Evangelical Organizations Urge Trump Administration to Stop Using Coronavirus Pandemic to Deport Unaccompanied Migrant Children

FILE PHOTO: A man plays gives children rocks to play with inside an enclosure, where they are being held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), after crossing the border between Mexico and the United States illegally and turning themselves in to request asylum, in El Paso, Texas, U.S., March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

Over a dozen prominent evangelical charities and organizations are calling on Ivanka Trump to pressure the administration to stop using the pandemic to suspend legal safeguards for unaccompanied migrant children and allowing them to be housed in hotels and deported.

In a letter sent to the president’s daughter and presidential adviser Monday, the leaders of 16 evangelical networks, institutions and organizations urged the 38-year-old to “do everything within your influence” to ensure that the Trump administration once again enforces provisions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act related to unaccompanied children.

The bipartisan 2008 law governs how migrant children who are not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian when apprehended at the U.S. border are treated by federal agencies.

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The law mandates that unaccompanied migrant children who might be vulnerable to trafficking be transferred to the custody of the Department Health and Human Services so they can be placed with care providers until a family member or sponsor can be identified.

But in March, the Department of Homeland Security suspended the legislation’s protections and cited public health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic as justification for doing so.

“Instead of being referred to the custody of HHS, which has trained capacity to care for traumatized, vulnerable children, unaccompanied children are being summarily expelled to their countries of origin, sometimes after brief, unregulated stays in hotels,” the evangelical leaders wrote in the letter to Trump. “These children are returned to situations where, tragically, many are at high risk of trafficking, violence and exploitation.”

“We are writing to urge that you do everything within your influence to ensure that the provisions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act related to unaccompanied children are once again enforced.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith

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