A government report says thousands more migrant children were separated from parents under Trump than reported and whether they were reunified is unknown.
Thousands more immigrant children were separated from their parents under the Trump administration than previously reported and whether they have been reunified is unknown, according to a report released Thursday by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services.
The report found a spike in immigrant family separations beginning in the summer of 2017, a year prior to the “zero tolerance” policy that prosecuted immigrant parents who crossed the border illegally while holding their children separately in HHS custody. The families separated under zero tolerance were represented in a class action lawsuit, where a federal judge ordered that the government reunify them.
However, the government had no such order to reunify children separated prior to “zero tolerance.” Some may have been released to family or nonrelative sponsors, but it is not known how many have been reunified.
HHS officials did not keep track of whether children they were releasing from their custody had been separated from their parents at the border or whether they crossed the border without a parent.
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