Family reunification

The Trump Administration Separated Thousands More Families Than We Thought

We don't even know exactly how many.


G. Ronald Lopez/ZUMA Press/Newscom

The Trump administration took a lot of heat last summer for its "zero tolerance" immigration policy, in which parents who tried to cross the border with their children were separated from their sons and daughters. According to a report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Inspector General, the criticisms were actually understated: Thousands more children were separated from their parents than was previously known.

Last April, then–Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the zero tolerance policy, under which every adult suspected of illegally crossing the U.S.–Mexico border would be criminally prosecuted. Their children, meanwhile, were held separately in HHS detention centers. On June 20, President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending the family separations. Days later, on June 26, a federal judge ordered the administration to reunify the migrant families.

According to the inspector general report, "HHS has thus far identified 2,737 children in its care at that time who were separated from their parents." But that doesn't take into account separations that occurred before Sessions officially implemented the policy.

"Officials estimated that [the Office Refugee Resettlement] received and released thousands of separated children prior to" the June 26 court order, the report says. These children were "separated during an influx that began in 2017, before the accounting required by the Court, and HHS has faced challenges in identifying separated children."

"We don't have any information on those children who were released prior to the court order," an official with the HHS Office of Inspector General told reporters today, according to NBC News. That includes their "total number and current status," according to the report.

The separations started in 2017 as a sort of "trial balloon" for the zero tolerance policy, Politico reports, citing an HHS official. While the HHS report says that the children have been released, it's unclear how many are actually back with their parents. "There is even less visibility for separated children who fall outside the court case," the report says.

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  1. 3 Illegal immigration articles in one day!?!

  2. How does every immigration joke start?
    - By looking over your shoulder.

    1. Why doesn't Mexico have an Olympic team?
      -Because everybody who can run, jump and swim are already in the U.S.

    2. Calling an illegal alien an undocumented immigrant is like calling a drug dealer an unlicensed pharmacist.

      1. that is literally true on all accounts. all "illegal" drug dealing is literally prosecuted under the "health and safety" pharmacy regulation laws, not the "crimes code".

        Calling an undocumented immigrant an illegal alien is like calling an unlicensed pharmacist a drug dealer .

    3. A US Border Patrol Agent catches an illegal immigrant in the bushes right by the border fence in Texas, he pulls him out and says "Sorry, you know the law, you've got to go back across the border right now."

      The Mexican man pleads with them, "No, noooo Senior, I must stay in de USA! Pleeeze!"

      The Border Patrol Agent thinks to himself, I'm going to make it hard for him and says "Ok, I'll let you stay if you can use 3 english words in a sentence."

      The Mexican, of course, agrees.

      The Border Patrol Agent tells him, "The 3 words are Green, Pink and Yellow.......Now use all them in 1 sentence."

      The Mexican man thinks really hard for about 2 minutes, then says, "Hmmm, Ok...... The phone, it went Green, Green, Green, I Pink it up and sez Yellow?"

      1. Ba dum tsss

    4. There was a lady who immigrated in Canada and married an Canadian gentleman. The poor lady was not very proficient in English, but anyhow managed to communicate with her husband. The real problem arose whenever she had to shop for groceries. One day, she went to the butcher and wanted to buy pork legs. She didn't know how to put forward her request, and in desperation, lifted up her skirt to show her thighs. The butcher got the message and the lady went home with pork legs. The next day, she needed to get chicken breasts. Again, she didn't know how to say, and so unbuttoned her blouse to show the butcher her breast. The lady got what she wanted. The third day, the poor lady needed to buy sausages. So, she brought her husband to the store... because he spoke English.

      1. LC, thanx for the jokes! The above is my fave...

        I have one for you...

        A Chinese lady goes up to an American bank teller, gives him 10 Yuan to be changed to USA dollars. Bank teller hands her $16...

        "You-man gave me $18 last time for hunnret dolla, this time you rip me off, give me $16. Why you rip me off?"

        "Fluctuations", he says, shrugging his shoulders.

        She snaps back, "Well FLUCK YOU white American-people too!"

    5. Why are most Italian men named Tony?
      -When they got on the boat to America they stamped To NY (Tony) on their foreheads.

    6. What is the difference between an illegal immigrant and E.T.?
      - E.T. eventually went home!

    7. You are one stupid bitch. Why don't you find your hockey helmet before you hurt yourself, bitch.

      1. Tulpa, tulpa, and TULPA walk into a bar.

        Or did they?

