Approximately 8,800 unaccompanied children have been quickly expelled from the US along the Mexico border under a pandemic-related measure that effectively ended asylum, authorities said Friday.
The Trump administration has expelled more than 159,000 people since the United States Centers for Disease Regulate and Prevention emergency order took effect in March, a figure that also includes more than 7,600 adults and children who crossed the border in families.
The figures on children were reported for the first time in a declaration by Raul Ortiz, the Border Patrol’s deputy chief, as a part of the administration’s appeal of an order to stop housing children in hotels.
The administration “immediately” expelled most children and families to Mexico but more than 2,200 unaccompanied children and 600 people who came in families were held until flights could be arranged to go back home, Ortiz said.
The administration asked the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a ruling final week that found use of hotels skirted “essential humanitarian protections.”
US District Pass judgement on Dolly Gee in Los Angeles ruled that the use of hotels for long-term detention violated a two-decade-old settlement governing remedy of children in custody. She ordered border agencies to stop placing children in hotels by Tuesday.
Justice Branch attorneys argued that settlement doesn’t apply right through the public health emergency and that hotels were appropriate.
“While in these hotels, the government provides minors with supervision by specialists, recreation, amenities, and protective measures against Covid-19,” the attorneys wrote.
Before the pandemic, unaccompanied children were sent to state-licensed shelters operated by the Branch of Health and Human Services and products and steadily released to members of the family while seeking asylum.