Governor wants answers on 4 kids separated from families

FILE - In a Friday, June 28, 2019 file photo, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks during a news conference in Harrisburg, Pa. Wilf says four children in his state were recently separated from their parents by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and he’s demanding a stop to the practice until there’s a plan to ensure children’s welfare. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf wrote Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019 seeking an accounting of all children separated from their parents this year in Pennsylvania, how long they were apart and steps taken to ensure their well-being. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania's governor says at least four children from his state were recently separated from their parents by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and wrote Monday to demand the agency halt the practice until it has a plan to ensure the welfare of children.

Gov. Tom Wolf asked Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan to account for all children separated from their parents this year in Pennsylvania and to tell him how long they were kept apart and about any steps the federal government took to ensure their well-being.

Wolf said in the letter that the four children are U.S. citizens and come from at least three migrant families. He said that "information relayed" to state officials indicated federal agents did not make sure that the children had adequate temporary guardianship.

Messages seeking comment were left with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement press office in Washington and an agency spokesman in Philadelphia on Monday.

Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott said the separations occurred in Philadelphia in late July, and at least two of the kids have since been reunited with their parents.

He said the administration has been working to get more details about what happened in Philadelphia, including exactly when and where the separations occurred.

"We know that at least two, their parents were eventually released, and the families were reunited," Abbott said. "But I don't believe on the other two we had any finality of the result."

In June 2018 — days after President Donald Trump retreated amid an international uproar — a federal judge ordered that the practice of splitting up families at the border be halted except in limited circumstances, such as threats to child safety. The judge left individual decisions to the administration's discretion.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement's practices regarding children drew scrutiny again last week, after 680 migrants were arrested at seven Mississippi chicken processing plants.

Trump said Friday the Mississippi raids served as "a very good deterrent" and defended the lack of sufficient advance preparation for dealing with the children whose parents were detained.

"The reason is because you have to go in, you can't let anybody know, otherwise when you get there, nobody will be there," Trump said.

Wolf, a Democrat, told McAleenan that state government is willing to help to place asylum seekers in communities and make sure any separated children are adequately cared for.

Wolf said children can't be left to fend for themselves "while your department prioritizes overly aggressive enforcement over their health and safety."

"This is absolutely irresponsible. Even worse, we are not aware that proper child welfare protocols — or even common sense — were used to ensure safe and legal temporary guardianship for these minor children," Wolf wrote.

After the Mississippi raids, three Democratic congressmen sought more information about how many parents were separated from their children and whether any remain separated.

Wolf told McAleenan that putting children through separation was likely unjustified unless both parents were a threat to the children or others.

"Was this the case? If not, this is as unnecessary as it is callous," Wolf wrote.

People also read these

2 injured, fire contained on docked Tahoe paddle...

Aug 17, 2016

Fire ripped through the second deck of a docked tourist cruise boat under repair at Lake Tahoe on...

Amy Schumer opens book tour for essay collection

Aug 17, 2016

Actress and comedian Amy Schumer has launched the book tour for her collection of very personal...

Lava meets the sea, puts on fire-spitting show in...

Aug 18, 2016

For the first time in three years, lava from a volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has reached the...

Popular Yellowstone River closes after thousands...

Aug 19, 2016

Montana is indefinitely closing a 183-mile stretch of the Yellowstone River and hundreds of miles...

Campaign, party officials insist Trump getting...

Aug 21, 2016

Top GOP and Trump campaign officials say Trump is getting back on track after some of the most...

Sign up now!

About Us

In The Headline sought to bring professionalism back into journalism, bringing you only the most exclusive and the most impactive news from all over the globe.

Contact us: sales[at]intheheadline.com