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Why did the Trump Administration Meticulously Track Reproductive Cycles of Immigrant Girls in Custody, But Fail to Create a Tracking System for Separated Families?

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Friday, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC reported that the Trump administration meticulously tracked pregnancies, reproductive cycles, and details of how immigrant girls became pregnant, among other personal information.  Maddow noted that some entries were made in June of 2018, during the height of the Trump family separation crisis in which the administration deliberately took children from parents, designated children as “unaccompanied,” prosecuted parents for misdemeanors, deported parents without their children often through coercion and misrepresentation, and failed to track family units so they could remain in communication and eventually reunite.     

We now know, as a result of multiple government reports (HHS Inspector General, DHS Inspector General, General Accountability Office), the Trump administration implemented the family separation policy without tracking systems or planning that would allow the federal government, parents, children, and their advocates to swiftly locate separated family units and keep them in contact with each other, much less swiftly reunify them. As a result, the stories of parents spending weeks and months unable to locate, communicate, much less reunite with children are sadly abundant.  

Ur Jaddou, Director of DHS Watch and former USCIS Chief Counsel, said:  “At the same time that the Trump administration was diligently tracking reproductive cycles and intimate details of immigrant girls in painstaking detail, the administration failed to consider even a rudimentary system that could effectively track thousands of families it cruelly and inhumanely separated.  As a result, those caring and advocating for separated and traumatized children and their distraught parents, in and outside the government, were left scrambling in search of ties between parents and children. The result was confusion, long-term and severe trauma to children and families, and many deportations of parents without their children that many fear, including the judge presiding over the family separation case, could result in the federal government creating orphans. That the family separations occurred at all is a major problem, compounded by the lack of tracking, but the meticulous tracking on teenager’s menstrual cycles is ghoulish and adds insult to injury.”