Nov 27, 2019

DHS never had technology needed to track separated migrant kids

Photo: Tom Cooper/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) never had proper systems in place to keep track of separated migrant children under the "zero tolerance" policy, according to a new report from the agency's inspector general (IG).

Why it matters: Immigration officials knew about the tracking issues ahead of time and anticipated separating more than 26,000 children within a few months, but the policy was rolled out anyway. It took months for families to be reunited, causing thousands of kids to be traumatized. The IG could not confirm how many were impacted or whether all have been reunited.

  • "Without a reliable account of all family relationships, we could not validate the total number of separations, or reunifications," the IG wrote.

Between the lines: The report found that Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) knew it did not have the technology systems needed to keep track of separated kids as early as November 2017. The "zero tolerance" policy didn't fully go into effect until May 2018, and CBP had estimated they would separate more than 26,000 kids between then and September. Yet, the issues were never adequately addressed.

  • The policy wasn't effective either, according to the report..
  • "Instead, thousands of detainees were released into the United States. Moreover, the surge in apprehended families during this time resulted in children being held in CBP facilities beyond the 72-hour legal limit."

Read the full report.

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DHS renews facial recognition plans

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios Visuals

The Department of Homeland Security recently updated its proposal to include U.S. citizens in facial recognition databases when entering or leaving the country.

The big picture: This move is part of the agency's long-term plan to upgrade the TSA's biometrics and identification technology, which has included facial recognition testing at over a dozen major airports.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

Report finds infants and toddlers using screens in "high amounts"

Photo: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Children ages 1–3 years old are increasingly watching TV or using screen time in "high amounts," according to an analysis by the National Institutes of Health released Monday.

Why it matters: The World Health Organization and pediatric societies have recommended that preschool-age children get no more than one hour of screen time a day and should spend time being active. The average daily time spent using screens increased from 53 minutes at age 1 to more than 150 minutes at age 3, per the NIH.

Go deeperArrowNov 25, 2019

Pentagon inspector general to review troop deployments at southern border

An active-duty U.S. Army soldier scans for undocumented immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico border, Sept. 10, Penitas, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Defense Department's inspector general plans to review how U.S. soldiers are actually used to support security operations at the U.S-Mexico border, according to a memo first reported by NBC News.

Why it matters: The review could answer some questions posed by House Democrats, who are concerned that soldiers deployed to the border could violate laws prohibiting the use of the military in civilian law enforcement.

Go deeperArrowDec 10, 2019