  3. When it comes to immigration, Reason can be depended on to be delusional, by assuming that a) there's no welfare for immigrants in an idyllic libertarian world, b) there's no burgeoning population on the other side of the border, and c) there's room for an infinite number of immigrants inside the 50 states. (As if we aren't now, nor will ever be resource-constrained. Oh. And we're supposed to feel sorry for families who get disrupted, when they break the law. Come on, Joe. You're smarter than that.

    1. There will be room for all the migrants when working class Americans, of all colors but mostly one, die off from suicide and ODs. If that's not enough, the immigrants themselves can finish the job through DUI accidents, violent crime, and exotic retro diseases.
      Progress uber alles

    2. a) there's no welfare for immigrants in an idyllic libertarian world

      This and/or possibly the others ignores the second-order effects and larger notion of immigrants and their feelings towards liberty/libertarianism. Whereby even if we have some sort of mythical welfare system that magically handled larger numbers of immigrants who magically (because their native soil was so nourishing and healing) don't use welfare at the same rate; that they wouldn't immediately or, within 1-2 generations, vote to fuck it up.

      1. I usually just ask how much of the world, population wise, actually have any faith in enlightenment values. Last I saw, the vast majority of the planet think those values are outright sinful or evil and seek to crush them.

        I see no downside in allowing as many of those people into the country that want to come here. Is it still a crusade when no one really fights to keep out the caliphate and instead welcomes them with open arms? I'm sure that, say, sharia law and enlightenment values are totes compatible.

        The problem with people who believe in open borders, and plenty of libertarians, is that the rest of the world continues to exist.

        1. Do we have an obligation to respect the rights of those who don't share our values?

          1. If by 'values' you mean 'enlightenment values', than no we don't. I suppose if you actually believe in an all-powerful creator god than you might feel differently since that is the fundamental source of natural rights.

            Personally, I'm agnostic so I can't be sure a god exists. Independently of a god, pretending as if we do have fundamental rights works but only in scenarios where we interact with people who also pretend that we have fundamental rights.

            Otherwise, you might as well be slitting your own throat.

            1. If by 'values' you mean 'enlightenment values', than no we don't.

              Huh. So we would be perfectly justified in violating the rights of others who didn't harm us, just because they come from a different value system than us. Is that what you are saying?

              Is there any limit to what is permissible for one party to do to another party who don't agree on shared values?

              I suppose if you actually believe in an all-powerful creator god than you might feel differently since that is the fundamental source of natural rights.

              No it isn't.

              1. Then what is the source?

                1. We are. Because we are born with unique talents and reason that no other critter on the planet possesses. We have the power to shape our own lives unrestrained by base instincts. And because of that we also have the liberty to use that power. But so does everyone else, and so our liberty to use our talents and exert our authorities does not extend to harming others or reducing their talents or their abilities.

                  1. Of course, not everybody agrees on who has or what those rights are.
                    So what then?

                    1. We follow the Non-Aggression Principle.

                    2. This is ironic given that the non-aggression principle is based on...the golden rule. Another Christian artifact.

                      Once you've admitted that natural rights only exist because people think they do, you would need to admit that treating people that think they don't exist by their own beliefs is perfectly justified.

                      This is why secular people are so amusing when they talk about natural rights. They are perhaps the dumbest of the dumb when they argue about moral objectivity. It's abundantly clear Chemjeff has absolutely no philosophical grounding whatsoever, and that he doesn't care to find any beyond 'because I said so' which is simply pathetic and intellectually lazy.

          2. Foreigners have no more right to live in our country than our homes.

            1. nation =/= house

            2. The country isn't any more "yours" than it is "mine". Besides, amusingly most nativists are relatively recent immigrants, at least by the standards of my family. Perhaps they are overcompensating for cultural insecurity?

              1. I didn't immigrate to the US. Neither did my parents. Or their parents.

    3. "Intruding reality onto the immigration debate is soooooo racist! And collectivist!"

  4. I'm sure that it would have been better to put small children with their parent in a detention facility containing lots of single men who could abuse the children or use them as pawns to abuse the mothers,

    1. It's what Scott Adams calls a "halfpinion".

      You look only at the consequences of the current policy and shriek in horror, without offering an alternative and comparing the consequences.

      The world is an imperfect place. We can't have all we want for the price of wishing for it.

      Thomas Sowell's 3 Questions:
      The first is: 'Compared to what?'
      The second is: 'At what cost?'
      And the third is: 'What hard evidence do you have?'

      They don't even get to the first question.

      1. You look only at the consequences of the current policy and shriek in horror, without offering an alternative and comparing the consequences.

        You mean how the border restrictionist crowd never talk about the true costs of their border restriction fantasies?

