Federal prosecutors did a dry run of family separations in Texas and found that children younger than 12 shouldn't be taken away from their parents
Migrants who are part of the policy of Remain in Mexico wait on February 28, 2020 in Ciudad Juárez at the entrance to the international bridge Paso del Norte. AFP / Paul Ratje via Getty Images
In 2017, prosecutors found that children under the age of 12 could not find their families on their own if they were separated during a "pilot" family separation program, NBC News reported.
The program took place from April to December 2017.
More than 300 families were separated in the program.
In 2018 the Trump administration introduced a "zero tolerance policy" program that separated infants from their imprisoned parents.
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In 2017, prosecutors found that children under the age of 12 could not find their families on their own if separated in a "pilot" program that was a precursor to the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, NBC News, would be reported.
NBC News received a draft of the Department of Justice's Inspector General's investigation into the "zero tolerance policy," introduced in 2018 that separated thousands of children from their parents.
In Inspector General Michael Horowitz's draft investigation, which is subject to change, NBC News received a copy of a Justice Department memo stating that the El Paso, Texas pilot program found that children under the age of 12 should not be separated .
The following year, the administration of President Donald Trump introduced a program to separate infancy children from their parents.
The 2017 pilot memo was being prepared for U.S. western Texas attorney John Bash, but NBC News reported, citing the IG's draft report, that it was never sent to DOJ officials in Washington, DC.
The pilot program ran from April to December 2017, and in August of that year prosecutors found that some of the children were too young to be separated, according to NBC News.
More than 300 families were separated in the program, including 11 children under one year old, 22 children under one year old and 28 children under two years old.
"The analysis focused on whether the child was mature enough to be separated from the accompanying parent. The agents were supposed to determine if the child could communicate effectively, where he came from, where he lived, where he was, where he wanted to go who it should meet, "the memo read, according to NBC News.
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that the DOJ Inspector General's draft report states that former Attorney General Jeff Session and other senior Justice Department officials are "a driving force" behind President Donald Trump's policy on child separation on the border between the USA and Mexico are.
Horowitz's investigation into the "zero tolerance" policy found that Sessions and former Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein called for the separation of children no matter how young they were. The draft, which is being examined by officials, is subject to change, the newspaper said.
"We have to take children away," Sessions reportedly told prosecutors on a phone call earlier this month.
Read the full NBC news report here »
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