(CNN) – A new government watchdog report says the Trump administration’s family separation policy had major problems.
In June, images of children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border haunted both the public and elected officials.
A report from the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the department wasn’t ready to implement President Trump’s zero tolerance policy on immigration or deal with the dire consequences of it.
According to the report:
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an agency within DHS, detained 861 children who’d been separated from their parents for longer than the legally allowed 72-hour period.
- DHS struggled to identify, track and reunify families due to limitations with its information technology systems.
- DHS provided inconsistent information to people who arrived with children, causing some parents to not understand they’d be separated from their kids or be unable to communicate with them once they’d been separated.
In a memo, DHS defended the actions of Customs and Border Protection and blamed another agency, Health and Human Services, for detention delays.
A DHS representative said it’s difficult to enforce broken immigration laws, adding: “This administration will no longer turn a blind eye to illegal immigration and will continue to refer illegal border crossers for prosecution. We are committed to enforcing the rule of law.”
The administration had reversed course on family separations by June 20. As of last week, the government still had custody of 355 children separated from their parents.
On Tuesday, a contractor running a temporary shelter in Tornillo, TX, said the facility was still housing at least 1,600 children; they’re mostly children who came across the border by themselves and were not separated from their parents.
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