Category Archives: family separation (Trump administration)

Family Separation, Final Report


family separation – COMPLETE REPORT


a slave auction

A woman, identified only as Maria, is reunited with her son Franco, 4, at the El Paso International Airport after being separated for one month when they crossed into the United States. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Roger W. Smith. “Family Separation, a Trump Administration Policy: Its Implementation, Development, and Aftermath, 2017-2022”

The complete reported in posted here, above, as a Word document. Its main sections are as follows:

Family Separation Under the Trump Administration: A Timeline

Family Separation: A Daily Diary

Anecdotal: Individual Accounts of Migrant Children and Parents Separated by the Trump Administration Since November 2017

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   November 2022; updated February 2023

supermom Amy Coney Barrett on family separation


Since Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the Supreme Court, Republicans have suggested that one of the reasons she should be given a lifetime appointment on the highest court of the land is that she has seven kids. Barrett is “a remarkable mother” with “seven beautiful children,” Senator Thom Tillis said during the first day of her confirmation hearing [October 12, 2020]. She’s a “tireless mother of seven,” Senator Chuck Grassley told the room. “She and her husband have seven children,” Senator Lindsey Graham said in his opening remarks, in case anyone hadn’t heard, before giving her two more. “She and her husband have seven children. Two adopted. Nine seems to be a good number,” he said. Obviously, constantly bringing up this part of Barrett’s biography is part of an attempt on Republicans’ part to (1) draw a distinction between Barrett and what they view as childless heathen Democrats, (2) claim that any opposition to her confirmation is anti-mom, and (3) suggest that since she’s a mother, she must be a good person who couldn’t possibly issue rulings that would hurt millions of people.

But, surprise! Despite being a mother, Barrett is expected to help overturn the Affordable Care Act. … She will also very likely go after Roe v. Wade, if given the chance. … And even though she’s a mom of seven children, she apparently thinks the jury is still out on whether or not it’s bad to separate small children from their parents, if they happen to be from another country:

In one of the only discussions of immigration to arise during the confirmation hearings, Barrett declined to say whether she thought it was wrong to separate migrant children from their parents to deter immigration to the United States. “That’s a matter of hot political debate in which I can’t express a view or be drawn into as a judge,” Barrett said in response to a question from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Booker said he respected her position but asked again: “Do you think it’s wrong to separate a child from their parent, not for the safety of the child or parent but to send a message. As a human being, do you believe that that’s wrong?”

Barrett told Booker she felt as if he was trying to engage her on the Trump administration’s border separation policy. Under the policy, immigration officials applied a “zero-tolerance” approach to undocumented immigration and separated families crossing the border through Mexico. “I can’t express a view on that,” Barrett said. “I’m not expressing assent or dissent with the morality of that position—I just can’t be drawn into a debate about the administration’s immigration policy.”

Booker responded that, actually, he was simply asking “basic questions of human rights, human decency, and human dignity,” which one might think a staunchly pro-life individual and mother of seven might be able to answer.

— “Amy Coney Barrett, Mother of Seven, Not Sure If Separating Migrant Children From Their Parents Is Bad: The Supreme Court nominee curiously refused to give an answer on this one.” by Bess Levin, Vanity Fair, October 14, 2020


At her confirmation hearing on October 14, Senator Richard Blumenthal asked Barrett whether Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia were correctly decided. Barrett did not hesitate to reply yes. So Blumenthal pressed her on why she will not say the same about Griswold v. Connecticut, the landmark decision of the Supreme Court on the liberty of married couples to buy and use contraceptives.



What we have here is the usual coldhearted, calculated cunning.

The doctrine of “separate but equal” was court precedent, set by the court’s ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. But everyone now agrees that it is wrong. Yes, it was overruled (meaning that it was once the law). But no one questions now that it is and was morally wrong.

So, Barrett can make statements (judgments) about some court opinions and some doctrines, but not others? She can’t express a personal view on human grounds –as a human being, as a parent herself — on the morality of separating parents from children? I don’t care in what setting she is being asked to express views. She can’t see that it is wrong and flat out say it, regardless of how she has been coached? Would she not be prepared to say, without hesitation, that segregation and discrimination are wrong?

