BREAKING: Is it possible that some kids have been "lost?"


What, Us Worry, press says:
Is it possible that the federal government has "lost" some of the kids it separated from the children's parents during the recent "zero tolerance" operation?

That is, is it possible that the government won't have any way to know to whom some children belong? Won't know how to return the children to their actual parents?

Again and agin and again and again, people are making this suggestion on "cable news" programs. Yesterday, HHS Secretary Alex Azar seems to have said it's not true.

We base this on the Washington Post's news report about Azar's appearance before the Senate Finance Committee. Below, you see some excerpts from the Post's report:
ITKOWITZ (6/27/18): [Azar] told the Senate Finance Committee that if lawmakers find a legislative fix to a court ruling that bars children from being held in detention centers for longer than 20 days, then the families could be reunited immediately. Otherwise, he said, those children will need to wait for their parents to be either granted entry to the United States or deported.

“I cannot reunite them, though, while the parents are in custody because of the court order that doesn’t allow the kids to be with their parents for more than 20 days,” he said. “We need Congress to fix that.”


Asked about the slow pace of reunification, Azar explained that it’s a laborious task doing background checks and verifying family connections to ensure the kids aren’t turned over to traffickers.

He could not say how long it would take HHS to reconcile all the kids with their families.

Azar also couldn’t answer Wyden’s question about how many parents know where their kids are. But he said the Office of Refugee Resettlement has a portal that could locate their children “within seconds.”
It sounds like Azar is saying this:

The government knows where each child has been placed. Within seconds, the government could know how to locate any of the children who have been separated—would know how to connect any child with its mother or father.

Is that actually true? Cable news is full of suggestions to the contrary. In our view, even the least ridiculous news orgs are having a hard time clarifying, and focusing on, this most basic question.

How did the New York Times describe what Azar said? Amazingly, the paper didn't report his testimony in today's print editions.

To read what the Times reported on line, you can just click here. It seems to us that Robert Pear didn't focus on this basic question at all.

Is it possible that some of these kids have been "lost?" Especially in the case of babies and toddlers, is it possible that the federal government is holding some kids it will never be able to reunite with their parents?

It seems to us that this is the most basic question which has arisen in the course of this heinous operation. It seems to us that cable news, and other news orgs, are having a fairly hard time getting clear on this fact.

Editor's note, especially on cable: For maximum emotive effect, always say that the children in question were "ripped away" from their parents.

"Torn away" will do in a pinch.


  1. "Especially in the case of babies and toddlers, is it possible that the federal government is holding some kids it will never be able to reunite with their parents?"

    What?? Ahh, I almost fainted!

    Seriously, Bob, could you try to restrain yourself, and act a bit less hysterical?

  2. Trump wouldn't be the first president to have that problem.

    "HHS told McClatchy it didn’t have the data of unaccounted children in a reportable format. But based on its own estimates that 14 percent didn't return calls, some 5,945 unaccompanied children are likely unaccounted for. The numbers would be even higher in fiscal year 2016, which included the end of President Barack Obama’s final term when the administration placed more than 52,000 children with sponsors."

    1. So this Right-wing cries for daddy government to save them is from the Obama Era?

    2. --Alan Cummings

  3. "It seems to us that this is the most basic question which has arisen in the course of this heinous operation. It seems to us that cable news, and other news orgs, are having a fairly hard time getting clear on this fact."

    Somerby, how do you propose that any news organization get to the bottom of this question when the government lies and will not answer the legitimate questions of journalists? There is no transparency. Somerby is pretending that the Trump government operates with the same responsiveness and openness as previous governments, such as Obama did. That is not happening today.

    Instead of blaming the government, Somerby blames the press, as if they were not asking the right questions.

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