The Trump administration said Thursday it was holding “under 3,000” immigrant children separated from their parents by immigration officers after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The admission by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar increased the number of separated children known to be in U.S. custody by nearly 1,000. The admission came ahead of a federal judge’s deadline next Tuesday for the administration to reunite children under 5 years old with their parents. The administration now says there are about 100 such children. Just last week, Azar told lawmakers he could locate all of the separated children at the push of a few buttons.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar: “There is no reason why any parent would not know where their child is located. I could, at the stroke of—at keystrokes—I’ve sat on the ORR portal—with just basic keystrokes, within seconds, could find any child in our care for any parent.”
Azar’s statement that nearly 3,000 children remain in custody has increased fears that some separated children may never be reunited with their parents.