'Almost half the parents of immigrant children below 5 are abusers and kidnappers' - Trump administration
The Justice and Homeland Security Departments on Thursday said that administration has reunited at least 57 minors with their parents out of the 103 children.
President Donald Trump's administration on Thursday released a statement saying that almost half of the children of age five and below — who were separated from their families at the US-Mexico border — cannot be reunited with their parents. The government cited the reason as most of the adults being violent criminals and some lying about being the children's parents, reports state.
President Trump on Tuesday had claimed that human traffickers and illegal immigrants were "using children" to manipulate the immigration system of the country. The Republican also claimed that they were using these children to make it easier for them to enter the United States without papers and continue to stay in the country.
The Justice and Homeland Security Departments on Thursday said that administration reunited at least 57 minors with their parents out of the 103 children in the youngest age group. The departments, however, added that other 46 children were "ineligible."
The agencies said that eleven of the adult, who wanted to be reunited with their children had "serious criminal histor[ies]," including charges or convictions for child cruelty, murder, kidnapping, domestic violence, narcotics-related crime and human trafficking.
Chief of Staff at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services, Chris Meekins, said that one of the men is wanted for murder in Guatemala. He added that seven of the adults were "determined not to be a parent" at all, including three people who were caught through DNA testing, according to the Daily Mail.
Meekins added that one adult went to the extent of maintaining that he was a parent "right up until the time of a DNA swab," and then he retracted his claim, reports state.
The authorities also determined that one of the potential child sponsors was alleged to have abused the child he was attempting to claim. And, at least eleven of the adults are in state or federal custody for other reasons and twelve have already been deported to their countries.
"We don't have the legal authority to bring those individuals back into the country for reunification purposes. They have no lawful right to be here," Meekins said.
The Chief of Staff added that the people who had been deported were asked whether they wanted to take their children along with them but they refused.
Reports state that information about the children between the ages of 5 and 17 will soon be released to a federal judge later on Thursday.
Trump cabinet secretaries, in a joint statement, said: "Our agencies’ careful vetting procedures helped prevent the reunification of children with an alleged murderer, an adult convicted of child cruelty, and adults determined not to be the parent of the child."
Talking about the entire family reunification process, the HHS Secretary Alex Azar, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that "we intend to continue our good faith efforts to reunify families."