It’s up to 5,460. That’s how many migrant children have been stolen from their families at the southern border since the beginning months of the Trump administration, NBC News reports. The American Civil Liberties Union, which successfully sued over the inhumane family separation policy, said last week that 1,556 of those kids were stolen beginning in July 2017, months before any policy was officially implemented the following spring.
“The count is a milestone in accounting for families who have been touched by Trump's widely maligned effort against illegal immigration. The government identified 2,814 separated children who were in government custody on June 26, 2018, nearly all of whom have been reunited.” But while a federal judge ordered a stop to the policy that month, border officials exploited a loophole in his ruling and stole an additional 1,090 kids, sometimes based on outright lies, including falsely accusing parents fleeing gang violence of being gang members themselves.
This inhumane tally of nearly 5,500 children represents one of the cruelest acts of the Trump administration, and a dark and evil policy that was condemned by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights as “a gross human and civil rights violation” in a report released earlier month, saying that the policy resulted in “widespread, longterm, and perhaps irreversible physical, mental and emotional childhood trauma.”
Irreversible physical, mental, and emotional trauma to children and babies as young as four months old. NBC News reports that of the children stolen after the July 2017 period, 207 were younger than 5. Because the administration didn’t care enough to even properly track who was being stolen from who, “volunteers working with the ACLU are searching for some of them and their parents by going door-to-door in Guatemala and Honduras,” NBC News continued.
"It is shocking,” said Lee Gelernt of the ACLU, “that 1,556 more families, including babies and toddlers, join the thousands of others already torn apart by this inhumane and illegal policy. Families have suffered tremendously, and some may never recover." May never recover, yet the architects of this policy remain unrepentant. During a widely criticized appearance at a Fortune event last month, former Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen expressed no remorse for her role in state-sanctioned kidnapping, saying “I don’t regret enforcing the law.”