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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Statement on Separation of Minor with Down Syndrome

Release Date: 
June 20, 2018

U.S. Customs and Border Protection separated a child with Down Syndrome from her mother as a result of a smuggling attempt on June 3, 2018. This however was not a result of zero tolerance as the mother is not being prosecuted, rather being held as a witness in the smuggling incident.

The mother and her five children were in a vehicle driven by a U.S. citizen. Upon questioning, the mother admitted to being illegally in the United States. Three of the children are U.S. citizens and were released to an aunt. The mother was not prosecuted, but is instead being held as a material witness to support the prosecution of the smuggler, which precipitated the separation of the two other children, both Mexican citizens.

This smuggler has a criminal history including a flight, escape, aiding and abetting making it important that we prosecute.    

The children are in the custody of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement. U.S. Customs and Border Protection with the Department of Justice are working to reunite the mother with her children as soon as possible.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021