Trump admin stole thousands more kids at border than previously reported

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31: Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) called on Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to step down during a hearing with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-NH) (L) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill July 31, 2018 in Washington, DC. The committee questioned officials from the Boarder Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice about the separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border at the government's efforts to reunify those families. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As children stolen from families at the southern border under the barbaric “zero tolerance” policy continue to remain in U.S. custody 175 days past a federal judge’s reunification deadline, a government watchdog has found that the Trump administration stole thousands more kids from families than previously known. Just how many were stolen is, horrifically, “unknown.”

While the administration eventually said that more than 2,500 children had been kidnapped under the 2018 policy, the Office of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General confirmed officials were separating families long before that. “How many more children were separated is unknown,” the OIG said Thursday, “by us and HHS.” This squares up with a 2017 Amnesty International report, which also found that far more families were separated than previously reported.

The administration had no plans to reunite children stolen under the policy, and only did so because of a federal judge’s court order. But, “’thousands of separated children’ entered the care of the HHS refugee office before the court order, the report said. The reunification rate for those children is not known, the inspector general’s office said.” According to NBC News, “some may have been released to family or nonrelative sponsors, but it is not known how many have been reunified.”

“The report also found that the Trump administration failed to track separated families in a single database,” Politico reports, “an administrative decision that complicated efforts to reunify the families.” Remember that Sec. Alex Azar told senators that “I could at the stroke of keystrokes … within seconds could find any child within our care for any parent.” Yet he, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Kirstjen Nielsen continue to remain in their jobs.

“Where are these children now?” asked reported Brooke Binkowski. “How many have been drugged, raped, beaten, killed? Where is the oversight? Where is the accountability?” This is a crime against humanity, a disaster of historic proportions that should be the end of any presidency. But under Donald Trump, it seems to be treated as business as usual. 

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