Leaked Emails Show Trump Admin Lied About Reuniting Caged Migrant Children With Parents
Leaked government emails show the Trump administration had no database to reunite nearly 3,000 families separated by Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, despite promising to do so on on June 23, 2018.
On June 23, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security issued a fact sheet that falsely claimed that Trump officials “have a process established to ensure that family members know the location of their children,” with “a central database which HHS and DHS can access and update.”
In reality, there was no database with information for both parents and children; the Department of Homeland Security had lied.
NBC News notes that on that same day, Thomas Fitzgerald, a data analyst at Health and Human Services, emailed Matthew Albence, then-head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s enforcement and removal operations, that they could only reunite “handful” of children:
[I]n short, no, we do not have any linkages from parents to [children], save for a handful. We have a list of parent alien numbers but no way to link them to children.
Fitzgerald asked for “alien numbers” of separated parents to be filled into a spreadsheet of 2,219 children, but Albence — now the acting head of ICE — replied in clueless fashion:
[A]re you saying you don’t have the alien number for any of the parents? [T]he type and volume of what you are requesting, is not something that we are going to be able to complete in a rapid fashion, and in fact, we may not have some of it.
Fitzgerald told Albence that Health and Human Services did not have a way to reconnect the thousands of children with their parents, and could only reconnect “about 60.”
The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General said in a September 2018 report there was “no evidence” of a centralized database “containing location information for separated parents and minors.”