Justice officials blame Trump, regretting new report on family separation

WASHINGTON – After a new report blamed new officials of the Justice Department’s surveillance department for being the “driving force” behind the Trump administration’s 2018 migrant family segregation policy, former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein regretted and present The statement of DOJ officer Jean Hamilton released. Blamed the President for the policy.

Jean Hamilton, known as a close aide to White House adviser Stephen Miller, said in an interview with the DOJ Office of Inspector General, leading the report, of separating families known as the “controversial policy” The decision, which went on in the past. It was terminated by executive order two months earlier in 2018, eventually resting with President Donald Trump and then-Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.

Hamilton said, “If Secretary Nielsen and DHS do not want to send people with minors to children, we will not sue them because they would not have referred them.” And ultimately the decision will be between Secretary Nielsen and the President. ” According to the report, told the Office of the Inspector General.

In response to the report, Rosenstein, who left the department in May 2019, said in a statement to NBC News, “Since leaving the department, I have often asked myself what we should have done differently, and an issue in my thinking. Has not dominated compared to a zero tolerance immigration policy. It was a failed policy that should never have been proposed or implemented. I wish we all had done better. “

The then Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Rosenstein, Hamilton and others met with Nielsen during a meeting at the Department of Justice on April 20, 2018, the report stated. According to Hamilton’s notes, “Both the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General expressed a desire to prosecute adults in family units if DHS decided to start referring such individuals for prosecution.”

The interview was denied by the inspector general of the session and could not be reached for comment. The White House referred NBC News to the Department of Justice for comment.

NBC News previously reported on the draft version of the report in October.

The report, published Thursday by the Department of Justice’s inspector general, more than two years after the policy ended, coupled with decisions made by high-ranking Trump administration officials, led to the separation of more than 3,000 migrant families.

“We conclude that the department’s single focus on increasing immigration prosecutions has come at the expense of careful and appropriate consideration of the impact of family unit prosecutions and child separations,” the inspector general’s report said.

The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy instructed US lawyers to illegally prosecute all adults crossing the southern border – whether they were children or not. As a result, border agents were instructed to send the children to health and human service custody while their parents were prosecuted.

Reportedly, many US attorneys along the southern border raised concerns over whether migrant parents who were being asked to prosecute would be reunited with their children, or whether some children were young to be separated. Can occur.

The then US Attorney John Bash of the Western District of Texas communicated with Rosenstein about his understanding of policy based on his direction with other US attorneys.

“I just talked with DAG (Rosenstein.) He directed that, per [Attorney General’s] As per policy, we should not explicitly reduce the immigration prosecutions of adults in family units due to the age of the child, ”according to Bash’s notes contained in the report.

In a court filing on Wednesday, free lawyers tasked with finding separate families and giving them a chance to reunite, saying they did not yet have parents of 611 children. Among them, lawyers estimate, parents of 392 children have been deported, making it difficult to track them down.

The report could provide a road map for the incoming Biden administration, which is responsible for investigating those responsible for the presidential election, calling Biden the culprit.

Biden has promised to set up a task force to find isolated families and to lead the Justice Department – “a full investigation into whether responsible and criminal.”

Biden made this pledge at a news conference last week, noting that his attorney general would eventually decide who to prosecute.

A former DOJ official, responding to the report from NBC News on condition of anonymity, said, “I think the most important thing in this is the deep motivation and deliberate knowing of the effort to separate the whole family. Attempt will have to be made regardless of the harm that is going on. For parents and children. And there is a strong belief in the actors here, and other parts of the government, that cruelty was intended and it was up to the government for four years There was an acceptable way of working. “

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