The Trump administration has started targeting parents and relatives of undocumented child immigrants to the US, in a move that could result in thousands of arrests.
Tens of thousands of children have flocked across the border in recent years, largely in attempts to escape gang and drug violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Often, they are sheparded across the border by smugglers.
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Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials announced this week that they would start cracking down on smuggling rings by targeting those relatives who take immigrant children in. The relatives could face prosecution, or be placed in deportation proceedings themselves.
“The sponsors who have placed children directly into harm’s way by entrusting them to violent criminal organisations will be held accountable,” agency spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez said.