Watch live: Justice Dept. watchdog details report of Trump’s family separation policy at border

Feb. 4 (UPI) — Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will appear in Congress Thursday to testify about the impact of the Trump administration’s hard-line immigration policy, which controversially divided families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Horowitz will appear before the House oversight and government reform committee. The hearing, titled, “Accountability and Lessons Learned from the Trump Administration’s Child Separation Policy,” will begin at 10 a.m. EST.

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The department’s chief internal watchdog, Horowitz has previously been critical in reviews of former President Donald Trump‘s policies, including his “zero tolerance” immigration stance.

Last month, Horowitz said in a report that then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions knew years ago that the administration’s firm position on immigration would break up families.

Horowitz will testify about his conclusions in the report, the committee said.

Starting in 2017 with a pilot program, federal immigration authorities separated more than 3,000 children from their parents at the southern border a practice that drew outrage nationwide and continues to be a black mark on the Trump administration’s four-year tenure.

“I have put in place a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for illegal entry on our Southwest border,” Sessions said in 2018. “If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple.

“If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.”

Horowitz’s report last month found that Trump’s administration “failed to effectively prepare for and manage” its immigration policy. It added that officials “significantly underestimated complexities and demonstrated a deficient understanding of the legal requirements related to the care and custody of separated children.”

Border officials ultimately lost track of some parents and many were deported without their children. Hundreds are still missing.

Horowitz’s review last month said that Trump’s Justice Department had a “single-minded focus on increasing immigration prosecutions” that came “at the expense of careful and appropriate consideration of the impact of family unit prosecutions and child separations.”

The administration later rescinded the order in 2018 after a federal judge halted the practice, but advocates said children were still being separated in 2019.

This week, President Joe Biden created a task force to reunite migrant parents and their children. He also ordered reforms for the U.S. asylum and naturalization processes and revoked Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.

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