Border agents are separating immigrants from their children—a plan once floated by the Trump administration—despite denials that the policy was underway, the New York Times reports. With Congress seeking official numbers on immigrant/child separation along the southwest border and officials refusing to provide it, the Times dug up federal data showing that over 700 children (100 of them under age 4) have been separated from adults in the past six months. The Department of Homeland Security eventually acknowledged the numbers but said it was to "protect the best interests of minor children crossing our borders" and not to deter illegal immigration.
Such children torn from families are sheltered by nongovernmental organizations, which try to find a US guardian or relative to take the child—but if none emerge, the child can remain stuck in custody. Last year, as secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly floated the idea of child/guardian separation at borders, telling CNN he was considering it "in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network. ... They will be well cared for as we deal with their parents." Indeed there have been fraud cases, with some migrants admitting they brought children only to be admitted into the US more easily. Now the ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of immigrant parents trying to stop such border separations. (Read more illegal immigration stories.)