Illegal immigrants in Texas who have been separated from their children are being given a choice between trying to remain in the United States illegally and agreeing to be deported so they can be reunited, according to a new report.
The report in the Texas Tribune said the offer was being made to about 20 men at the IAH Polk County Secure Adult Detention Center.
The newspaper based its report on the story of a man the newspaper said was from Honduras and who said he paid smugglers $7,000 to bring him into the country illegally along with his 6-year-old daughter. The newspaper did not use his real name. The man said he signed a document after being told he would be reunited with his daughter at the airport, the newspaper said. He said he was told he would be back in Honduras within two weeks.
The newspaper’s report could not be verified.
According to the Tribune, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Carl Rusnok said Saturday evening that the agency “cannot research vague allegations,” but would investigate specific cases. The Tribune said it declined to give him the name of the man who said he agreed to be deported.
“It is unprofessional and unfair for a media outlet to publish such allegations without providing names, dates and locations so that these allegations can be properly researched,” Rusnok said, according to the Tribune.
The newspaper said the immigrant it interviewed said he had acted out of “desperation.”
“I was told I would not be deported without my daughter,” the illegal immigrant, given the pseudonym of “Carlos” by the newspaper, was quoted as saying.
He said he signed the paper “out of desperation… but the truth is I can’t go back to Honduras; I need help.” He said he now wanted to revoke the agreement to return.
Federal officials are seeking new ways to house families now that the family separation policy that was conducted under past administrations was ended last week by President Donald Trump’s executive order.
Officials are seeking 15,000 beds for families being detained, as well as 20,000 beds on military bases for unaccompanied children, CBS reported.
Trump has wrestled with the current immigration system in an effort to increase border security. On Friday, at an event for families whose children were killed by illegal immigrants, Trump spoke about his bedrock philosophy on immigration.
“Our first duty, and our highest loyalty, is to the citizens of the United States,” Trump said.
“We want safety in our country. We want border security. We don’t want people in our country that don’t go through a process. We want people in our country based on merit. Not based on a draw, where other countries put their absolute worst in a bin and they start drawing people.
“Do you think they’re going to put their good ones? They don’t put their good ones. They put their bad ones. And then, when they commit crimes, we’re so surprised,” Trump said, according to a White House media pool report.
“We will not rest until our border is secure, our citizens are safe, and we finally end the immigration crisis once and for all. We want safety in our country. We want strong borders. We want people to come in, but we want them to come in the proper way,” Trump said.
On Wednesday, the day he issued his order ending family separation, Trump noted that the policy had been in existence long before his administration.
“It’s been going on for 60 years. Sixty years. Nobody has taken care of it. Nobody has had the political courage to take care of it. But we’re going to take care of it. But it’s been going on — it’s been going on for a long time,” he said.
Trump said ending family separation was not the same as backing down on his core goals.
“No, no, the border is just as tough, but we do want to keep families together. This is a problem. If you look at some of those horrible scenes from a few years ago — to me, they were horrible scenes. They were just terrible. And that was during the Obama administration,” he said.
“Other administrations have had the same thing. We’re keeping the family together. And so this is it,” he said, according to the pool report of the event where he signed the order.
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