Senior U.S. Justice officials pushed family separations, watchdog finds

16 Janvier, 2021, 20:46 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Feds failed to manage border policy that led to family separations IG report says

"Despite these concerns, the OAG focused exclusively on the increase in illegal entry prosecutions resulting from the El Paso initiative and did not seek readily available information that would have identified for them the serious issues that arose as a result of the prosecutions of family unit adults and corresponding child separations", it continued.

Lee Gelernt, the lead attorney in the American Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit against the government on behalf of separated families, called the practice, "immoral and illegal".

"This report reinforces what we already knew: the cruelty was the point and the government ripped families apart intentionally to keep families from seeking safety here", Bell said in a statement. "Just when you think the Trump administration can't sink any lower, it does".

Rosenstein did not reply to Insider's request for comment at the time of publication but told The Times he was regretful for his role.

"This report confirms what we already knew, that the Trump Administration meant to separate families at the border", House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement. "They knew the consequences and did it anyway".

President Donald Trump and top White House aides "aggressively" pushed for the policy that led to children being separated from their immigrant parents at the border, a new Justice Department report.

The separations resulted from then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions' "zero tolerance" policy, an April 2018 directive requiring prosecution of every adult who entered the United States irregularly, including parents travelling with their children.

Sessions assured USA attorneys on the border that families could be "immediately" reunited, according to a May 2018 conference call described in the report.

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Sessions was aware that the zero-tolerance policy would result in family separations, according to multiple DOJ leaders who spoke with the inspector general.

He told the prosecutors that they should not have refused to prosecute two cases because the kids were very young, The Times reported. Almost 550 children remain separated from their families, according to court documents released in October 2020.

Days after his speech in San Diego, U.S. Attorneys along the border raised concerns about family separations as well as the whereabouts of children, the review notes.

Sessions declined to be interviewed for the report.

The report noted that the DOJ "did not plan for the ... impacts that a substantial increase in immigration prosecutions resulting from the Zero Tolerance Policy would have on the United States Marshal's Service, the United States Attorneys' Offices, and the Federal Courts".

In a statement issued Thursday, Rosenstein said "zero tolerance" was a "failed policy that should never have been proposed or implemented". One wrote, "We have now heard of us taking breast feeding defendant moms away from their infants, I did not believe this until I looked at the duty log".

Then-AG Sessions and DOJ were 'driving...

"That is a false narrative because [Homeland Security] had to refer the cases, they could have categorically said, 'We are not referring people with children.' And that was not under our discretion", Whitaker told the OIG.

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