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 An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer frisks an immigrant at a processing center after arresting him in New York City. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

'Evil': Worst Fears Realized as ICE Arrests Dozens of Family or Guardians Attempting to Retrieve Children From Detention

"If they can't separate families, then lock them up, gut asylum standards, and, now, arrest family members who come forward to sponsor loved ones."

Julia Conley

Confirming the fears of many immigrant families who have declined to step forward and claim children who are being held in detention facilities, a new report shows that more than 40 people have been arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after doing just that.

CNN reported Thursday that between July and early September, at least 41 people have been detained after attempting to retrieve their young family members from government-run detention facilities, which are now at 92 percent capacity with more than 13,000 children in custody.

Just 12 of the arrests were of people with criminal records, while 70 percent of those detained were accused only of being undocumented immigrants.

The report comes just after the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) revealed a proposal to reallocate agency funds so that more children can be held in detention centers—as fewer children are being released due to their families' fears of arrest.

This past summer, after being forced to end its practice of separating undocumented children from their parents following international outcry, the Trump administration revealed a new tactic for cracking down on immigrant communities: requiring family members to submit to background checks and finger-printing before detained children could be released into their care.

The new system is a transparent method to find and detain as many undocumented immigrants as possible, critics say—and one that forces HHS to operate as a federal law enforcement agency.

HHS "has a hard enough job to do when they can be focused on being a family-serving organization charged with reuniting children with their family, and when that mission is compromised by making them collect information for the purposes of immigration enforcement, that runs contrary to their primary mission and it's contrary to the best interests of children," Maria Cancian, a former HHS deputy assistant secretary, told CNN.


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