Watchdog sues Trump administration over family separation records

Watchdog sues Trump administration over family separation records
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A government watchdog group is suing the Trump administration for failing to create records linking immigrant children to their parents while separating them at the border.

In the lawsuit filed Friday against the Department of Homeland Security and DHS Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTrump puts Kushner in charge of overseeing border wall construction: report Hillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Minority lawmakers call out Google for hiring former Trump DHS official MORE, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) accused the administration of violating the Federal Records Act.

The 23-page complaint before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia also alleges the administration failed to establish an adequate agency-wide records management program.

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“Indeed, rarely has a records management failure had such catastrophic consequences: DHS ripped thousands of children away from their parents, failed to make and preserve adequate documentation of individuals taken into its custody, and, consequently, has been unable to reunify each of the families it separated,” CREW argues in the filing.

The lawsuit comes after the Washington Post reported earlier this month that President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE is considering a new separation policy.

“The Trump Administration’s haphazard implementation of the Zero Tolerance Policy paired with DHS’s failure to meet basic record-keeping requirements mandated by federal law has had catastrophic consequences on the lives of thousands of immigrants seeking entry to our country, even threatening the permanent separation of children from their parents,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.

“Rarely, if ever, has an agency’s violation of its statutory record keeping obligations had such grave implications. With the administration considering reinstating a new form of their failed policy, it is crucial that they be compelled to follow the law, which makes this lawsuit even more urgent.”

DHS declined to comment.