Under its practice of separating families at the border, the federal government says Trump’s administration forced immigrant parents to leave the US without their children, contradicting officials’ claims that the parents were voluntarily leaving them behind.
The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General said in a report released on Monday that it had found at least 348 cases where Immigration and Customs Enforcement had no records showing that immigrants wanted to leave their children in the US. It also found “some” cases in which agency officials were deported even though they knew that they wanted to take their children with them.
That contradicts claims by senior DHS officials that parents choose to leave their children in the US to live with families or other reasons during deportation in 2017 and 2018 as authorities seek to enforce a more sophisticated form of immigration.
These findings, released by Trump-appointed inspector general, Joseph Cuffari, provide new insights into a policy that was a major political problem for former administrators and an ongoing challenge to the current one, working to unite children who remain divided today.
“Those who become pregnant on this issue will have to live with the memory of their cruelty for the rest of their lives,” said Sen.Dickin, an Illinois Democrat chairman of the Justice Committee, who requested the report.
Trump administration has separated thousands of migrant parents from their children since the summer of 2017 as they have been prosecuting people for illegally crossing the southwestern border. The juveniles were not detained along with their parents and were referred to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Massive family divisions have sparked public outrage and accusations by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has been collecting reports that exiled parents do not have the opportunity to travel with their children.
“Throughout this court, we have learned that some parents have been told that their child will join them on a plane so that the plane can take off without the child,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.
That contradicts what DHS officials in the community had said.
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, according to the report, testified at Congress in December 2018 that “every parent” had the option to return their child to their country and those who “did not choose not to go with the child.”
Nielsen told Congress in March 2019 that there was no “exiled parent, as far as I know, without many opportunities to travel with her children.”
Nielsen did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He had previously said that his agency was not intent on deliberately separating families but had no other option because the authorities were persecuting border crossings.
Trump issued a major order to stop the practice of separating families in June 2018, just days before a judge’s decision that did the same and demanded that the families be reunited.
In response to the report, ICE said it was in line with the findings and was working to address the issues related to record-keeping raised in the report.
Shortly after taking office, President Joe Biden formed a group that will include hundreds of children living in diversity. Announced the first four integrations this month.
That effort continues as Biden’s management faces an increase in the number of under-18 migrants trying to cross the southwestern border on their own.
Managers referred approximately 19,000 to HHS-care facilities. Those children are allowed to stay in the US while the government decides whether they have a legal application to stay with a citizen parent or for some other reason.
Meanwhile, Biden officials continue to repatriate senior immigrants, including asylum seekers, and many families who fall together under a public health order issued at the start of the Covid-19 epidemic.