Watchdog confirms botched family reunifications kept migrant children waiting in vans overnight

Recently, the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that illegal migrant children who had been separated from their families were left waiting in vehicles for hours while waiting to be reunited.

Previously, it was reported that in 2018, children were left waiting in the parking space of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Port Isabel, Texas, following a breakdown in logistics and communication between ICE and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, which was dealing with the children.

The minors were part of nearly 3000 kids ordered by a judge to be reunited with their families after they were separated by the “zero tolerance” policy back in 2018. 

According to the inspector general, 73 migrant kids were left waiting between 10 and 41 hours before they were permitted to reunite with their families, who at the time were being held in the Port Isabel facility.

His report claimed that the wait times were due to the HHS Office of Refugee Settlement and ICE having “fundamentally different understandings about the timing and pace of reunifications.”

In their defense, ICE responded to the inspector general, saying the following: 

“it remains committed to ensuring the appropriate care of all individuals in its custody.”

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