A watchdog group is doing the oversight that congressional Republicans have failed to do, suing the Trump administration for failing to create records linking children stolen from asylum seekers at the southern border under the barbaric “zero tolerance” policy. Due to the administration’s failures, kids continue to remain separated from deported parents. “Rarely, if ever, has an agency’s violation of its statutory recordkeeping obligations had such grave implications,” said the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s (CREW) Noah Bookbinder.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), CREW alleges in the lawsuit, “falsely represented to the public its ability to track the thousands of parents and children harmed by its Zero Tolerance Policy. Equally troubling is the revelation, recently made by a former DHS official, that career DHS employees repeatedly raised concerns about the agency’s records management deficiencies during the rollout of the Zero Tolerance Policy, but that political appointees ignored those concerns.”
In a 60 Minutes interview just this past weekend—where Donald Trump repeated the lie that past presidents “had the exact same” policy—former DHS official Scott Shuchart confirmed that the administration tore families apart without ensuring they could be reunited back together. “People were removed to other countries without there being good records of what adult went with what child,” he said.
Last month, a report from the DHS inspector general “found no evidence” of a supposed “central database” DHS claimed connected parents and children. According to the report, “the OIG team asked several [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] employees, including those involved with DHS’ reunification efforts at ICE Headquarters, if they knew of such a database, and they did not. DHS has since acknowledged to the OIG that there is no ‘direct electronic interface’ between DHS and HHS tracking systems.”
The administration is continuing its war on the migrant children, detaining a record number across the U.S. while, as a hardline deterrent attempt, tear gassing asylum seekers on the other side of the southern border in order to block them from the right to ask for asylum. “With the administration considering reinstating a new form of their failed policy,” Bookbinder continued, “it is crucial that they be compelled to follow the law, which makes this lawsuit even more urgent.”