The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday published the results of a 21-month investigation into the Trump administration’s infamous “family separation” policy, offering new insight into a process—described by the committee as “marked by reckless incompetence and intentional cruelty”—which has gained renewed attention in the run-up to the 2020 election.
US President Donald Trump participates in a ceremony commemorating the 200th mile of border wall at … [+] the international border with Mexico in San Luis, Arizona, June 23, 2020.
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The committee produced a 551-page report it describes as “the first complete narrative” of the family separation policy, based in part on primary source documents from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The report found that the Trump administration pressed ahead with its national implementation of family separations “despite full knowledge that hundreds of children would likely be lost to their families forever.”
Less than a month after President Trump’s inauguration, his administration began considering a child separation policy and then tested it with a pilot program in El Paso, Texas beginning in July 2017.
According to the report, during this five-month program, government officials acknowledged that they were unable to track separated family members in a way that allowed for their later unification but still launched the national program in May.
After months of separations, which the report says affected 856 children (26% of whom were under the age of