The Trump administration has already been criticized severely for separating hundreds of young children from their families at the southern border.
Now the same heartless and traumatic policy may be in effect even for Bahamians seeking temporary refuge from the devastation of Hurricane Dorian!
A 12 year-old girl who had fled the Bahamas with her family was separated from her family by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, according to the Miami Herald. Shockingly, she “was sent by U.S. Customs officials to a Miami Gardens shelter for abused or abandoned children.”
Kaytora Paul came to the U.S. with her godmother on Sunday night, having flown from Nassau to West Palm Beach after being evacuated. But customs officials separated the two because she wasn’t being accompanied by her biological parent, her mother told the Miami Herald.
Officials also refused to give the girl’s biological aunt, who had come to pick her up at the airport, custody. The young evacuee is currently being housed at His House Children’s Home in Miami Gardens, under the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. His House is a facility used by the U.S. government to house unaccompanied migrant children. The girl would be considered an “unaccompanied minor” because she wasn’t physically accompanied by her biological mother or father.
Kaytora’s mother said: “I thought losing my house was devastating. Or having to relocate to a different island or country was devastating. But when I found out that they got her, my baby, I mean, there are no words. It was at that moment that I really lost everything.”
She says she sent her daughter with her godmother because there wasn’t enough space for everyone. “I sent my 12-year-old with her godmother, while I stayed with our two youngest and my husband stayed with our adult son.”
It gets worse.
Now, Kaytora’s mother has to go through the process of applying to be her daughter’s sponsor with HHS and collect documentation to prove she’s her mother. That process can take weeks to months.
But U.S. officials have told Ms Paul she can only stay in the U.S. until September 26th.
The CBP and HHS have not responded to requests for comments yet.