Justice Department leaders under President Donald Trump knew their 2018 “zero tolerance” border policy would result in family separations but continued with prosecutions even as other agencies were overwhelmed with migrants, a government monitoring report released Thursday revealed.
The Justice Department’s Inspector General’s report found that leaders had failed to prepare to implement the policy or deal with the fallout, resulting in more than 3,000 family separations and causing damage lasting emotional effects to children who were taken from their parents at the border. This policy has been widely condemned by world leaders, religious groups and American lawmakers as cruel.
The report found that one of the administration’s talking points was: “An illegal alien should not get a free pass just because he or she crosses the border illegally with a child.”
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, along with other senior officials in the Trump administration, were determined to curb immigration. The “zero tolerance” policy was one of the increasingly restrictive policies aimed at discouraging migrants from going to the southern border. The Trump administration has also dramatically reduced the number of refugees allowed to enter the United States and virtually suspended asylum at the border, thanks to a combination of executive orders and regulatory changes.
President-elect Joe Biden said Trump’s restrictive immigration policies were bad and, at a press conference on Friday, promised a full investigation into the policies that led to the family’s separation.
He also promised to reverse Trump’s immigration policies he put in place by executive order.
“I will immediately bring forward an immigration bill and have it sent to the appropriate committees immediately,” Biden said in Wilmington, Delaware.
the American Civil Liberties Union sued to end separations and a federal judge ordered family reunification.
“The family separation crisis is a direct result of the political choices of the Trump administration, motivated by the idea that immigrants and asylum seekers deserve nothing but cruelty and punishment,” he said. the group writes on their website.
These families deserve citizenship, care and a commitment that family separation will never happen again.
Read the report here: https://t.co/fVCUIQi5EN
– the ACLU (@ACLU) January 14, 2021
Lawyer Lee Gelernt, who has worked on the matter for years, said the practice was “immoral and illegal.”
“At a minimum, Justice Department lawyers should have known about him,” Gelernt said in a statement. “This new report shows how far the Trump administration was prepared to go to destroy these families. Just when you think the Trump administration can’t sink any lower, it does.
The “zero tolerance” policy meant that any adult caught crossing the border irregularly would be prosecuted for illegal entry. As children cannot be imprisoned with their family members, families have been separated and children have been placed in the care of health and social services. Politics was a colossal mess – no system was created to reunite children with their families. The surveillance report found that this resulted in a funding gap of $ 227 million.
The department heads underestimated how difficult it would be to implement the policy on the ground, according to the report, and failed to notify local prosecutors and others that the children would be separated. They also didn’t understand that the children would be separated for longer than a few hours, and when that was discovered, they continued.
“The department’s leadership has not taken steps, after learning of the difficulties in identifying the location of separated children, to reconsider their previous assumptions about the ability to immediately reunite separated families,” the report said.
The policy began on April 6, 2018, under an executive order that was issued without warning to other federal agencies that would have to manage the policy. It was interrupted on June 20, 2018.
And nearly three years after the Trump administration adopted “zero tolerance,” more than 600 parents separated from their children have still not been found by a group of outside lawyers working to reunite the families, according to a file. judicial Wednesday.