At the height of the child-separation scandal last summer, the Trump administration insisted it would be able to bring thousands of migrant families back together with the help of a mysterious “central database.” But emails leaked to NBC News show there was no effective database, and an official privately briefed the government that there was only enough information to reconnect 60 parents with their kids. “In short, no, we do not have any linkages from parents to [children], save for a handful,” according to a June 23 email from a Health and Human Services official to a top official at Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “We have a list of parent alien numbers but no way to link them to children.” With no master database, officials had to review all the relevant records manually—a process that is reportedly still continuing to this day. NBC News reports that as many as 55 children separated last year under Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy are still in custody at shelters around the country.
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