        1. Waiting in line, getting to a checkpoint, showing passport, maybe having vehicle or bags searched

          The horror!

          1. Oh. So no ICE then?

            1. We'll keep ICE and border checks.

              You can leave anytime YOU want Chemjeff and start Anarchyland.

          2. Waiting in line, getting to a checkpoint, showing passport, maybe having vehicle or bags searched

            I haven't been to the embassy in Guatemala, *is* there a line?

            1. Not so far as I know, but I was just talking about those horrific sacrifices Americans would have to make entering the US.
              You know, the same as it is now...

  5. Good. The alternative is open borders and letting them through, this is good, until Dems allow reform so that neither happens.

    1. Yeah! Who gives a shit about those people anyway.

      1. Great argument, jeff

        1. It's quite obvious what you all think about Mexicans and the like. They are an inferior grade of people compared to you superior Americans.

          1. "I convict you of WrongFeelz! I have RightFeelz! I'm so much better than you!"

            1. We already know that you think brown people are inferior to white people.

              But you could at least respect the dignity of human beings even ones that you consider inferior to yourself. But no you can't even do that.

              I don't care really if you think you are a part of the Master Race or whatnot. I do care when you treat others like crap based on your own bigoted views.

              1. By jove, you are so pathological.

                Come out of the closet, jeff.

                1. I mean, don't you ever think it's weird that you - the "anti-racist" - are the one who constantly brings up race?

                  I know you've never shown any inclination or ability for self-reflection, but you might want to give it a try. Basic human skill

                  1. It's so weird, every time I bring up what is the obvious truth - that so many of the comments directed at illegal immigrants by the border restrictionist crowd, day in and day out, come with an implicit presumption that they are *inferior people*, people who don't deserve the dignity or respect that Good Americans do - all I get is mocking, but what I don't get is a denial.

                    Perhaps you can explain then, if it's not about race or bigotry, why so many of the comments here just *presume* that illegal immigrants are bad people with bad motives? On a daily basis we're told that immigrants come here MOTIVATED to just go on welfare. That is simply absurd - who in their right mind would walk 2,000 miles through a hostile foreign country for the sake of food stamps? - but that is considered gospel truth among the closed border crowd. They aren't regarded as human beings with moral agency, just animals following base instincts. An illegal immigrant crossing the border is just ASSUMED to be someone up to no good, who's going to rape a cute Midwestern coed. That is an awful assumption to make about anyone.

                    1. While at the same time, all of the conservative/libertarian issues that the border restrictionists claim to care about - low taxes, limited government, few regulations, federalism - are COMPLETELY inverted when it comes to the issue of immigration. There, conservatives fall all over themselves to support high taxes, oppressive government, numerous regulations, and centralized authority. It is because they have let their fear of foreigners override whatever principles they originally had.

                      A rational person making rational decisions would not treat the immigration issue in the manner that is commonly presented here. That is because the desire to restrict immigration is not primarily motivated by reason. It's motivated by fear and anxiety.

                      I am not the only one who brings up race. I am just the one who plainly says what ought to be said.

                    2. Look at the comment that I initially responded to. This commenter is GLAD that the state used children as a weapon of deterrence against migration. He would be absolutely outraged if the state decided to do that to his family or his children. But it's evidently okay when the state decides to do that to those children. This is the double standard that is continually on display here. THEY don't deserve the dignity or respect that WE do. Where do you think that type of idea comes from, if not from bigotry or racism?

                    3. Poor Chemjeff. Cannot convince anyone of his Anarchist ways.

                    4. YOU presume.
                      YOU infer.

                      You hallucinate. People keep telling you this, but no - you know exactly what they're saying (after it's been filtered through your own hate-filled perspective prioritizing race).

                      You constantly argue against points not made by anyone but yourself.
                      Get a grip.

                    5. YOU gaslight. Sorry, but it's just common around here to treat illegal immigrants as some cross between plague rats and mindless robots. Certainly not recognizing their individual moral agencies to make decisions for themselves. They are either programmed to follow their base instincts or they are just inadvertent carriers of some cultural plague. Either way it is offensive and it is not how most of you would ever refer to other Americans, or even Canadians for that matter. Only the dusky hued ones get this type of treatment

                    6. Keep beating that strawman, jeff.
                      Makes you look super heroic and virtuous, and not at all like an unhinged fanatic with emotional issues and a learning disability

              2. racebaiterjeff racebaits

                And then fantasizes about me having WrongFeelz.

                I like the way he trots out "we". Doesn't have the stones to take personal responsibility for his verminous racebaiting himself. Has to picture himself as part of a racebaiting "we".

