As Democrats and their media supporters continue to claim that the Trump administration is putting “kids in cages” — despite no such outrage when President Barack Obama did the same — a new report finds that the administration has reunited nearly all of the children separated at the border.
The report, from Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, looked at data produced by the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services and found that 95% of children who had been discharged from HHS custody had been “reunified with an individual sponsor or released to a parent.”
The data provided had identified 2,648 children who were believed to have been separated at the southern border. The committee only had data from HHS on 1,619 of those children, but found that 99% had been discharged from HHS custody.
“Of the 1,603 discharged children, 1,546 children—or 95 percent—were either reunified with an individual sponsor or released to a parent. Specifically, 1,061 children were released to a parent and 485 children were reunified with an individual sponsor,” the report found.
The remaining 73 children who were discharged but not reunited have also been accounted for. Sixteen are being cared for by HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (which determined four of the 16 hadn’t been separated from a parent), 21 had sought a voluntary departure and went back to his or her home country, 20 turned 18 while in custody and could no longer be held by ORR, eight were sent to another migrant program, six went to a DHS family shelter, one was granted immigration relief, and that last child was a runaway.
The report also noted that a federal court filing also found that ORR had discharged 99% “of children from its care since June 26, 2018.”
“According to HHS, children typically remain in ORR care for 60 days, although the average length of care has expanded to 78 days in fiscal year 2019. The HHS data show that ORR released 53 percent of the separated children in 60 days or less,” the report found.
It is important to remember why the children have been separated from their parents or whomever brought them across the border. The parents entered the U.S. illegally — some using children as a way to get around the laws — and were detained. Instead of sending the children to, essentially, jail with the adults, they are sent to a different facility. It is similar to what happens to an American child if their sole caregiver is arrested; they don’t also go to jail, they are sent to a family services facility or foster family. The conditions of where the children end up may be different — and that’s its own debate and issue — but the reasoning is similar.
The report also debunked the Democrat talking point that 30 kids remain separated from their families, noting that “these children remain separated largely because either the parents pose a danger to their child or the parents have expressed an intent not to reunify with their child.”
Because the report was produced by Republicans using data from the Trump administration, it should certainly be viewed with skepticism, but data are data, and one can’t argue with that. The numbers could also change if and when HHS releases data relating to the remaining 1,029 children that was not handed over to Oversight Republicans.