President Donald Trump recently blamed Democrats for “horrible” laws that set procedures for handling unaccompanied minors apprehended entering the United States. They’re “not all innocent,” Trump also said recently of the minors, many of whom ask for refuge from the same gang violence that Trump says the migrant flow has brought in.
In reality, the U.S. rules for treatment of these minors were set by legal settlements going back to the 1990s, as well as 2008 bipartisan legislation approved unanimously by Congress. As the Center for Public Integrity explained in a 2011 story, kids were ultimately rescued from trafficking abuses because of required safeguards for unaccompanied migrant minors.
Another 2014 Center piece showed how volunteer lawyers help minors through an arduous asylum process of trying to prove they faced extortion, rape and mortal threats in Central America.
The Center’s 2011 story revealed how a volunteer lawyer met a 16-year-old Mexican teen in a Virginia detention center who said Border Patrol agents had suggested he become an informant. The boy told the lawyer that his uncle, who controlled him, forced him to carry a backpack of marijuana over the border. The first time he did it, he came across Border Patrol agents and asked them for protection if he provided information about smuggling. The agents, he said, told him to return to Mexico, gather information and return to provide what he learned.