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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Bethany Christian Services responds to reports from DHS to deport all minors seeking asylum

U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to El Paso Sector, El Paso Station intercept a group of approximately 127 migrants.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
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Last month, the Trump administration ordered asylum seekers deported without reviewing their claims as a step to avoid further spread of coronavirus. At the time, officials said that unaccompanied children would be exempt from this order. However, last week, the Department of Homeland Security began applying the policy to children seeking asylum in the United States.

This change in practice has officials at Bethany Christian Services concerned. In a statement, they believe the practice is a violation of the children’s legal rights.

"We are deeply concerned with the U.S. government’s decision to swiftly deport children amid the COVID-19 pandemic to the countries they fled from without due process or a trafficking screening.”

And several democrats in the U.S. House and Senate Judiciary panels agree with Bethany’s assessment. That’s according to a letter they wrote to Homeland Security Authorities last Monday. The letters states that according to the Trafficking Victim Reauthorization Act, unaccompanied children must be processed and cared for upon arrival at the border.

Bethany Christian Services says it is prepared to meet the mental and physical health needs of children seeking asylum at the border right now.