims to break up human smuggling operations, including arresting people who pay coyotes to get children across the U.S. border.
That marks a sharp departure from policies in place under President Barack Obama’s administration, during which time tens of thousands of young people fleeing spiraling gang and drug violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador crossed the border. The children are then placed with “sponsors” — typically parents, close relatives or family friends — who care for the minors while they attend school and their cases go through the immigration court system.
The government now says it plans to arrest the sponsors.
“ICE aims to disrupt and dismantle end-to-end the illicit pathways used by transnational criminal organizations and human smuggling facilitators,” agency spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez said. “The sponsors who have placed children directly into harm’s way by entrusting them to violent criminal organizations will be held accountable.”