The Trump administration separated thousands more children than was previously admitted, The Daily Beast reported on Thursday. Authorities do not know what happened to many of these children.
Before the “family separation” policy was instituted in the spring of last year, thousands of migrant children were taken away from their parents who crossed the border, according to the director general for the Department of Health and Human Services. Before then, about 3,000 children were taken from their families over the summer.
The separations did not stop, they only continued at a reduced rate for the rest of the year.
An official from the HHS Office of Inspector General said “We don’t have any information on those children who were released prior to the court order.”
He added, “how many more children were separated is unknown, by us and HHS.”
Under the Obama administration, 0.3% of underaged, undocumented children were separated from their parents. By August 2017 under the Trump administration, the number rose to 3.6%.
Trump ended the formal family separation policy on June 20, 2018. Less than a week later, a judge ruled that the families separated at the border could be reunited. Over five months later, many families are still separated.
The report said that the government does not know how many children were separated or how many children were reunified with their families. This is partly because the Department of Homeland Security was informally tracking separation in 2016 on an excel spreadsheet.