Lawsuits Say Migrant Children Being Used to ‘Catch’ Other Immigrants

By Shani Saxon Jan 25, 2019

At least four federal lawsuits have been filed against the Trump administration alleging an abuse of the system when it comes to minors seeking asylum and their family members.

NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly, co-host of All Things Considered, spoke to NPR’s southwest national news correspondent, John Burnett, on Wednesday (January 23) about these lawsuits, particularly one filed by the Southern  Poverty Law Center that alleges a corrupt alliance between the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ORR is in charge of caring for child migrants, and the organization is accused of working with ICE to pursue those minors’ family members of undocumented status. According to Burnett, "The lawsuit says when family members step forward to take a migrant child into their household, which is what the law intends, deportation agents will arrest those sponsors if they’re here illegally." He continued, "It’s had the effect of scaring other family members from coming forward, which means the kids end up staying longer in these controversial ORR shelters. Some have now been there since last summer."

Listen to the full conversation below.