Feinstein Blasts Trump for Turning Hundreds of Immigrant Children into Orphans

Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) blasted the “deeply immoral and haphazard” Trump policy of “systemic separation of immigrant children from their parents without plans to reunite them,” saying the Trump policy “may essentially orphan hundreds of immigrant children.”

“In addition, the Washington Post reported over the weekend that Customs and Border Protection was so unprepared to grapple with this crisis that President Trump created that it called these separated families ‘deleted family units.,’” Feinstein said.

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“We’re here today because the Trump administration has pursued what I believe is a deeply immoral and haphazard policy that fundamentally betrays American values. This administration has elected to engage in the systematic separation of immigrant children from their parents and without any plan to reunite them.”

Pointing out that we have no specifics about the children who remain separated, the Democrat continued, “The little we have learned has come out of the case in the Southern District of California overseen by Judge Dana Sabraw. According to the joint court filing by the Department of Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union from last Friday: 2,551 children aged five to 17 were taken from their parents at some point. These children were required to be reunited by last Friday, July 26th and the government did not meet the deadline. Rather, only 1,442 of those children were reunited with their parents.”

The incompetence is stunning, as Feinstein points out that the government doesn’t even know who or where the parents are for 94 children, “Twenty children the government thought they separated from their parent turned out [not] to have been unaccompanied from the outset; 431 children remain alone in the United States because their parent has already been deported. Shockingly, the government does not even know who or where the parents are for 94 children. This makes clear that the government did not track them in the first place. There was no effort to ensure the government knew which children belonged to which parents and where they were located.”

The Senator explained that another 67 children were not reunified with their parent because of some ‘red flag’ in their background and she mentioned that The New York Times reported that “the Trump administration may be pressuring people by ‘using kids as hostages to get people to give up their [asylum] claims,’.”

“They take the children, and then tell the parents if they agree to deport on their own, ‘you can see your child at the airport’ and if not, ‘we will hold you for months; we don’t know when you will see your child.’”

An estimated Some 2,500 children were separated from their parents a result of Republican President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.

The administration knew in advance that the policy could cause great harm to children, but implemented it anyway.

A senior official at the agency tasked with caring for immigrant children who are separated from their parents said that he warned officials – before Trump enacted the policy of separating children from their parents – that separating them from their parents would cause “significant risk” of harm.

Jonathan White told Congress that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) had “raised a number of concerns” about the proposed policy in the year preceding its implementation, according to reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Richard Cowan for Reuters.

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