A leaked Trump administration memo shows that the government did consider separating families at the US border despite calling press reports on the matter ‘irresponsible and unproductive’.

The December 2017 document was given to Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office, which said it came from an anonymous government whistleblower. 

The memo, a draft of what was to become the administration’s official policy on family separation, shows that officials weighed ‘separating family units, placing the adults in adult detention, and placing the minors under the age 18 in the custody of HHS (Health and Human Services) as unaccompanied alien children’. 

According to comments on the document, the administration considered denying the children their right to asylum hearings before an immigration judge as a means of speeding up their deportation. 

Instead, the whole family would receive an ‘expedited removal’ order and separated while they await deportation.

‘If CBP issues an ER [expedited removal] for the entire family unit, places the parents in the custody of the U.S. Marshal, and then places the minors with HHS, it would seem that DHS (Department of Homeland Security) could work with HHS to actually repatriate [deport] the minors then,’ the comment says. 

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