The feds lost — yes, lost — 1,475 migrant children Corrections & Clarifications: An earlier version of this column mischaracterized the legal status of 1,475 undocumented migrant children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without their parents. Those children were placed in the custody of sponsors screened by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. They are no longer in federal custody. The Trump administration recently announced a new, get-tough policy that will separate parents from their children if the family is caught crossing the border illegally. It was a big news story. So big it overshadowed the fact that the federal government has lost — yes, lost — 1,475 migrant children. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told Congress that within 48 hours of being taken into custody the children are transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services, which finds places for them to stay. “They will be separated from their parent,” said Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. “Just like we do in the United States every day,” Nielsen replied.
Just like in the states, only ... not Except that the states, unlike the federal government, have systems in place to better screen the people who become guardians of the children and much better ways to keep track of those children. That is what happened to 1,475 minors swept up at the border and taken into custody by the federal government. The Office of Refugee Resettlement reported at the end of 2017 that of the 7,000-plus children placed with sponsored individuals, the agency did not know where 1,475 of them were. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said, “It’s just a system that has so many gaps, so many opportunities for these children to fall between the cracks, that we just don’t know what’s going on — how much trafficking or abuse or simply immigration law violations are occurring.”