Unable to stop the flow of migrants coming to the border and entering the United States, the current White House has decided to do one of the only things they think they can do – punish the unaccompanied children in federal custody.
English classes, recreational programs and legal aid for unaccompanied minors staying in federal migrant shelters nationwide are cancelled until further notice, supposedly because of budget concerns, according to The Washington Post.
Even soccer has been cancelled by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Anything that is “not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety, including education services, legal services, and recreation” are over, Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Mark Weber told The Post.
However, this change could not be legal. There is a federal court settlement and state-licensing requirements that mandate education and recreation for minors in federal custody. According to The Post, shelter employees are understandably scared that the quality of life and care for the children is about to decline exponentially.
There has been a recent spike in unaccompanied children arriving at the border for asylum and federal officials have said they need $2.9 billion in emergency funding from Congress to expand shelters and care. The program could run out of money in late June.
Children and families fleeing violence and extreme poverty make up almost half of all of the people coming to the border. Children who arrive with or without a parent accounted for nearly 40 percent of U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehensions in May, the latest figures show.
On Wednesday, U.S. authorities said more than 144,000 migrants were taken into custody in May, a 32 percent jump from April and by far the largest one-month arrest total since President Trump took office.