August 28, 2020, 11.09 PM

HOUSTON, KOMPAS.com - The Trump administration is increasingly using hotels to detain immigrant children as young as one before expelling them from the US during the coronavirus pandemic.

The US President’s tactic has faced outcry from lawmakers and human rights advocates.

A total of 577 unaccompanied immigrant children were detained in hotels through the end of July by federal authorities.

The figure is up from 240 in April, May, and June, according to a published report from a court-appointed monitor for detained immigrant youth.

Read also: Refugees in Indonesia Say UNHCR Jakarta Office Reneging on Food Aid Promise

The Associated Press reported on the practice last month, with the Trump administration citing the threat of the virus in rapidly expelling those children and other migrants under an emergency declaration that denies them a chance to seek asylum.

Keeping kids in hotels circumvents federal anti-trafficking laws and a two-decade-old court settlement, and advocates have warned of potential mistreatment.

Meanwhile, new allegations have emerged of efforts at the hotels to skirt health precautions.

An immigrant from Haiti says government contractors at a hotel where he was detained gave his family, including his one-year-old daughter, cups of ice to eat to pass temperature checks before their deportation flight, though they had tested negative for Covid-19.

“We were given them with only one instruction, to eat them to lower our temperature,” Verty told the AP last week.

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