- by cnn
- 29 Sep 2023
US Border Patrol separated some migrant children from their parents while the families were in custody amid overcrowding in facilities, according to a Friday court filing.
The filing, which is part of a years-long court case, underscores the humanitarian and logistical challenges facing the Biden administration following an increase in migrant families crossing the US-Mexico border. The uptick has strained already-overwhelmed facilities that are not intended to hold people, particularly families, for prolonged periods, and, in limited instances, required authorities to temporarily put children and parents in separate holding areas.
Over the course of site visits this summer, Dr. Paul Wise, a pediatrician, found that authorities at a border facility in Donna, Texas, separated children from parents while in custody. Some of the children were as young as 8 years old.
"Separated children included girls separated from mothers and boys separated from their fathers. None of the interviewed children had visited with their parents since they were separated, including children who had been separated for 4 days," Wise wrote, adding that children "were not aware of any protocols that would allow them to request a visit with their parents."
Border Patrol officials cited overcrowding at the short-term facilities as the reason for the separations. Families, single adults, and unaccompanied children are generally held in different holding pods.
In a statement, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson maintained the agency prioritizes keeping families together "at every step of the immigration process and have protocols to that end."
"CBP appreciates Dr. Wise's oversight; we will continue to review the report and associated recommendations and will respond as appropriate," the statement said.
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