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Feds plan to arrest relatives who smuggled migrant children

(AP Photo)

SAN FRANCISCO — The Trump administration was planning to arrest parents and other relatives who authorities believe smuggled their children into the United States.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the new “surge initiative” aimed to identify and arrest the adult sponsors of unaccompanied minors who paid coyotes or other smuggling operations to bring the youth across the U.S. border.

Immigrant advocates said the effort will send a wave of fear through vulnerable communities. They said 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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