BREAKING NEWS Sheriff's office lifts all August Complex evacuation orders for western Glenn County Full Story
BREAKING NEWS Bear Fire: Containment now at 43% Full Story
BREAKING NEWS Chico Police searching for a bear spotted in Bidwell Park Full Story
BREAKING NEWS Forest Service says a firefighter has died fighting the El Dorado Fire Full Story

Watchdog to investigate DHS family separations in immigration custody

The Department of Homeland Security watchdog will investigate whether the Trump administration is im...

Posted: Apr 17, 2018 7:16 AM
Updated: Apr 17, 2018 7:16 AM

The Department of Homeland Security watchdog will investigate whether the Trump administration is improperly separating families in immigration custody, according to a letter the department's inspector general sent to the office of Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois.

The inspector general will look into whether the agency is separating the children of asylum seekers from their parents, the letter says.

The review comes after Durbin led a coalition of Democrats in requesting the IG look into the matter after reports that DHS was separating children from their parents in immigration custody. While there have been specific reported incidents, it has been unclear if it is a widespread practice.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified last week before Congress that the department only separates adults from children in custody "in the interest of the child" -- for instance, if there's a suspicion of possible human trafficking or if they are unable to confirm the child is actually traveling with his or her parents or legal guardians.

She did, however, admit that in the case of a Congolese woman who was separated from her young daughter for months, which has spurred a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, that the process of verifying they were in fact family "took too long."

After the lawsuit was filed, that mother and her daughter were reunited and a DNA test did confirm their relationship.

The letter from acting Homeland Security Inspector General John V. Kelly, which was provided to CNN, said his office has determined it will "conduct a review of this matter" and requested a follow-up meeting to discuss it further.

The issue of family units has been a source of difficulty for the department for years. A court ruling has held that children cannot be detained in what are essentially immigration jails for longer than three weeks, and the Obama administration thus issued guidance that family units would be released from custody together.

The Trump administration has decried this court ruling as a "loophole" that allows immigrants who have cleared the initial screening to pursue asylum protections in the US to live in the country for potentially years as their case works its way through the court system.

In a statement, DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton said the department has no policy of separating families "for deterrence purposes" but does follow laws protecting the interests of children at the border.

"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," Houlton said. "Unfortunately, we have seen many instances where human traffickers have used children to cross the border to gain illegal entry to our country as they know they are unlikely to be detained. This is one of the very loopholes we would like to see Congress end in order to gain operational control of our border."

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 775037

Reported Deaths: 14804
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2572716324
Riverside563741143
San Bernardino51467839
Orange513991115
San Diego43619754
Kern31076340
Fresno27381348
Sacramento20961371
Alameda20162365
Santa Clara19891295
San Joaquin19701407
Stanislaus16150325
Contra Costa15544197
Tulare15486255
Ventura12073141
Imperial11457310
San Francisco1056991
San Mateo9332142
Monterey919765
Santa Barbara8785109
Merced8692131
Kings715877
Sonoma6827114
Marin6505111
Solano605455
Madera427058
Placer338541
San Luis Obispo331627
Yolo272153
Butte270433
Santa Cruz21088
Sutter162110
Napa158713
San Benito126010
Yuba11087
El Dorado10544
Mendocino81718
Lassen7300
Shasta66114
Glenn5473
Colusa4996
Nevada4975
Tehama4853
Humboldt4826
Lake43310
Calaveras30513
Amador28616
Tuolumne2163
Inyo18714
Mono1632
Siskiyou1590
Del Norte1351
Mariposa752
Plumas490
Modoc230
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 68°
Oroville
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 67°
Paradise
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 68°
Chester
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 56°
Red Bluff
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Willows
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 68°
Much better air quality, elevated fire danger, cooler temperatures, and the potential for showers are all ahead for your Friday. We'll be dry and warmer for your last weekend of the summer season.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events