WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — It’s been one year since the president ordered his zero-tolerance immigration policy, which led to the separation of thousands of migrant children from their families.
To mark the occasion, protesters erected a cage on the Capitol lawn. The art installation by artist Paola Mendoza represents the plight of migrant children.
“Family separation when the policy was announced and when it was happening last year, it was a moment of anger despair frustration,” Mendoza said.
While the policy ended, there are many unanswered questions, like how many kids were separated.
“So this installation is here as a reminder,” Mendoza said.
The Trump administration was separating migrant families at the US border before the zero-tolerance policy was announced and there’s a possibility thousands of additional children could have been taken from their parents, according to the Inspector General’s report. It also says the government may have lost track of many of the children.
Acting Secretary of DHS Kevin McAleenan disputes this.
“It was an extraordinarily rare circumstance before zero-tolerance. It’s an incredibly rare circumstance now,” he said.
McAleenan said last week that only about one dozen separated migrant children remain unidentified.
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley worries about the administration’s ongoing policies, like attempts to extend legal limits on how long kids can be held in government custody.
“They want to jail them for the duration of the legal proceedings. Well that’s indefinite. Sometimes it takes years to resolve asylum and other immigration claims,” he said.