Washington, DC— A U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary report released today brings into stark relief the Trump Administration’s family separation policy and the abject cruelty that drove the creation and implementation of the initiative in which more than 2,500 children were taken from their parents. The Committee’s 21-month investigation draws upon previously undisclosed government documents and correspondence and outlines the chaos and incompetence that were hallmarks of the policy.
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) President Wendy Young observed, “While there is so much about the Trump Administration’s family separation policy that is unimaginably cruel, the fact that administration officials knew that the government lacked the capacity to track separated children and their parents—and took the children away from their parents anyway—is breathtaking. We have cutting age tracking systems available throughout government, and somehow the administration chose not to use any of that technology for vulnerable children. It is unconscionable, yet no surprise, that 545 separated parents have not been found.”
The committee report notes that, within weeks of the presidential inauguration, the administration began its plan to separate parents from their children. KIND has seen and continues to work with children permanently traumatized by these separations. Some of these children may never be reunited with their parent as the parent was deported soon after separation. The organization notes that today’s report makes clear that the administration will stop at nothing to try to deter families and children from seeking safety in the United States.
Meanwhile, in the past year at family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has forced numerous parents into a cruel and unnecessary choice between indefinite family detention and the release of their children alone into Office of Refugee Resettlement custody—yet another chapter in the administration’s relentless determination to separate children from their parents.
“The appalling callousness of the administration’s actions has placed an indelible stain on this country. The Trump Administration should immediately halt ongoing separations of children from their parents and legal guardians; release families from detention; and take every measure to reunify families still separated, including by paroling into the United States separated parents who were deported to their countries of origin while their children remained in the United States,” concluded Young.
KIND Report: Family Separation: Two Years Later, the Crisis Continues, July 2020
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