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Lack of prep plagued Trump’s child separation border policy: watchdog

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The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration crackdown at the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year was plagued by a lack of preparation, resource shortfalls and communication failures, according to a government audit released on Tuesday.

The review, conducted by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General, is the first official audit of President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, criminally prosecuting parents and sending their children to shelters and foster homes across the country.

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Trump administration officials have said the policy, under which some 2,600 children were separated from their parents, was needed to secure the border and deter illegal immigration.

Trump was forced to end the policy after widespread public furor over the separations and the chaotic way in which they were conducted, with hundreds of parents deported without their children.

The inspector general’s findings “illustrate the difficulties in enforcing immigration laws that are broken and poorly written,” DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman said in an emailed statement. “This administration will no longer turn a blind eye to illegal immigration and will continue to refer illegal border crossers for prosecution.”

The audit found that hundreds of migrant children were detained for longer than the three-day limit allowed at U.S. Border Patrol facilities, including one who was held for 25 days.

By law, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which has very basic holding facilities, is allowed to detain unaccompanied migrant children for up to 72 hours before transferring them to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

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The audit also found serious issues with how records on separated families were kept. After the separations, the government struggled to “identify, track, and reunify parents and children” in part because technology systems used by agencies within DHS and HHS could not directly share information.

Border Patrol agents did not take measures to ensure that young children who could not yet talk could be correctly identified, failing to provide them with identifying wrist bracelets or fingerprinting or photographing most children, the report said.

Furthermore, claims by DHS in late June that it had a “central database” containing information for separated parents and children were not backed up by the review. The inspector general “found no evidence that such a database exists,” the report said.

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As a result, it took DHS “many weeks” to provide the inspector general with basic information on migrant children separated from their parents, and the data, when finally provided, was “incomplete and inconsistent.”

According to a court filing by the government on Thursday, 136 children separated under the “zero tolerance” policy remain in government custody and apart from their parents.

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Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Sue Horton and Bill Berkrot


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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These 7 details from the damning Sharpiegate report show it was a dark omen of Trump’s destructive potential

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While it was dismissed by some as an overhyped media obsession, the presidential scandal that has come to be known as "Sharpiegate" was, in fact, an early warning sign of the truly catastrophic potential of Donald Trump.

The story arose out of Hurricane Dorian, which began its deliberate march up toward the East Coast of the United States in late August and early September of 2019. It ravaged the Bahamas, and officials feared the damage it could inflict stateside. But then came a Trump tweet on Sept. 1, and later comments to reporters, in which he warned that Alabama was in the storm's path. He said it was among the states "most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated."

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Florida governor finally releases the true numbers of people hospitalized with coronavirus

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finally caved in to pressure to release the actual numbers of coronavirus cases in the state's hospitals.

Until Friday, DeSantis had refused to reveal the true numbers, leaving many in the state unaware of just how bad the cases were. According to the Orlando Sentinel, a whopping 7,000 Floridians are in hospitals hoping they survive the virus.

"The data, which for the first time breaks down the number of people in the hospital with coronavirus, was promised by the state two weeks ago," the report explained.

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MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace asks why Bill Barr is trying to ‘erase Robert Mueller’s investigation’ before November

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MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace returned to television Friday night to address what she called outright corruption in the Trump White House after another example of the president trying to escape the consequences of the law.

Wallace began by calling Attorney General William Barr nothing more than Trump's "bouncer."

"He has been intellectually overestimated from day one. He is not a mastermind of anything," said Wallace. "He is Donald Trump's body man."

She cited "well-sourced spin" coming from the White House Friday evening, because there were people that she said were "enlisted" with trying to talk Trump out of commuting Roger Stone's sentence. She anticipated that Barr and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone may huff and puff about the act, but that they won't quit over it. "And we should remember their names forever. They are all accomplices in the greatest corruption of one of the most sacred powers."

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