In May 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the United States would adopt a “zero tolerance” policy of separating parents and children arrested while attempting to enter the country illegally.
“If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law,” Sessions told a group of law enforcement officials at an event in Arizona.
Less than a month earlier, Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen testified to the House Appropriations Committee that the department’s policy was to keep families “together as long as operationally possible” and that “when we separate we separate because the law tells us to.”
As of mid-June 2018, the federal government had separated and detained more than 2,000 children, housing many of them in chain-link cages in temporary facilities set up along the border.
American Oversight is seeking a broad range of records from the key agencies involved in the Trump administration’s policy of separating and detaining children of immigrants arrested at the border.