Govt – Still No Clue How Many Children Were Separated from Parents at the Border
Feb 8-According to Office of Inspector General (OIG) which conducted an investigation into the separation of children from their parents at the border under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, the number of children impacted remains unknown. According to the report, “The total number of children separated from a parent or guardian by immigration authorities is unknown. Pursuant to a June 2018 Federal District Court order, HHS has thus far identified 2,737 children in its care at that time who were separated from their parents. However, thousands of children may have been separated during an influx that began in 2017, before the accounting required by the Court, and HHS has faced challenges in identifying separated children.”
Where are the children?
If the agencies in charge of enforcing this policy and ensuring the care of the children have no clue how many children were impacted, it begs the question, where are those children now? The watchdog report noted that some of the children were placed in shelters, others where parental reunification was unavailable, were placed in foster care. We learned in October that many of these children may be placed into adoption making reunification impossible thanks to the government’s ineffective handling of the children. Moreover, inter-agency confusion arising from ICE’s zealous enforcement of Trump’s policy, and now fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ TV announcement, continues. In short, Trump’s zero-tolerance policy created a nightmare and a humanitarian crisis with continuing ramifications.
Who was in charge?
While ICE was in charge of rounding people up, the US Department of Health and Human Services was charged with the care of the children after they were forcibly separated from their parents. US Representatives on Thursday questioned top HHS official on whether the department did anything to stop the policy from being implemented and whether concerns were raised about the possible harm it could cause the children.
A top Health & Human Services Official told Congress he would never support a policy that separates families at the border. “Neither I nor any career person in [HHS’ refugee resettlement office] would ever have supported such a policy proposal,” Commander Jonathan White told Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky.. Thursday’s hearing is the first of three scheduled in the coming weeks that will seek to uncover more answers as to when and how the widely condemned policy was discussed and implemented within the government, and how the effects of that policy are still being felt months after being halted by an executive order.
To read the whole Watchdog report, click HERE.