Federal officials released new arrest data on December 10th that indicates Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have taken over 170 individuals into custody as they showed up at detention centers to claim custody of separated migrant children.
Initial reports indicate that at least 100 of the suspects arrested had no previous criminal history, but all individuals arrested were undocumented immigrants. The arrests occurred from July to November, and they all happened after the individual applied to take one of the migrant children out of government custody. Each potential sponsor was subject to an ICE-based background check and fingerprint scan. About 61 suspects were described as “criminal aliens” with arrest records according to ICE officials.
Some advocate groups are arguing that an adult’s immigration status shouldn’t be a factor when considering whether to give custody of a child to the person. Statistics indicate that about 80 percent of potential sponsors are in the United States illegally. In September, Democrats attempted to block this unsettling practice, but the legislation has not yet passed. The bill, entitled Families Not Facilities Act, was put together by Senators Kamala Harris and Ron Wyden.
These newest revelations are concerning when considering the overwhelming number of unaccompanied minors who are currently detained in the United States. Experts suggest that the number of migrant children in government custody has reached a historical peak. The latest numbers, which are from November 2018, revealed that an astonishing 14,000 children are currently being detained throughout the nation. With so many potential sponsors being arrested, it’s unclear what will become of the youngsters.