Trump officials had "no way" to link separated migrant families, emails show
A fence at the southern border wall in San Ysidro, California. File photo: Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty Images
Details: In the emails, a Health and Human Services official admits "we do not have any linkages from parents to [children], save for a handful ." The exchanges with a senior official at Immigration and Customs Enforcement are dated June 23, 2018 — the day the Trump administration said it would reunite migrant families via a central database.
We have a list of parent alien numbers but no way to link them to children."— HHS official
Why it matters: The experience led to a months-long effort to reunite thousands of families separated under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, per NBC News. The emailed comments fit with the findings of a September report by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General.
What they're saying: DHS told NBC the department and HHS entered data gathered on parents into spreadsheets, which was added to a SharePoint site HHS used that had existing information about unaccompanied children.
- Inside Trump's hardline new border planThe big picture: What we know and don’t know on child separation
- Homeland Security watchdog confirms chaos caused by zero-tolerance policy
- It may take 2 years to identify 47,000 separated migrant children
- The Trump administration has 6 months to identify migrant children