Trump Admin ships out 33 kids, without parents, after judge says they can’t

The Trump Timeline

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In the early afternoon, a federal judge issues a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump Administration’s practice of expelling unaccompanied minors back to their home countries.

Later in the afternoon, 33 unaccompanied children are flown to Guatemala despite the judge’s order. ICE officials say they were not informed of the judge’s ruling by DHS.

The administration, specifically Homeland Security and Border Patrol, has expelled 13,000 unaccompanied children from the U.S. since March.

Before the pandemic, unaccompanied children picked up by Border Patrol agents would be sent to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, where they would be housed in shelters as they officially started applying for asylum and waited to be reunited with family members in the US.

The ORR referral process was created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which was signed by then-president George W. Bush in 2008. Under the law, Customs and Border Protection officials are generally required to refer the children within 72 hours to the US refugee agency.

But those referrals dropped precipitously after the CDC’s coronavirus order. Instead, unaccompanied children at the border are turned back immediately to Mexico or held in CBP facilities until a flight can get them out of the country.


In most if not all cases, the U.S. has lost track of or otherwise never determined the identity of the children’s parents.

Expulsions are not the same as deportations. Deportations come after an immigrant goes through the immigration process and is determined to not be legally allowed in the United States. Expulsion means immigrants are forced out of the country without being reviewed for asylum.


Photo: Joseph Gonzalez

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