Hundreds of Immigrant Children Have Been Taken From Parents at U.S. Border -NY Times

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Immigrants after crossing the border near McAllen, Tex., this month. The Trump administration has in the past said it was considering taking children from their parents as a way to deter migrants from coming here.CreditLoren Elliott/Reuters

On Feb. 20, a young woman named Mirian arrived at the Texas border carrying her 18-month-old son. They had fled their home in Honduras through a cloud of tear gas, she told border agents, and needed protection from the political violence there.

She had hoped she and her son would find refuge together. Instead, the agents ordered her to place her son in the back seat of a government vehicle, she said later in a sworn declaration to a federal court. They both cried as the boy was driven away.

For months, members of Congress have been demanding answers about how many families are being separated as they are processed at stations along the southwest border, in part because the Trump administration has in the past said it was considering taking children from their parents as a way to deter migrants from coming here.

Officials have repeatedly declined to provide data on how many families have been separated, but suggested that the number was relatively low.

But new data reviewed by The New York Times shows that more than 700 children have been taken from adults claiming to be their parents since October, including more than 100 children under the age of 4.

The data was prepared by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services that takes custody of children who have been removed from migrant parents. Senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security, which processes migrants at the border, initially denied that the numbers were so high. But after they were confirmed to The Times by three federal officials who work closely with these cases, a spokesman for the health and human services department on Friday acknowledged in a statement that there were “approximately 700.”

Homeland security officials said the agency does not separate families at the border for deterrence purposes. “As required by law, D.H.S. must protect the best interests of minor children crossing our borders, and occasionally this results in separating children from an adult they are traveling with if we cannot ascertain the parental relationship, or if we think the child is otherwise in danger,” a spokesman for the agency said in a statement.

But Trump administration officials have suggested publicly in the past that they were, indeed, considering a deterrence policy. Last year, John F. Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff, floated the idea while he was serving as homeland security secretary.

If approved, the plan would have closed detention facilities that are designed to house families and replaced them with separate shelters for adults and children. The White House supported the move and convened a group of officials from several federal agencies to consider its merits. But the Department of Homeland Security has said the policy was never adopted.


Cruz 100th homer at Texas as Mariners beat Rangers 9-7

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Texas — Nelson Cruz homered for the 100th time at his former home, Robinson Cano hit a tiebreaking shot and the Seattle Mariners held on for a 9-7 win over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.

Cano’s two-run homer in the seventh made it 8-6 and capped a four-run outburst against reliever Alex Claudio (0-1), who gave up hits to all four batters he faced. Mitch Haniger also went deep later in the inning against Chris Martin.

Cruz hit a two-run home estimated at 453 feet in the fourth, which came one pitch after another towering drive down the left-field line was ruled foul — and stayed that way after an umpire replay review. Of his 100 homers at the Rangers ballpark, 92 came when Cruz played for Texas from 2006-13.

Seattle’s comeback spoiled 44-year-old Bartolo Colon’s bid for his first win with the Rangers, and 21st in his career against the Mariners. Colon, who covered first base for the first two outs in the fifth, exited after 5 2/3 innings with a 5-4 lead.

Chasen Bradford (2-0) pitched two innings in relief of Seattle starter James Paxton, who struck out six but gave up five runs in four innings. Edwin Diaz got the final four outs for his AL-leading eighth save even while walking three batters and giving up a run in the ninth.

Texas, which lost the opener of the three-game set 6-2 Friday after giving up a four-run ninth, has lost its first four home series. The Rangers are 2-10 at home, including six straight losses.

Colon retired the first 21 batters at Houston in his previous start six nights earlier. He never flirted with perfection against the Mariners after Dee Gordon singled to lead off the game after the start was delayed 1 hour, 25 minutes because of rain.

But the speedy Gordon was retired on a 3-1 putout in the fifth, a batter after Colon also covered first base to get out Ben Gamel.


Mariners: INF Ryon Healy (sprained right ankle) did some early work Saturday during his rehab at Double-A Arkansas after homering in Friday night’s game. He could be back with the Mariners within a few days.

Rangers: CF Delino DeShields was the DH for Double-A Frisco on Saturday night to get some more at-bats. Manager Jeff Banister said DeShields, out since March 31, still has some soreness in his left hand since having a broken hamate bone removed.


Seattle is expected to activate Erasmo Ramirez from the 10-day disabled list (strained right lat) for his season debut in the series finale. Marin Perez (1-2, 13.14 ERA), who has allowed at least nine hits in all three of his starts, takes the mound for the Rangers.