US treatment of refugee children seeking asylum is horrific



June 12, 2019 - 10:59 AM

There is no question that the refugee crisis on the border is a humanitarian nightmare. But let us all also agree that unaccompanied migrant minors in federal shelters should be treated with basic human respect and decency.

That’s our way of saying that the Trump administration is on the verge of making a horrible situation even more intolerable. The Office of Refugee Resettlement has begun to slash funding for English classes, recreational programs and legal aid for unaccompanied minors in federal migrant shelters. The Department of Health and Human Services says such programs are draining the budget and “not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety.”

There’s a lot wrong with this, both morally and pragmatically. The cutback would violate a more than two-decades-old federal court settlement and state licensing requirements that require education and recreation for minors in federal custody.

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