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Emails Show Trump Administration Had No Plan to Track and Reunite Separated Families
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=46531"><span class="small">Molly Olmstead, Slate</span></a>   
Thursday, 02 May 2019 13:27

Olmstead writes: "In June 2018, just a few days after President Donald Trump announced the end of the 'zero-tolerance' immigration policy that led to the breaking up of thousands of families at the border, the Department of Homeland Security released a fact sheet claiming the administration knew, from a 'central database,' the location of all children in its custody and had 'a process established to ensure that family members know the location of their children.'"

Thousands of people march in support of families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border on June 30 in New York City. (photo: Spencer Platt/Getty)
Thousands of people march in support of families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border on June 30 in New York City. (photo: Spencer Platt/Getty)


Emails Show Trump Administration Had No Plan to Track and Reunite Separated Families

By Molly Olmstead, Slate

02 May 19

 

n June 2018, just a few days after President Donald Trump announced the end of the “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that led to the breaking up of thousands of families at the border, the Department of Homeland Security released a fact sheet claiming the administration knew, from a “central database,” the location of all children in its custody and had “a process established to ensure that family members know the location of their children.”

But in reality, according to emails the House Judiciary Committee provided to NBC News, the administration had no database with information for both parents and children and no clear way to match them. Instead, DHS and the Department of Health and Human Services, which cares for migrant children in government custody, were hurrying to populate a single spreadsheet with the necessary data.

“[I]n short, no, we do not have any linkages from parents to [children], save for a handful,” an HHS official told an ICE official in an email on June 23. “We have a list of parent alien numbers but no way to link them to children.”

The administration admitted at the time that the process of reunification would be a long one. It took months to reunite the nearly 3,000 families as officials had to review documents for the children and parents manually. Almost a year later, several dozen children separated from their families under the zero-tolerance policy remain in HHS custody.

At the time, according to the emails, an HHS official emailed an ICE official asking for identification numbers for the parents. “[T]he type and volume of what you are requesting is not something that we are going to be able to complete in a rapid fashion, and in fact, we may not have some of it,” the ICE official replied. The HHS official wrote back that he only had information for “about 60” parents.

While former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen claimed multiple times that the Trump administration was keeping track of the separations, one official said the information DHS provided to HHS was too incomplete to be able to easily reunite families. In September, the DHS Office of Inspector General also concluded that there appeared not to have been a complete central database for parents and their children.

HHS and DHS denied in statements to NBC News that it had neglected to create a system to connect children to their parents.

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+10 # DongiC 2019-05-02 14:54
Competent federal officials would have compiled such a list on something so important as keeping parents and their children connected. The fact that no such list was made speaks volumes on either (1) our officials are incompetent (2) Trump is using a perverse kind of pain to slow down immigration - that caused by splitting up families. Either way the Americans are not looking too good. I think Sir Donald's administration is going to end very badly. And, his base will be forever tainted.
 
 
+2 # futhark 2019-05-03 07:17
Donald Trump's mission since he first started his presidential campaign was to sow chaos throughout the nation, especially where it would cause the most pain to those least capable of dealing with the consequences. This is why his actions have so often appeared monstrous to people of good will. Children of the poor are most vulnerable to this kind of attack and thus make a perfect target. Trump has no sense of empathy or compassion. He must be fired!
 
 
+2 # chemtex2611 2019-05-02 23:29
The world watches as this administration breaks one social norm after another. The President seems to think he is a god, but no one, but Putin and Kim Jung Un want to have any thing to do with him.
 
 
+3 # RussellB 2019-05-03 04:58
This information should be blasted on every front page newspaper in America. It should be the lead story on every TV and radio news hour. It should evoke an urgent indignant outcry from every politician, every clergy person, and every human rights advocate. But it won't. Only in my dream world does that happen.