Barrett said “I’m not expressing assent or dissent with the morality of that position.” In other words, she can see in the abstract that such separations might be okay — or, to put it another way — that there is nothing a priori wrong with separating immigrant children from parents?

That’s deplorable.

Judges take upon the themselves the mantle of objectivity and impartiality. It’s as if they are supposed to be a tabula rasa.

Of course, this is not true of anyone’s psyche and does not accord with actual humanity.

This is creepy. Can’t one ascribe to being high minded, fair, impartial, “above the fray” without having to give up all “pretense” of being human, which is to say, normal — someone with certain feelings shared by normal people? Of having some basic notions of right and wrong that are “extra-juridical, in one’s heart and soul, that attest to certain values that make one precisely human and that reassure us that this is so. Are we hiring scrubbed and whitewashed minds for the court, who must leave their humanity at the door?


posted by Roger W. Smith

   November 2020

family separation repost XII – NEW DEVELOPMENTS


editorials – family separation

See attached downloadable Word document (above).


Since my last repost a few weeks ago, there have been significant new developments.

First of all, on October 5, 2020, The New York Times published a story that revealed the deception and deliberateness underlying the Trump administration’s family separation policy from its inception (first in secret): “

‘We Need to Take Away Children,’ No Matter How Young, Justice Dept. Officials Said: Top department officials were “a driving force” behind President Trump’s child separation policy, a draft investigation report said.”

That story has been reposted here.

Then, on October 20, NBC News broke the story that 545 separated children can’t be found and that the administration never kept track of them and is not even looking for them now, but has “outsourced” the job of trying to find parents of missing children to the American Civil Liberties Union and other private agencies. This story and a slew of others that followed are posted here — along with a story of how Trump handled these disclosures during his second debate with Joe Biden (by trying to blame family separation on President Obama and Vice President Biden and making claims that, essentially no harm was done by the family separation policy, while showing no concern or empathy for the trams parents and children undoubtedly experienced) . Recent editorials written in response to such disclosures have also been posted here — along with several news stories covering relatively recent developments.

Finally, I overlooked a number of news stories and editorials going back as far as June 2018 and have posted them here.


–Roger W. Smith

   October 2020

family separation repost XI (the family separation policy was deliberately implemented under Trump’s orders … officials who later denied it were fully aware … the Justice Department was instrumental from the outset in its implementation and demanded compliance from government prosecutors)


‘We Need to Take Away Children’ – NY Times 10-6-2020

Posted here is a self-explanatory news story from today’s New York Times:

‘We Need to Take Away Children,’ No Matter How Young, Justice Dept. Officials Said

Top department officials were “a driving force” behind President Trump’s child separation policy, a draft investigation report said.

By Michael D. Shear, Katie Benner and Michael S. Schmidt

The New York Times

October 6, 2020





A few noteworthy items (among other disturbing ones) in the Times story:

“Gene Hamilton, a top lawyer and ally of Stephen Miller, the architect of the president’s assault on immigration, argued in a 32-page response that Justice Department officials merely took direction from the president. Mr. Hamilton cited an April 3, 2018, meeting with Mr. Sessions; the homeland security secretary at the time, Kirstjen Nielsen; and others in which the president ‘ranted’ and was on ‘a tirade,’ demanding as many prosecutions as possible.” (Note blame-shifting. But, of course, Trump, who actually took credit later for ENDING the policy, blaming Obama for it, was the leader responsible for it.)

“Alexa Vance, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, disputed the draft report and said the Homeland Security Department referred cases for prosecution.”

‘The draft report relied on for this article contains numerous factual errors and inaccuracies,’ she said. ‘While D.O.J. is responsible for the prosecutions of defendants, it had no role in tracking or providing custodial care to the children of defendants. Finally, both the timing and misleading content of this leak raise troubling questions about the motivations of those responsible for it.’ ” (This is devious blame-shifting. What she in essence is saying is that once the children were separated and caged, DOJ was not responsible for what happened to them. As a matter of fact, no one in the government bothered to keep RECORDS of separated children and their parents, so that when a judge order reunification, no one could find them.)

