President Donald Trump is committed to deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, regardless of age or how long they have lived here. Thinly veiled as an attempt to assuage the victims of crimes perpetrated by immigrants, Trump's administration released a database of suspected immigrant criminals via Homeland Security. But there's one issue with the list, released on April 26: infants and children were on it.
Immigration lawyers from across the country alerted the department about the database's inclusion of minors on April 26, according to The Los Angeles Times. Two children who were listed are currently being held at detention centers: a 3-year-old is being held at in immigration detention center in Texas and a 4-year-old Guatemalan child is at a Phoenix, AZ, center.
Texas, in particular, does not have a reputation for being lenient on immigration. On April 26, a Texas state lawmaker introduced a bill to license detention facilities as child daycare centers, so they can house detained children for extended periods of time. The law currently prohibits private prison facilities who operate detention centers from housing children if they are not equipped as daycares; the new bill was reportedly authored by a lobbyist for a private prison company that operates in Texas.
Responding to the database's apparent listing of infants, Homeland Security's acting Press Secretary Gillian Christensen said it was an error. "The Department of Homeland Security's policy is and remains to protect the information of minors in our custody," Christensen said to The Los Angeles Times. "Following the April 26 launch of the DHS-Victim Information and Notification Exchange (DHS-VINE) the appropriate filter was not applied to the data being made available to site users."
Homeland Security's effort to track supposed immigrant crimes (a promise Trump campaigned on) is one piece of a newly launched office within the department and a direct result of Trump's policies. Titled the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE), the bureau will also investigate crimes committed by legal immigrants. One of the office's most disturbing programs was introduced with the database: a toll-free number citizens can call to report suspected immigrant crimes.
The hotline has a potential perilous outcome if it is used to report crimes as revenge or even out of pure spite. At any rate, it's definitely not being used as Trump intended it to be: socially conscious trolls have jammed the line to report actual UFO sightings.