The canceled programs included all the activities that are not "directly necessary for the protection of life and safety, including education services, legal services, and recreation."
At a time when people are questioning President Trump for having stricter immigration policies, here's something that has now stirred a major controversy. Citing budget constraints, the Trump administration is now canceling English classes, legal aid, and recreational activities like soccer for migrant children in its custody. This comes after the administration claimed that the number of detainees continues to grow every single day at the federal shelters. As reported by the Washington Post.
The publication noted that the White House has decided to stop providing “English classes, recreational programs, and legal aid for unaccompanied minors staying in federal migrant shelters nationwide, saying the immigration influx at the southern border has created critical budget pressures.”
The move comes from the Department of Health and Human Services who informed federal shelters around the US last week that they are canceling the reimbursement for non-essential programs amid budget constraints. The programs included all the activities that are not "directly necessary for the protection of life and safety, including education services, legal services, and recreation."
Psychologically destroy kids. Imagine the language barrier & no one to speak to / on your behalf.— LaSanya Rucker (@sanacardi) June 5, 2019
No one knows your name, no one knows your story..
No one knew you were there.
Cancelled English classes, soccer, legal aid for unaccompanied child migrants https://t.co/thW1FulkPX pic.twitter.com/oSfswkdyCy
The Post also reported that there has been a significant rise in the number of unaccompanied minors at the southern border. Meanwhile, Congress was even asked to keep aside $2.9 billion in emergency funding for the betterment of shelters. Most of the kids found in the shelters have taken refuge after battling violence and poverty in countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. And now they will be devoid of all fun activities.
As expected, the decision to cancel these activities has not gone down well with people with many critics calling it illegal. One among them is Carlos Holguin, a lawyer who worked on creating the best standards of care for children in the shelter homes. He spoke to the publication and said that he would file new legal action "if they go through with it."
"What’s next? Drinking water? Food? Where are they going to stop?" he asked. Meanwhile, on the other hand, Evelyn Stauffer, the spokesperson for the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services has claimed that the increasing number of immigrants has strained ORR's ability to take good care of the children.
She said in a statement, "Additional resources are urgently required to meet the humanitarian needs created by this influx — to both sustain critical child welfare and release operations and increase capacity."
According to Buzzfeed News, almost 11,500 unaccompanied children have been apprehended by the border agents in May. This is a significant rise from 8,900 kids apprehended this April. And that's not all. The border agents had even caught 386 unaccompanied kids last month at the ports of entry. The numbers are almost similar to the month before.
Denying the most vulnerable the right to education, the right to legal representation, the right to play, not to mention their right to liberty. He, and any person who stands by and watches this happen - US citizen or otherwise - should be ashamed .https://t.co/bK0abIsncS— Claire Fenton-Glynn (@CFentonGlynn) June 6, 2019
According to Jessica Bolter, a research assistant at the Migration Policy Institute, she said the number of unaccompanied children taken into custody between ports of entry in May was the highest number ever on record. The decision to suspend these activities comes around the same time as the ongoing Scott Warren trial. Scott, a humanitarian aid worker, was arrested for merely providing shelter to migrants trekking through the desert.