In the absence of a centralized database, the total number of children affected by this policy remains “unknown” today and much larger than announced.
In 2017, the practice became a sensitive social issue, prompting Donald Trump to stop it. But, according to an official report released on Thursday, the separation of migrant children from their parents began in the United States long before it became a scandal. To the point that it would concern “thousands” of minors more than estimated so far.
In the absence of a centralized database, the total number of children affected by this policy remains “unknown”, according to this report by the Inspector General of the Ministry of Health.
” Zero tolerance “
In the spring, President Donald Trump’s government enacted a “zero tolerance” policy against illegal immigration that led to the separation of many families, sparking an uproar even within the Republican ranks.
In June, the Republican billionaire had ordered to end it and on June 28, a judge ordered to reunite divided families. The authorities then identified just over 2,700 children to reunite with their parents, and the vast majority of them found them well.
But, according to the authors of the report, the separation of families began to increase in the summer of 2017. “Thousands of separated children” had passed through the structures dedicated to isolated foreign minors before the court decision, according to this report. Since they were no longer in detention on June 28, they were never counted.
As for those who were still in reception centers on that date, the authorities found it difficult to identify them. In the absence of a centralized system, they had to look into 60 different databases and a first list contained 3600 names, according to this report.
118 children concerned between July and November
Nearly a thousand were stricken off the official list, mainly because they were children recently removed from reception centers, or because they had been separated from other members of their family ( brother, sister, uncle …) but not their parents.
Since this summer, the administration has held its accounts better: 118 children, aged 1 to 17 years, were separated from their parents at the border between July and November, especially because they were targeted by criminal prosecution.