Jeff Sessions ordered DOJ officials to ‘take away children’ at border: report
Sessions reportedly told U.S. attorneys that was what President Trump wanted, according to the New York Times.
A distressing new report is coming out of the Department of Justice that alleges top officials were a “driving force” in policy that separated thousands of migrant children from their families.
“We need to take away children,” former Attorney General Jeff Sessions told U.S. attorneys in a 2018 conference call, according to a bombshell New York Times article.
The report publishes details from a draft of a report from Michael E. Horowitz, the Department of Justice inspector general, exploring the family separation policy that detached at least 4,300 undocumented children from their parents at the southern border.
The Trump administration launched a “zero tolerance” family separation policy in 2018 crafted by Stephen Miller, a senior aide to President Donald Trump who recently tested positive for coronavirus.
Miller, Sessions and the DOJ earned criticism for child separation. But, according to the Justice Department, they were merely following Trump’s orders.
The “zero tolerance” policy, meant to discourage families from attempting to immigrate to the U.S., was enacted in April 2018 and ended two months later by executive order after images of children alone in cages sparked outrage throughout America and around the world.
The Times story published one prosecutor’s shorthand notes from the Sessions call, which read simply, “If care about kids, don’t bring them in. Won’t give amnesty to people with kids.”
Former Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein allegedly told government lawyers they should not have refused to prosecute two immigration cases simply because the parents had children who were “barely more than infants.”
“Per the A.G.’s policy, we should NOT be categorically declining immigration prosecutions of adults in family units because of the age of a child,” U.S. Attorney John Bash wrote.
“It is the hope that this separation will act as a deterrent to parents bringing their children into the harsh circumstances that are present when trying to enter the United States illegally,” a Border Patrol official wrote on Oct. 28, 2017 to the U.S. attorney in New Mexico, according to the draft report, The Times asserts.
The fallout from the DOJ’s policy led to the removal of Sessions, Rosenstein and the resignation of former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who reportedly opposed the policy but relented to the president.
Although the policy was ended except in cases where the parent was a danger to the child, the Southern Poverty Law Center alleges that border separations have continued into 2020.