Top U.S. officials weren’t notified about family separations in advance

For several weeks now, it has been a known fact that many U.S. officials were not notified of the end to the family-separation policy by the Trump administration in advance. However, recent statements have further highlighted the lack of effective communication between the White House and top U.S. officials. Many of them have come forward to confess that they were only aware of the policy’s implementation when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced it publicly.

The officials would come from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to Health and Human Services and the Justice Department itself. They were reportedly notified of the measure on April 6, the same day of Sessions’ first speech addressing it. While the Attorney General’s announcement didn’t specifically mention family separation, it called for all illegal immigrants to be legally prosecuted. A former HHS official who left the department in mid-March had been constantly notified that the family-separating measure would not be adopted.

Many have stated that this lack of planning and organizing is the reason why several reunions between parents and children haven’t taken place yet. Over six hundred children are still separated from their parents and under the custody of the U.S. federal government. The problem has grown due to the fact that many of their parents have already been deported, and are being hard to track down.

Democratic Illinois Senator Richard Durbin was particularly vocal about the administration’s incompetence to prevent certain outcomes. He stated:

It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? The United States of America says, ‘We’re going to start separating kids forcibly from their parents. We’re not going to set up a system of tracking those kids so we can find them or match them back up with their parents. We’re just going to separate them. There were some very basic ways that we could have kept track of the children and parents.

These children’s condition has become a matter of national concern, as studies have shown that separation from parents at such a young age can cause for psychological damage. This was furthered confirmed during some family reunions in Phoenix, where two five-year-olds who had been kept together were unable to recognize their mothers and referred to each other as brother and sister.

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