The U.S. Government and Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on July 14, 2015, entitled Unaccompanied Alien Children: Actions Needed to Ensure Children Receive Required Care in DHS Custody.

Among other things, the GAO found that the Obama administration has been deporting immigrant children without applying the required screening criteria prior to deportation.

From the report's findings:

Within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued policies and procedures to evaluate, or screen, unaccompanied alien children (UAC)—those under 18 years old with no lawful immigration status and no parent or legal guardian in the United States available to provide care and physical custody—as required by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA).

However, CBP's Border Patrol agents and Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers who screen UAC have not consistently applied the required screening criteria or documented the rationales for decisions resulting from screening.

Specifically, under TVPRA, DHS is to transfer UAC to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), but may allow UAC from Canada and Mexico to return to their home countries, that is, to be repatriated, if DHS determines that UAC (1) are not victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons, (2) are not at risk of trafficking upon return, (3) do not have a fear of returning due to a credible fear of persecution, and (4) are able to make an independent decision about returning.

GAO found that agents made inconsistent screening decisions, had varying levels of awareness about how they were to assess certain screening criteria, and did not consistently document the rationales for their decisions.


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to read the full 113 page report.