This Spring close to 3,000 children were separated at their border from their parents by U.S. Immigration authorities before U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw rules last week that the Trump administration had until July 10 to reunite migrant children under the age of five with their families and until July 26 to reunite the rest.
Bethany Christian Services is one of the organizations housing some of the forcibly separated children in its’ facilities. According to Chris Palusky, President and CEO, Bethany is working to ensure every child is reunited with their family. Two different government entities are involved in the judicial and reunification processes for the children and the families, according to Palusky.
“Bethany will not rest until every child is reunited with its family. DHS they are handling the parents , and HHS is handling the children. They are not always linked and it creates delays in people being able to have their day in court”
Donna Abbot, Director of Refuge and Immigrant Services claims Bethany is housing a total of 7 children under the age of five who were separated at the border and they will all be reunited with their families today.
“The children are under the age of five, that the children are being reunified with parent and that these children are in our programs in Michigan and Maryland. Many will be reunified when the parent is released from detention so an ICE officer will be bring that family to an undisclosed location and then we will bring the child to that location and the reunification will happen there under ICE custody.”
Bethany is urging congress and the administration to speed up reunifications, find alternatives to detention for asylum seekers and provide community based health services for them. Pulasky has said that every family crossing the border requesting asylum is fleeing from violence and they should not face further trauma within the US.
“Its never okay to separate a child from its family when they are seeking asylum.”
Last week, according to Alex Azar, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, said there were 3000 children who were separated at the border. Today Bethany Christian Services helps reunite seven children under the age of five with their families. The number of children over the age of five under their care is under 100, and they have until July 26th to reunite these minors.
For WGVU News, Michelle Jokisch Polo