WASHINGTON, D.C. — A draft DHS report reveals the deliberate steps the Trump administration took to separate families at the U.S.-Mexico border under its “zero tolerance” policy in 2018, drawing renewed attention to the administration’s pattern of cruelty and disregard for family unity contrary to American values.
The DHS report is just the latest evidence of a pattern of Trump administration immigration policies that harm children — just this summer, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement came under fire for its “shadow system” of detaining unaccompanied children as young as one year old in hotels — sometimes for weeks — before expelling them from the U.S. Additionally, a new report from FWD.us highlights how the administration’s approach to immigration has consistently harmed families, from dismantling DACA to terminating TPS to “zero tolerance” and more.
Faith leaders across the country have raised concerns about the administration’s lack of accountability or transparency regarding the treatment of migrant children. In August, more than a dozen prominent evangelical organizations sent a letter to Ivanka Trump urging her to “do everything within [her] influence” to ensure DHS follows laws protecting children from trafficking.
In 2018, a group of prominent evangelical leaders sent a letter to President Trump urging the administration to end the policy because of its harm to children and families. About 200 local pastors and ministry leaders from across the country added their names to the letter.
Law enforcement leaders also held a press call denouncing family separation and detention, pointing to the ineffectiveness and inhumanity of such policies.
Administration officials initially denied the separations were taking place, before later admitting to the practice but maintaining that it was not an intentional policy. However, the report released this week reveals that top Justice Department officials were “a driving force” behind the policy, with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly making President Trump’s wishes clear: “We need to take children away.”
“Make no mistake: The Trump administration’s treatment of children and families is not a result of incompetence — it’s cruelty by design,” said Ali Noorani, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “Government officials said it themselves: They’d rather take children away from their families than find compassionate immigration solutions.
“When it comes to the administration’s immigration policies, there is no difference between intent and impact. They have every intention of harming immigrant children and families. The evidence shows they were successful, which makes for a dark period in our nation’s history.”