Feds will now target relatives who smuggled in children

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The Trump administration is planning to arrest parents and other relatives who authorities believe smuggled their children into the United States.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say a new “surge initiative” aims to dismantle human smuggling operations, including identifying and arresting the adult sponsors of unaccompanied minors who paid smugglers to bring the children across the U.S. border.

Immigrant advocates say the effort will send a wave of fear through vulnerable communities. They say arresting parents and other caregivers will mean migrant children instead will be placed in foster care or costly detention centers.

The move marks a sharp departure from policies in place under the Obama administration, during which time nearly 170,000 children fleeing violence in Central America crossed the border and were placed with sponsors in communities nationwide.

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