Trump administration miscounted number of separated children

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The Trump administration failed to include at least 14 children in its count of migrant children who were separated from their families at the southern border, officials told a federal court late Thursday night.

The latest filing shows that the administration separated 2,668 children from their parents, rather than 2,654.

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the filing said it “recently completed another review of case management records to ensure that its characterization of certain children in ORR care remain accurate.”

The agency said it can provide the court with further information about the newly identified children.

“Defendants will further adjust their categorizations of children to the extent it becomes appropriate,” the agency said.

Complicating matters is that parents of seven of the children have criminal histories. Agencies do not immediately reunite children whose parents have “red flags” for dangerousness or lack of fitness.

The new numbers show just how much federal agencies were scrambling to implement the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, which resulted in the family separations.

A government watchdog report this week found both HHS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) were caught off guard when Attorney General Jeff Sessions released the “zero tolerance” memo in April.

Officials said they were unaware of the memo before it was released, and did not take specific steps in advance of the memo to plan for the separation of parents and children or potential increase in the number of children who would be referred to ORR.

To date, the administration said it has reunited 2,404 children with their families since a federal court ordered the reunifications to begin in June. 

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