New information disclosed by U.S. government officials establish that in 2018 the Trump Administration actively pursued the separation of families arriving along the southern border of the United States, and that the goal of the policy was to deter people from entering the United States.
Michael E. Horowitz, the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice, is in charge of a draft report on the policy, which the Trump Administration abandoned after worldwide condemnation.
“We need to take away children,” then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions told U.S. attorneys working in locations near the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Trump Administration separated at least 5,000 families before a federal court ordered an end to the policy and the reunification of the separated families.
The draft report states that “The department’s single-minded focus on increasing prosecutions came at the expense of careful and effective implementation of the policy, especially with regard to prosecution of family-unit adults and the resulting child separations.”
In the draft report, which has not been released publicly, U.S. government officials noted that in a meeting about the policy, President Trump “ranted” and was on a “tirade,” and was “demanding as many prosecutions as possible.”
The draft report also includes details about U.S. immigration officials “taking breastfeeding defendant moms away from their infants.”
Mr. Horowitz concludes in the draft that senior U.S. officials, including then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, were aware that “the prosecution of these family-unit adults would result in children being separated from families.”