Critics say migrant families still being separated at border

An advocacy group said in a report on Thursday that the Trump administration has continued to separate families suspected of crossing the border illegally months after President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE signed an executive order halting the practice.

The Texas Civil Rights Project said that nearly 300 family separations have occurred at or near McAllen, Texas since Trump signed the executive order last June. Most of the cases involved children who crossed the border illegally with a relative who wasn't their immediate parent, it added.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to the group, the separations largely occurred because U.S. law does not allow unaccompanied minor children to stay with family members who are not their parents, while the group also contends that as many as 38 families have been separated at the location due to one or more parents having criminal convictions.

In a statement to The Associated Press, which first reported the group's findings, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) argued that the law “does not make concessions for anyone other than a parent or legal guardian.”

Civil rights groups including the ACLU say that the Trump administration is not giving experts the ability to oversee the welfare of children detained by CBP.

“What’s happening is the government is doing separations unilaterally without any process to contest the separations and without a child welfare expert overseeing the separations,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelenrt told the AP.

CBP maintains that the agency will continue refusing to release detained migrant children to family members other than their parents in order to "prioritize the safety" of migrant children.

“Absent verification that an adult is the parent or legal guardian of a minor, CBP will continue to prioritize the safety of a minor and comply with the statutory requirements,” the agency told the AP.