"In the spring of 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented a 'zero-tolerance policy' for certain immigration offenses. As a result, DHS separated large numbers of alien families, with adults being held in Federal detention while their children were transferred to the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). On June 26, 2018, in a class action lawsuit, 'Ms. L v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)', a Federal District Court ordered the Federal Government to identify and reunify separated families who met certain criteria. Given the potential impact of these actions on vulnerable children and ORR operations, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted this review to determine the number and status of separated children (i.e., children separated from their parent or legal guardian by DHS) who have entered ORR care, including but not limited to the subset of separated children covered by 'Ms. L v. ICE.' In a separate review, OIG is examining challenges that ORR-funded facilities have faced in reunifying separated children. On the basis of those findings, OIG plans to recommend solutions to improve ORR program operations."
OEI-BL-18-00511; Office of Evaluation and Inspections-BL-18-00511
United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General: https://oig.hhs.gov/
HHS OIG Issue Brief (January 2019)