DHS ‘not fully prepared’ to implement border child separation policy, IG finds

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The Trump administration’s policy of taking children away from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border has sparked backlash and protests, like this one in Cincinnati in early July. | Associated Press file photo

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security was “not fully prepared to implement” the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of separating children from their parents, at the southern border, according to an Inspector General report obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The IG also said in the report about to be released on Tuesday that the DHS also “struggled to identify, track and reunify families separated under the zero tolerance policy “due to limitations with its information technology systems.”

DHS also provides “inconsistent” information to parents who arrived in the U.S. during Trump’s controversial immigration crackdown – either as illegal immigrants or asylum seekers – “which resulted in some parents not understanding that they would be separated from their children” and not be able to communicate with them, the report said.

On April 8, President Donald Trump ordered DHS and several other agencies, including the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, to start detaining suspected illegal immigrants rather than release them while their cases are pending.

In early May, DHS determined that minor children would be separated from their parents under the zero tolerance policy, transferred from DHS custody to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Lack of adequate “reliable” data on family separations was a problem, the IG report found. The IG review focused on facilities in Texas.

DHS officials said in a response to the report that it “provides no mention of the Department’s significant accomplishments to reunify families.”

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