The Trump administration has been holding back information, including telephone numbers and addresses, of parents whose children they separated at the border. The administration, in a deliberate and planned program intentionally broke apart migrant families to send a message to others from Central America to not come to the United States.
After federal courts ordered the administration to reunite families, 666 children remained without families. Investigators feared they would never see them reunited because the Trump administration had made little effort from the start to track them. There was never any intention to reunite the families when the program was instituted.
But now, in the waning days of the Trump administration, it turns out all along they had information that could have helped to reunite the children with their parents, but refused to hand it over.
"Legal advocates tasked by a federal judge with helping to find migrant families separated at the U.S. border in 2017 and 2018 say that after months of pleas, the government last week handed over new data that could be critical to helping them find the families," NBC News reports.
"Everyone's been asking whether the Trump administration has been helping to find these families. Not only have they not been helping, but they have been withholding this data forever," Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, told NBC News.
"We have been repeatedly asking the Trump administration for any additional data they might have to help locate the families and are only finally getting these new phone numbers and addresses."
Government ethics expert Walter Shaub weighed in:
Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX) says "a human rights commission should investigate what happened, even refer prosecutions."