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The Intercept
August 3, 2018

Trump Officials Were Warned That Family Separations Would Traumatize Children
By Ryan Devereauz

The Trump administration’s decision to break from past practices and seek the criminal prosecution of every adult accused of crossing the border illegally, including asylum-seeking parents arriving with their children, was part of a sweeping series of actions spearheaded by Sessions, his former aide turned White House adviser Stephen Miller, and former DHS chief turned White House chief of staff John Kelly, and have been underway since Trump’s first week in office. It began with a pilot program in Texas last summer before going border-wide in the spring. Thousands of families were pulled apart in the process. Kids taken from their parents were sent to approximately 100 centers around the country; hundreds of parents were deported without them. While the project was premised on the idea that everyone eligible for prosecution would be charged — an embrace of the law and order rhetoric Trump bellowed about on the campaign trail — government data published last week by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University indicated that, in fact, many adults who crossed the border without children during the height of “zero tolerance” were not prosecuted. “Since less than a third of adults apprehended illegally crossing the border were actually referred for prosecution, the stated justification does not explain why this administration chose to prosecute parents with children over prosecuting adults without children who were also apprehended in even larger numbers,” the analysis noted.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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