Trump Admin Projected Separation of 26,000 Migrant Kids at Border, DHS Watchdog Says

A new Department of Homeland Security report also says the Trump administration knew it lacked the technology to track and reunite children with their parents

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Loren Elliot/AFP via Getty Images

The internal watchdog for the Department of Homeland Security found that the Trump administration anticipated it would separate 26,000 children if the "zero tolerance" policy of 2018 had been allowed to continue, and that the agency knew it lacked the technology to track and reunite children with their parents, NBC News reported.

Officials at Customs and Border Protection, the DHS agency responsible for separating families under the May-June 2018 policy, estimated in May of that year that it would separate more than 26,000 children by September, according to the report from the DHS Office of Inspector General, released publicly on Wednesday. After mounting pressure, President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending the policy on June 20, 2018.

Previously, the administration has said in court that an estimated 2,800 children were separated as a result of zero tolerance. But the report released Wednesday said that the lack of technology to track which children had been separated meant the agency had to revise that estimate to 3,014.

In an earlier report, the inspector general's office found another 136 children with potential family relationships that had not been reported and an additional 1,233 children who had potentially been separated before separations began.

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