Advocates say US still separates migrant families needlessly

HOUSTON (AP) — Advocates and members of Congress are questioning the treatment of children who cross the U.S.-Mexico border with relatives other than their parents.

The Texas Civil Rights Project released a report Thursday that counts 272 separations at a single Texas courthouse since June, when President Donald Trump issued an executive order that ended widespread family separations amid public outrage.

The group says 38 separations involved a parent or legal guardian, the majority of whom had criminal records. Most of the rest involved another adult relative.

U.S. immigration authorities say that under anti-trafficking law, a child crossing the border without a parent or legal guardian must be considered “unaccompanied,” even if the adult with them is a relative.

Unaccompanied children and teenagers from Central America are generally sent to government facilities, while the adults could face detention and prosecution for illegally entering the U.S.