“Government prosecutors reacted with alarm at the separation of children from their parents during a secret 2017 pilot program along the Mexican border in Texas. ‘We have now heard of us taking breastfeeding defendant moms away from their infants,’ one government prosecutor wrote to his superiors. ‘I did not believe this until I looked at the duty log.’ ” (The secret pilot program was revealed in November 2017 by Houston Chronicle reporter Lomi Kriel. See my post “Family Separation: A Daily Diary.”)


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   October 2020

family separation repost X (family separation and the coronavirus epidemic)



‘Judge postpones deadline for ICE to release minors from family detention facilties’ – CBS News


‘Sarah Towle, ‘Asylum-Seeking Parents Confront Sophie’s Choice’




See the following news story and post (downloadable Word documents above):


“Judge postpones deadline for ICE to release minors from family detention facilities,” CBS News, July 16, 2020

“Asylum-Seeking Parents Confront Sophie’s Choice,” Posted in Migration Americas on July 16, 2020



Roger W. Smith

    July 2020

family separation repost IX (litigation over migrant minors detained with their parents during the pandemic)


‘U.S. Must Release Children from Family Detention Centers, Judge Rules’ – NY Times 6-26-2020

Trump must comply with order to release detained migrant children – Washington Post 7-2-2020


As was noted in a Washington Post editorial of July 2 (posted here), “the three months-long litigation over migrant minors detained with their parents during the pandemic is the latest chapter in the sorry saga of the Trump administration’s efforts to use children as leverage in its war on immigrants.” Two articles about this are posted here.

The outrage of family separation Trump style has been mostly overlooked lately, being no longer the issue du jour. This is unfortunate — that’s an understatement.

The relevance of the so-called Flores Settlement to the issue is discussed briefly here. It is mentioned often in my previous posts on the subject.


— Roger W. Smith

   July 2020

family separation repost VIII (“Human Rights and the Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy”)


human rights


The above downloadable Word file contains my compilation of ongoing commentary and statements, from May 2018 to February 2020, in which the Trump administrations’s policy of forced separation of immigrant children from their parents (and vice versa) was subjected to critcism as a human rights abuse.

The document is 56 pages long.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

    June 2020

family separation repost VII


Trump digs in on false claim that he stopped Obama’s family separation policy – Washington Post 4-10-2019


The following is a new addition to my family separation posts (downloadable Word document above):

Trump digs in on false claim that he stopped Obama’s family separation policy

By Salvador Rizzo

The Washington Post

April 10, 2019


It’s a very important piece of news analysis which encapsulates what was wrong with the Trump administration’s family policy and how deviously it was implemented and defended — as we see here, by Trump himself. Such deviousness and dissembling were characteristic in varying degrees of architects and defenders of the policy such as Stephen Miller and Kirstjen Nielsen, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


— Roger W. Smith

   May 2020

family separation repost VI (Family Separation: A Daily Diary)


Family Separation – A Daily Diary

In my post “Family Separation: A Daily Diary” (downloadable Word document above), I provide a day to day account — from March 3, 2017 to March 30, 2020 — of how the Trump administration’s family separation policy, which was at first implemented secretly, was implemented by the Department of Homeland Security, became public, caused outrage, was supposedly rescinded, and was still carried on by various administration stratagems; and of the horrors of trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, which is a way of saying: reunite children who were not accounted for or kept track of by the administration with their parents.

The document is 186 pages long.


— Roger W. Smith

    July 2020

family separation repost V (individual stories of family separation under the Trump administration)


STORIES – family separation, etc


The downloadable Word document posted here (above) comprises a compilation by me of “horror stories” of immigrant children separated from their parents under the family separation policy that was implemented and carried out by the Trump administration from around July 2017 to January of this year as a means to deter immigration. The extent of this time frame takes into account that long after the policy was supposedly rescinded, in response to public pressure, many children remained separated from their parents, often because officials had never bothered to keep track of them.

The document posted here is 130 pages long.


— Roger W. Smith

   May 2020