The Trump administration has begun to arrest parents and relatives it suspects of paying to have children smuggled to the United States, sparking fierce criticism from immigrant advocates that officials are interrogating vulnerable migrant children with the intent of separating families.
Officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement say the new “surge initiative,” which involves identifying and arresting parents, relatives and others who have paid criminal organizations to bring children into the country, is a humanitarian effort to target human smugglers.
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“ICE aims to disrupt and dismantle end-to-end the illicit pathways used by transnational criminal organizations and human smuggling facilitators,” said Sarah Rodriguez, an ICE spokeswoman. “The sponsors who have placed children directly into harm’s way by entrusting them to violent criminal organizations will be held accountable
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