Home / Politics / 200 days since a judge's reunification deadline, kids stolen from families are still in U.S. custody

200 days since a judge's reunification deadline, kids stolen from families are still in U.S. custody

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31:  Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) called on Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to step down during a hearing with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-NH) (L) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill July 31, 2018 in Washington, DC. The committee questioned officials from the Boarder Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice about the separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border at the government's efforts to reunify those families.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Monday, Feb. 11, marks 200 days since a federal judge’s reunification deadline, but children stolen from families at the southern border continue to remain in U.S. custody. The Trump administration marked the anniversary by denying the existence of a policy that resulted in the children’s jailing in the first place. During his appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker claimed that “there was no family separation policy,” earning a frustrated head-shake from Washington state Rep. Pramila Jayapal. “This has been given four Pinnochios multiple times,” she replied:

While it’s true that there is no DOJ document called “family separation policy,” there was a formal “zero tolerance” policy, which resulted in parents being prosecuted for illegal entry and their kids being taken away.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) recently released an internal government memo indicating that officials were aware the zero-tolerance policy would result in families being separated.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, another prolific liar in the Trump administration, has also lied to Congress about state-sanctioned kidnapping at the border, claiming that “we’ve never had a policy for family separation.” But the memo obtained by Merkley’s office showed “high-level administration officials” plotting how to deter migrants at the border in 2017. “The second item on the list is a policy to ‘separate family units,’” The Washington Post reported. Whitaker and Nielsen can twist themselves into pretzels about the policy, but it doesn’t change the fact that tearing families apart was the goal. Misery was the goal. Cruelty was the goal.

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