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Bloomberg Editorial: Still Dodging the Truth on Migrant Children

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“Who will be held accountable?”

Bloomberg’s editorial board published a scorching new opinion piece denouncing the Trump administration cruelty, depravity and lack of accountability regarding its zero tolerance policy that results in children being ripped from the arms of their parents at the border.

Excerpts of the editorial are below, and is available online here:

The Department of Homeland Security has mistreated migrant children, their parents and the very concept of truth. That, in a nutshell, is the conclusion of the DHS inspector general, who reported this month that the agency was never prepared, and remains unable, to responsibly carry out its border policy of “zero tolerance,” which resulted in separating migrant children from their parents.

Yet there is no indication that the DHS intends to change its slapdash ways, or that anyone will soon be held accountable. Last weekend, President Donald Trump even said his administration is considering renewing family separations as a means of deterring migrants and asylum seekers.

… The truth is, many of those children should never have been on their own in the first place. The forced family separations at the U.S. border earlier this year resulted directly from the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance policy,” which “fundamentally changed” the country’s approach to immigration enforcement, the IG found.

… The zero tolerance policy was steeped in bad faith from the start. On May 15, Nielsen told the Senate, “We do not have a policy to separate children from their parents.” On June 17, she reiterated the false claim in a tweet: “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.”

Trump himself affirmed the policy, but said it wasn’t his doing. “Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats,” he tweeted in June. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, responding to the anguish expressed by former First Lady Laura Bush, said the policy originated with the administration of her husband, President George W. Bush.

Falsehood has been piled atop falsehood.

… There was no reunification plan in place, and families have been separated for months. Some parents were deported at separate times and from different locations than their children. Migrant families that lawfully entered the United States at a port of entry seeking asylum were separated. And families that were separated due to entering the United States illegally between ports of entry have not been reunited following the parent’s completion of criminal proceedings and return to immigration detention.

Some parents among several hundred who were deported without their children say they were coerced into surrendering rights. One Salvadoran mother barely managed to regain custody of her young daughter, who was on the verge of being adopted by an American family, an Associated Press investigation found.

Other parents may have lost custody of their children without even being notified. Asked whether the DHS was working with deported parents to locate their children in the U.S., the agency issued a chilling response: “DHS is not aware of anyone contacting embassy or consulate in a foreign country to be reunified with a child. This is unsurprising given the fact that these parents made a knowing decision to leave their child in a foreign country.”

It’s true that, by now, most families have been reunited and that many deported parents have decided to leave their children behind in the U.S. to pursue asylum or other claims. It’s also true that not everyone who seeks to enter the U.S., legally or illegally, is benign. Border security is vital.

But two-year-olds clinging to their mothers are not security threats. The Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy was brutal and unnecessary. That it continues to be defended with falsehoods makes the obvious question more pressing: Who will be held accountable?