          2. "You don't believe that! You believe my strawman over here! And I hate you for it"
            - t. Chemjeff

      2. Yeah! Who gives a shit about those people anyway.

        You have created a situation where you DEMAND that any desire for border security is rooted in racism.

        You refuse to accept it when commenters tell you that it's not about race--you will wax rhapsodic with statements that you see as 'proofs' of your ideas.

        What does anyone gain from speaking to you?

        They can't prove, to your satisfaction, that they're not motivated by racism--because the only 'proof' of that you'll accept is an utter acceptance of your premises and solutions.

        You stand in a pit of bullshit that you've convinced yourself is the high ground.

        You are, quite simply, wrong in every way.

  6. I admire the DREAMers for not giving in to Trump's extortion for the wall. They would only be trading their liberty for temporary security. Most people eagerly accept this deal. (We are learning from history!) However if you really want to be accepted in America, then renounce social programs like food stamps and healthcare. After all you are young and healthy and productive and don't really need it. Then you will be accepted with open arms.

  7. So, it's the position of the author that the children of detained illegal immigrants should be housed in the same prison facility as the people who claim to be their parents or...?

    Tell you what, if a child is found on the border we ship them back to the Mexican government's version of child services that same day, sound kosher? I mean, no offense but dragging your 'children' across a desert without water is honest to god worse than most of the shit that gets American kids taken away from their parents by CPS. I know we're not in favor of agencies like the CPS generally speaking, but what business is it of ours if Mexico has such an agency?

    1. As a bonus, they might get one or two legitimate asylum claims out of it

      1. I'd like to ask this: If a bunch of American kids ran away from home across the border into Mexico, does that mean that Mexico is obligated to keep those kids there in Mexico? Apparently, the answer to this question is 'yes' which I find bizarre.

  8. The truly loathsome part about the family separation policy, was not really keeping the kids in cages - which was disgusting in and of itself - but the use of family separation as a weapon to deter migration from others.

    1. And the part where 'parents' drag their children through a few hundred miles of desert without water? What do we call that?

      1. It's called parents sacrificing and doing whatever it takes to give their children hope of a better future. You know, something that used to be considered a positive USian value until we went from being Home of the Brave to Home of the Pantswetters.

        1. Maybe, or maybe not. If an American did the same thing to take their kid to Mexico would you say the same thing?

          It seems that the implication in your comment is that Mexico is a hopeless place with no future. I had no idea you agreed with Trump on that assessment.

          1. I will say this those kids crossing the desert are doing better than the kids from the Donner party.

            that of course was a different time, or was it?

        2. We "Home of the Brave" Americans have a perfectly legal mechanism to allow foreigners to give "their children hope of a better future". It's called legal immigration and allows about 1,000,000 every year to do so. So rather than normalizing the act of breaking US laws, why not spend your efforts convincing our politicians to increase the number of immigrants who legally cross the border? But how many new immigrants do you think is appropriate? If you use the number of all foreigners who want "to give their children hope of a better future", then you should expect hundreds of millions within the first year alone. Better add on to your house since there will be 15-20 large families suddenly needing a place to live.

          1. why not spend your efforts convincing our politicians to increase the number of immigrants who legally cross the border?

            Sounds good to me! So I await your fiery denunciations of people like Steve Miller and Tom Cotton who want to reduce even legal immigration.

            1. Because he must have the same beliefs as you?
              You're hilarious.
              All penrose did is advise you of the proper method of getting what you want. But you've twisted that into some entitled expectation that he advocate for what you want.
              Maybe penrose is happy with current immigration levels or even (gasp!) would prefer the lesser levels that Miller and Cotton advocate. I don't know his preference since he never stated it directly.
              But somehow you, and this makes sense since your perspective is consistently collectivist, have projected your opinion onto him as if it were mandatory and come back with quite the zinger!

              1. Note: that zinger you threw back at penrose didn't include any suggestion of advocacy. You went straight to vitriol and hatred.
                Must be because everybody else is beneath you and your imaginary immigrant friends, which is quite frustrating.
                Physician, heal thyself

                1. No I don't expect everyone to have the same beliefs as me. I perhaps did misinterpret penrose's statement, that is true. If he doesn't want higher immigration either, then that's his choice. I do believe the correct viewpoint is to have a permissive immigration policy. I haven't been shy at advocating that. If you feel threatened by that then maybe you all should try coming up with some better arguments other than "they're bad people", which is the typical argument that is presented here day in and day out. That's not an argument, that's a scare tactic. But Team Red knows that their electoral victory is tied to stoking fear (this has been true well before Trump) and so that is what they do. And they have their true believers here on libertarian forums spreading their gospel. AND NO it's not JUST Team Red that does it, but Team Red is the least shy about deploying it.

