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Inspector General: Number Of Immigrant Kids Separated Is Unknown

An independent federal watchdog said it doesn’t know how many undocumented migrant children have been separated from their parents by immigration authorities.

A federal judge ordered a halt to most family separations in 2018. As part of that case, federal officials said 2,737 undocumented immigrant children had been separated from their parents.

Ann Maxwell, assistant inspector general for evaluation and inspections of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spoke during a press call about a new report on separated kids.

“HHS officials estimate that thousands of other children were separated, referred to HHS for care, and released from HHS care, prior to the June court order,” she said.

Federal officials noticed a spike in separated children during the summer of 2017, Maxwell said.

“In sum, the total number of children separated from a parent or guardian by U.S. immigration authorities and transferred to HHS for care, is unknown,” she said.

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Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.