Feds don’t know locations of ‘thousands’ more migrant kids, separated from families
The policy of removing children from their families at the border was even more cruel and inhumane than we thought, apparently.
The child separation “zero tolerance” policy was even more cruel and inhumane than we thought, apparently, it went on for a lot longer than we thought it did, and the government now says that it may not be possible to completely fix it.
Which means that America may be known as a country that separated thousands of migrant children from their families at the border, doesn’t know how many there are out there, and may not be able to reunite them all.
This particular horror came out in arecently released report on the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which has been charged with dealing with the administration’s position of family separation.
Months ago it was reported that the government did not know the whereabouts of more than a thousand children who were separated from their families and placed into temporary custody with others. Now, it turns out that there could be thousands more children in the same situation.
An inspector general’s report said that children numbering in the thousands may have been separated from their families even before the administration’s “zero tolerance” program went into effect.
According to the report, “The total number of children separated from a parent or guardian by immigration authorities is unknown.”
Will some never be reunited?
Not only does the government not know where all the children are located, but they don’t even know how many children we’re talking about. Only that it’s a lot. Maybe thousands more than we thought.
And the manpower and cost of fixing the problem suggest that it’s possible some of them may never be reunited with the families from whom they were taken.
Lee Gelernt, the lead attorney representing families separated under zero tolerance and deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said, “This policy was a cruel disaster from the start. This report reaffirms that the government never had a clear picture of how many children it ripped from their parents. We will be back in court over this latest revelation.”
Last year, the PBS show “Frontline” looked into how it was that the government lost track of the children. In the show Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said of the situation, “We’ve got these kids. They’re here. They’re living on our soil. And for us to just, you know, assume someone else is going to take care of them and throw them to the wolves, which is what HHS was doing, is flat-out wrong. I don’t care what you think about immigration policy, it’s wrong.”
Congress should intervene
The government office charged with dealing with the problem says that it would need a lot more money and resources to fix the problem completely.
Think about that. We’re not talking about roads, military equipment or government buildings. We’re talking about children.
The ACLU’s Gelernt said in a statement, “The Trump administration’s response is a shocking concession that it can’t easily find thousands of children it ripped from parents, and doesn’t even think it’s worth the time to locate each of them. The administration also doesn’t dispute that separations are ongoing in significant numbers.”
Congress should step in and do what’s necessary to make this right. To protect these kids.
This isn’t a liberal or conservative problem, a Republican or Democratic problem. It’s not even a border problem. It’s a humanitarian problem.
As Sen. Portman said, “I don’t care what you think about immigration policy, it’s wrong.”