                  1. "They're just bad people," really isn't the typical argument presented here, it's just the pathologic delusion you're obsessed with.

                    1. Chemjeff's only rationale for one one million legal immigrants not being 'enough' is based on freedom of association which is itself a right that only exists because god said so, even though god never said so in any of the god texts. To add more confusion, Chemjeff does not believe in god.

                      It's an exhibition in public school indoctrination coupled with watching far too much cable news.

                      I could forgive Chemjeff for a lot of his stupid opinions if he was actually a Christian, since at least then he would have some moral underpinning for his belief system. As is, he simply takes it as wrote fact without understanding a single bit of his own moral system.

                      And just so I don't confuse people, it's fine to believe in natural rights. They are fine limits upon government power, but as they only apply to our government it would be supremely unwise to assume that other people under other governments agree with us on those points and to allow unlimited influx from those places.

                      After all, it's not as if those places will return the favor and allow unfettered American emigration. Again, the biggest flaw in 'libertarian' thought like Jeff's is that the rest of the world continues to exist.

        3. Terrible analogy.
          There's a pretty big difference between wagon trains equipped with food, horses and survival gear and hiking your kids across the Chihuahuan with a couple of bottles of water and bag of Gansito's. Even then some ended horribly like the Donner Party.

        4. I'd have thought child sacrifice is exactly the kind of thing we're hoping to keep outside our borders

          1. +100

      2. A desperate act by desperate people.

        1. A desperate act by desperate criminals who dont want to respect Americans enough to follow our rules.

      3. And the part where 'parents' drag their children through a few hundred miles of desert without water? What do we call that?

        We call that 'just cause to move the southern border of the US to Cape Horn'.

        Because if the countries south of our border are so fucked up that parents are dragging their kids or, in some cases sending their kids out to maybe die instead of staying in them they don't deserve to be countries.

        How do you know a country is a shithole? When parents consign their children to the desert instead of trying to make a go of it in Mexico City, you might live in a shithole.

  9. Yo, Shikha, let's kick it!

    ICE ICE baby
    ICE ICE baby
    All right stop
    Collaborate and listen
    Setyon's back with my brand new investigation
    Border jumpin grabs me tightly
    I fight that Trump daily and nightly
    Will it ever stop?
    Yo, I don't know
    Turn off the truth and I'll glow
    To the extreme, I rock Reason like a vandal
    Light up hysteria and wax Trump like a candle

  10. For God's sake, get your facts straight. The Trump Administration didn't separate any families. The federal judge did that when he ordered all children crossing the border illegally with their parents could not be held in the same facility as their parents, i.e., they had to be separated from their parents. Are you obtuse or deceitful?

    1. "Are you obtuse or deceitful?"
      It's Setyon so the answer is both.
      He's never gonna earn a NYT column by being transparent and honest.

  11. "The Trump Administration Separated Thousands More Families Than We Thought"

    That pants shitting hysteria over "separated families" is the most moronic bit of faux outrage.

    Thousands of US families are separated daily by the criminal justice system.

    We don't put children in detention facilities with grownups. Duh.

    1. +100

      1. I wonder how many of these people oppose the New jersey gun control laws that were used to separate Shaneen Allen from her children.

        1. Way to miss the point.

          If you want to argue for Open Borders, put on your big boy pants and do so. Argue against the law, as people against gun control do.

          But "Wah! Enforcing this law separates families!" is not an argument unless you're coming out against enforcing *all* laws. Any honest grown up already knows that enforcing laws separates families.

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  13. ...and the way to stop it is to overturn the ridiculous Flores decision, and deport families intact back to their home countries when they enter illegally on spurious asylum requests. They came intact, they should leave the same way - within 72-hours.

  14. But here's the rub; it turns out that a lot of those "families" that were separated at the border weren't families at all. A disturbing number of those "children torn from their mothers' arms" were actually *no relation at all* to the adults who brought them in. In fact, having once shoved the kids across the border, the adults often abandoned them and went back south -- to provinces where Mexico has a lot of jobs waiting. So why did the adults drag those unrelated children along with them? Two unlovely answers readily suggest themselves.

    1. The kids might help support the migrants' pity-factor in getting across the border,
    2. To sell them. One of the criminal enterprises that previous migrants have established in the US is a network of, to be blunt, whorehouses for pedophiles. Healthy toddlers can sell for thousands of dollars.

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