The Trump administration began ripping apart families under the brutal “zero-tolerance” policy and ended up separating nearly 3,000 migrant children from their parents.
President Donald Trump eventually caved to mounting pressure and signed an executive order halting family separations. Although no more children were reportedly taken away from their parents after that, those already separated remain detained and continue to live in dire conditions.
Details from child immigration centers revealed the ugly realities of the Trump administration’s draconian immigration practice.
A 14-month-old migrant child, who was separated from his parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, was reunited with his family months 85 days later, but his condition was not the same. He was reportedly covered in lice and had not bathed all this time.
His mother, Olivia Caceres, filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration. The lawsuit alleged the woman was not with her son for 12 weeks and when he was eventually returned to her, they boy was covered in “lice and dirt.”
“He continued to cry when we got home and would hold on to my leg and would not let me go. When I took off his clothes, he was full of dirt and lice. It seems like they had not bathed him the 85 days he was away from us,” she said.
Caceres added, “[My son] is not the same since we were reunited. I thought that, because he is so young he would not be traumatized by this experience. But he does not separate from me. He cries when he does not see me. That behavior is not normal.”
Details of the lawsuit were reported by PBS’ Lisa Desjardins. She added when the Health & Human Services (HHS) department was contacted, they denied the claims.
According to HHS secretary Alex Azar, nearly 2,300 children were separated from their parents. However, he later admitted to reporters the actual number is around 3,000.
The court ordered a deadline to reunify the youngest children by July 10 and all children by July 26. At first, Azar said the Trump administration would meet the deadline and reunite all children by the given date.
However, now the administration is saying they need more time.
Amidst the chaos to reunite children and parents, it is now also being reported that records linking the families, including “family identification number,” have disappeared and some have even been destroyed, leaving the authorities scrambling to find ways to identify connections between migrant family members, according to two Department of Homeland Security officials.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters, Daniel Becerril