Fact Check: Sen. Kamala Harris Falsely Claims 2,700 Migrant Children Are Detained for Crimes

Democratic presidential hopeful US Senator from California Kamala Harris gestures as she speaks during the second round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 31, 2019. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo …
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris claimed during the second Democratic debate that 2,700 migrant children are being detained for breaking border laws. 

Harris was asked: 

Senator Harris, you have indicated that you don’t think it should be a criminal offense punishable by jail to cross the U.S. border illegally. How do you respond?

She responded:

I went to a place in Florida called Homestead, and there is a private detention facility being paid for by your taxpayer dollars, a private detention facility that currently houses 2,700 children … The policies of this administration have been facilitated by laws on the books that allow them to be incarcerated as though they’ve committed crimes.

Ironically, many the children are being sheltered only until they can be picked up by their illegal immigrant parents, many of who are living illegally in the United States — and who are being protected from deportation by 2019 spending rules demanded by pro-migration Democrats.

The migrant youths and children are being sheltered in centers run by the Department of Health and Human Services, not by the Department of Justice — because they are being protected under a 2008 law designed to protect children from criminal trafficking.

In contrast, adult migrants are being detained until their criminal charge of illegal entry are decided by judges.

Also, officials are releasing many adults who bring children because the detention centers are full. Some migrants with children are being kept in family detention centers.

The 2,700 children and youths seen by Harris are being given shelter, food, beds, and exercise opportunities until they can be handed over to “sponsors.”

But many of those ”sponsors” are their parents or relatives who are living illegally in the United States — and who have paid cartel-affiliated coyotes to bring their children to the U.S. border agencies, in expectation they will be picked up by the border agents, flown to the HHS shelters, and eventually given to their sponsors.

“The federal government is funding the last leg in a human trafficking chain,” Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, told Fox News July 28. “That is not what the federal government ought to be doing.”

In March, Democrats fought for and won a spending rule which bars deportation agencies from using the information collected from sponsors by HHS to help detect and deport illegals.

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