Dozens Of Babies Forced To Appear In Immigration Court, Some Without Any Representation: Report

The Trump administration has reportedly ordered at least 70 children under the age of 1 to appear before immigration judges since last October, with some appearing without any legal representation. 

Department of Justice data revealed by the Texas Tribune and Kaiser Health News on Wednesday also showed that the number of infants made to appear before immigration judges tripled in 2017 compared to the year before. 

GettyImages-988419450 People demonstrate and call out words of encouragement to detainees held inside the Metropolitan Detention Center after marching to decry Trump administration immigration and refugee policies on June 30, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. The Trump administration has reportedly ordered at least 70 babies to appear before an immigration judge. David McNew/Getty

The newspaper reported that approximately three-fourths of children who have been forced to appear in court have had legal representation to help them make their case that they should be able to remain in the United States. 

The rest have reportedly been left to represent themselves, despite being aged 12 months and under. 

Officials told the Tribune that most children under 1 cross the U.S.-Mexico border with a parent, in which case their deportation case would proceed together. 

However, the officials, who were not identified, said some of the infants were only branded "unaccompanied" after they were separated from their parents under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which was rescinded in June.

Under the policy, nearly 3,000 children were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Robert Carey, who previously led the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is responsible for the care of unaccompanied minors, told the Tribune that the outcome of the Trump administration's family separation policy was a "crisis of the creation of the government" as well as a "tragic and ironic turn of events."

Shadi Houshyar, who oversees early childhood and child welfare programming at advocacy group Families USA, told Kaiser Health News that infants being held under the ORR's care are at an age where essential care is critical. 

"For babies, the basics are really important," Houshyar said, explaining that infants need to be held regularly and require "proper feeding, proper nurturing."

The Trump administration is currently racing to meet a court-ordered July 26 deadline to reunite the thousands of children separated from their parents under its "zero tolerance" policy with their family members. 

On Monday, Health and Human Services Department spokesman Jonathan White admitted in court that the department was still struggling to find the parents of at least 71 of the children who have yet to be reunited, according to Reuters.

The administration recently completed reunification of children under five who had been separated from their parents, also due to a court order.