In June 2018, President Donald Trump’s administration sought to alleviate concerns about thousands of children who were the victims of an immigrant family separation policy by suggesting that a “central database” would help bring all those involved together again.
In actuality, on the same day administration officials made those remarks, executive branch officials admitted in private emails to one another that such a database didn’t exist, according to reporting from NBC News.
“[I]n short, no, we do not have any linkages from parents to [children], save for a handful,” read an email from an official in the Department of Health and Human Services to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official. “We have a list of parent alien numbers but no way to link them to children.”
Coming up on @Morning_Joe with more on our exclusive reporting.
Emails show Trump administration was scrambling and failing spectacularly to link 2000+ separated parents and kids *the same day* they claimed they had a "central database" to reunite them. https://t.co/e2lKhj2HBq
— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) May 2, 2019
A small number of families — about 60 in total — were part of a database that could be used to reunite them right away. However, thousands of immigrant parents had been separated from their children after crossing the southern border in 2018, and the administration was forced to try and reunite these families using arduous, manual methods, a process it’s still using to this day.
The family separation policy ended on June 20, 2018 — just days before the administration suggested that the “central database” would help them reunite immigrant children with their parents. Trump signed an executive order ending his administration’s policy after enormous public outcry against it came about.
In spite of its unpopularity, administration officials recently said that Trump still believes that the policy was effective in deterring immigration to America, and that the president privately wants to reinstitute it, according to reporting from the Washington Post.
Per a New York Times report in early April of this year, the effects of the family separation policy will likely be felt for quite some time. An untold number of immigrant families remain separated from their children, and the process of reuniting them could take up to two years to complete, officials admitted.