The Trump administration is drafting a new policy to quickly deport more than 150,000 child migrants from Central America who arrived alone in the U.S. illegally, creating a new class of undocumented migrants, Newsweek reports.
The Department of Justice and Homeland Security is drawing up a policy proposal in a series of memos, according to two sources with knowledge of the internal debate who spoke to The Miami Herald.
As it stands, the plan would allow for teens and children who arrived in the U.S. illegally by themselves to be put on a fast track to deportation when they turn 18. Most of these children have traveled thousands of miles alone from Central American countries, including Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, to escape violence and poverty.
The discussions follow controversy within the government about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, a program implemented by Barack Obama, which protects children brought to the country illegally by their parents from deportation.
Speaking about the new policy plans, a former U.S. Justice Department official told the Herald, “The concern is that most people at DOJ know this will likely be viewed as illegal and do not want to have to defend this in court if they can avoid it.”
Current law “doesn’t give the administration a lot of flexibility with how to deal with unaccompanied children,” said a U.S. official familiar with the internal debate about the policy.
“This administration still has its hands somewhat tied with what it can do with that population,” that person said.