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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.

Go deeper: DHS struggles with filling permanent leadership positions

Go deeper

30 mins ago - Health

CDC panel endorses Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

An advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday endorsed the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12-to 15-year-olds, following the FDA's emergency use authorization.

Why it matters: Approval from the CDC panel was the final step needed before inoculations could be offered at any vaccination site for this age group.

  • Pfizer has said its vaccine is 100% effective at protecting against COVID-19 in a trial of more than 2,200 children between the ages of 12 and 15.

GOP lawmakers downplay Capitol riot at House hearing

Photo: Jon Cherry via Getty Images

Republican members of Congress sought to minimize the Capitol insurrection at a House hearing on Wednesday, with statements calling pro-Trump rioters "patriots" and other lawmakers falsely denying demonstrators were supporters of the former president at all.

Driving the news: The hearing comes shortly after House Republicans voted to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from leadership over her criticism of former President Trump's actions leading up to and on Jan. 6.

McConnell, McCarthy say 2017 tax law is "red line" in infrastructure talks

The top Republicans in the House and Senate told reporters after meeting with President Biden at the White House that "there is a bipartisan desire to get an outcome" on an infrastructure package, but stressed that revisiting the 2017 tax cuts is a "red line."

Why it matters: Wednesday marked the first time that Biden has hosted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) at the White House.