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Border Patrol agents take Central American asylum seekers into custody, June 12, 2018. By John Moore/Getty Images.
Border Patrol agents take asylum seekers from Central America into custody, June 12, 2018. By John Moore/Getty Images.

The Trump Administration separated many more families than previously thought

New reports show the true extent of the government's zero-tolerance policy: many more immigrant children were separated than previously believed.

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The cloud of the zero-tolerance policy is much broader than imagined, and it continues to haunt the Trump Administration.

According to a new report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Resources published on Thursday, the strategy of separating families began long before the announcement of the zero tolerance policy by the Department of Justice, and it extended until early November 2018.

Even though the government insisted that such a policy did not exist, and that the procedures to detain minors as if traveling unaccompanied - even when they had crossed the border with their parents - were not true, the new report agrees with previous investigations that determined that the Trump administration implemented this strategy from the outset of taking power.

The report also showed that, although there were similar procedures under previous administrations - which considered the mechanism in the event that the children were suspected of having been smuggled - under Trump, there has been "a sharp increase in separations,” the Washington Post explained.

"Based on available records, separated children accounted for 0.3 percent of all unaccompanied minors taken into HHS custody in late 2016, near the end of the Obama administration," the outlet explained. "By August of 2017, the percentage had increased more than tenfold, to 3.6 percent."

The inspector general adds in his report that the number is not conclusive, and that "how many more children were separated is unknown."

The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services have been responsible for the separation of the thousands of children from their families, and their confinement in makeshift detention centers, such as the legendary center in Tornillo (Texas), that recently closed its doors.

A court order in June 2018 required the government to reunify roughly 2,500 families, which the administration did not comply with, and by September, 1,500 children were missing from official records.

The report thus determined the extent of the negligence and administrative disorder created by Trump's policies, through measures considered inhumane by organizations such as Amnesty International.

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