sunny.png
Sunday October 20th, 2019 3:05PM

Governor wants answers on 4 kids separated from families

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's governor says at least four children from his state were recently separated from their parents by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and wrote Monday to demand the agency halt the practice until it has a plan to ensure the welfare of children.

Gov. Tom Wolf asked Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan to account for all children separated from their parents this year in Pennsylvania and to tell him how long they were kept apart and about any steps the federal government took to ensure their well-being.

Wolf said in the letter that the four children are U.S. citizens and come from at least three migrant families. He said that "information relayed" to state officials indicated federal agents did not make sure that the children had adequate temporary guardianship.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman in Philadelphia said in an email that any response to Wolf's letter "would come through the appropriate channels."

Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott said the separations occurred in Philadelphia in late July, and at least two of the kids have since been reunited with their parents.

He said the administration has been working to get more details about what happened in Philadelphia, including exactly when and where the separations occurred.

"We know that at least two, their parents were eventually released, and the families were reunited," Abbott said. "But I don't believe on the other two we had any finality of the result."

The emailed statement from Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency "exercises discretion" when arresting someone with children to ensure someone is available to care for the children, "consistent with local, state and federal law enforcement conventions and protocols."

In June 2018 — days after President Donald Trump retreated amid an international uproar — a federal judge ordered that the practice of splitting up families at the border be halted except in limited circumstances, such as threats to child safety. The judge left individual decisions to the administration's discretion.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement's practices regarding children drew scrutiny again last week, after 680 migrants were arrested at seven Mississippi chicken processing plants.

Trump said Friday the Mississippi raids served as "a very good deterrent" and defended the lack of sufficient advance preparation for dealing with the children whose parents were detained.

"The reason is because you have to go in, you can't let anybody know, otherwise when you get there, nobody will be there," Trump said.

Wolf, a Democrat, told McAleenan that state government is willing to help to place asylum seekers in communities and make sure any separated children are adequately cared for.

Wolf said children can't be left to fend for themselves "while your department prioritizes overly aggressive enforcement over their health and safety."

"This is absolutely irresponsible. Even worse, we are not aware that proper child welfare protocols — or even common sense — were used to ensure safe and legal temporary guardianship for these minor children," Wolf wrote.

After the Mississippi raids, three Democratic congressmen sought more information about how many parents were separated from their children and whether any remain separated.

Wolf told McAleenan that putting children through separation was likely unjustified unless both parents were a threat to the children or others.

"Was this the case? If not, this is as unnecessary as it is callous," Wolf wrote.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Autopsy of Epstein performed, but details yet to be released
The details of how Jeffrey Epstein died in his Manhattan jail cell over the weekend have yet to be released, but medical officials have performed an autopsy on the high-profile inmate accused of sexually abusing underage girls
11:30AM ( 3 minutes ago )
Governor wants answers on 4 kids separated from families
Pennsylvania's governor says at least four children from his state were recently separated from their parents by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
11:30AM ( 3 minutes ago )
Italian politicians ponder when to hold no-confidence vote
Leading politicians in Italy's Senate are hastily returning from their summer vacations to determine when a crucial no-confidence vote will be held on Premier Giuseppe Conte's populist coalition
11:18AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Troops let Muslims walk to mosques in Indian-ruled Kashmir
Troops in India-ruled Kashmir allowed some Muslims to walk to mosques alone or in pairs to pray for Eid al-Adha during a security lockdown that still forced most people to stay indoors on the Islamic holy day
10:55AM ( 39 minutes ago )
Trump overhauling enforcement of Endangered Species Act
The Trump administration is releasing what's expected to be major changes to how it enforces the Endangered Species Act
10:54AM ( 39 minutes ago )
New rules can deny green cards for immigrants on food stamps
Trump administration rules that could deny green cards to immigrants if they use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance are going into effect
10:53AM ( 40 minutes ago )
AP National News
Autopsy of Epstein performed, but details yet to be released
The details of how Jeffrey Epstein died in his Manhattan jail cell over the weekend have yet to be released, but medical officials have performed an autopsy on the high-profile inmate accused of sexually abusing underage girls
11:30AM ( 3 minutes ago )
Italian politicians ponder when to hold no-confidence vote
Leading politicians in Italy's Senate are hastily returning from their summer vacations to determine when a crucial no-confidence vote will be held on Premier Giuseppe Conte's populist coalition
11:18AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Portugal rations gas as tanker drivers strike over pay
Portugal is rationing gas as tanker truck drivers begin an open-ended strike over pay
11:16AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Firefighter was dad to 3 of 5 kids killed in day care blaze
Officials say a volunteer firefighter was the father of three of five children who died in a blaze at an all-night child care center in Pennsylvania
11:13AM ( 20 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump administration defends green card rules
The Trump administration claims its effort to refocus the US immigration system on merit is not a rejection of long-held American values
11:04AM ( 30 minutes ago )