ICE Director Defends Policy on Smuggled Children of Illegal Immigrants

Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 11:48 AM

By Lisa Barron

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The director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement is defending the actions of agents who deliver children smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border to their illegal immigrant parents after a federal judge complained.

Texas U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen has said the Obama administration's practice of seeing to it that the children are turned over to their parents is a "dangerous" policy because they are often smuggled across the border through operations connected to drug cartels. The judge argues that continuation of the policy only encourages more illegal immigrants living in the U.S. to have their children brought across the border.

"While the court's comments did not relate specifically to ICE, it is clear that the transportation of unaccompanied children (UAC) by ICE personnel is appropriate and legal," Acting Director John Sandweg wrote in an e-mail to employees on Monday, reports Fox News.

"Although ICE's role in managing the UAC population is very limited, [Enforcement and Removal Operations] personnel are lawfully permitted to transport UACs to a location designated by ORR," he said, referring to the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Statistics released last week showed that the number of children crossing the border has soared recently.

According to the figures, 24,668 unaccompanied children were placed in the care of the resettlement office, nearly double the number from 2012 and quadruple the number in past years.

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