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House Report: CBP Detained Migrant Children Longer than Legally Permitted

A group of Central American migrants is questioned about their childrens’ health after surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol Agents south of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in El Paso, Texas, March 6, 2019. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

A House report published Friday said U.S. Customs and Border Protection has detained hundreds of migrant children for longer than it is legally allowed to.

Of children who were separated from their parents, at least 241 were detained in Border Patrol facilities longer than the legal limit of 72 hours, according to the Committee on Oversight and Reform report, which contains data on at least 2,648 such children. The report also alleges that 18 infants and toddlers under the age of two years old, including nine children under one, had been separated from their parents after the families entered the country illegally.

The Committee said at least 679 children were detained with or without their parents for between six and ten weeks, well above the legal limit of 20 days. At least 30 children separated under the Trump administration’s now-abandoned “zero tolerance” immigration-enforcement policy have not been reunited with their parents.

“The Trump Administration has not been candid with the American people about its purpose in separating children,” the report claims. “The records obtained by the Committee indicate that the Trump Administration separated children unnecessarily—even under its own rationale—causing lengthy delays to reunifications and separations that continue to this day.”

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