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Trump official: Separations are saving lives

CNN's Wolf Blitzer pushed back on Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and asked why the Trump administration can't meet the federal court-ordered deadline to reunify all separated migrant families.

Posted: Jul 11, 2018 2:20 PM
Updated: Jul 11, 2018 2:40 PM

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday that his department was performing "one of the great acts of American generosity and charity" in its care of immigrant children.

Repeatedly pressed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" about why HHS won't allow media cameras into facilities housing children, Azar said, "We have nothing to hide about how we operate these facilities."

"It is one of the great acts of American generosity and charity, what we are doing for these unaccompanied kids who are smuggled into our country or come across illegally," Azar added.

The Trump administration has faced international outcry since it implemented a "zero tolerance" immigration policy that resulted in thousands of undocumented families separated at the border, criticism that only intensified amid a snail's pace of reunifying those families.

Physicians' groups have criticized any practice of separating children from their parents as potentially causing lifelong damage.

In the interview, Azar praised the workers and facilities housing the children. The facilities mostly house children who came to the US by themselves, as well as children separated from parents at the border.

"These are groups of the most well-meaning, altruistic individuals," he said. "These kids are happy, they are loved, they are cared for, it is a compassionate environment."

Azar said HHS reunited fewer than half of the eligible separated migrant families in its care by a court-ordered deadline Tuesday because it is thoroughly reviewing each case to verify that parents are not dangerous and are actually the parents of the children in question.

"Our central mission is protecting child welfare while still reuniting families," he said.

Azar dodged multiple questions from Blitzer about why the reunifications were taking so long, given that many of the children may have been in custody for months.

As of late Tuesday evening, 38 of 102 children identified for the deadline had been reunified with their parents, according to administration officials. Another 27 were determined to be ineligible for reunifications yet, and the remainder were awaiting family verification, background checks or for parents who have already been deported to be found.

The children who are addressed under the Tuesday deadline are all under age 5 and have been held by the government for weeks or months after being separated from their parents.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 752108

Reported Deaths: 13816
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033831790
Lake558431013
Allen41736693
St. Joseph37007565
Hamilton36617417
Elkhart29425461
Tippecanoe22938228
Vanderburgh22565400
Porter19369327
Johnson18486389
Hendricks17696317
Clark13233195
Madison13176344
Vigo12631253
LaPorte12429221
Monroe12226176
Delaware10970198
Howard10349224
Kosciusko9643121
Hancock8578147
Bartholomew8174157
Warrick7864156
Floyd7815180
Grant7248179
Wayne7164201
Boone6979103
Morgan6768141
Dubois6224118
Marshall6214116
Cass6024110
Henry5903110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509476
Shelby502396
Lawrence4753122
Gibson445595
Clinton443555
Harrison441775
DeKalb440385
Montgomery439890
Whitley406744
Huntington403381
Steuben400859
Miami395769
Jasper389155
Knox377691
Putnam373461
Wabash362383
Ripley347370
Adams345555
Jefferson336186
White332753
Daviess3035100
Wells295481
Decatur289892
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey274335
LaGrange273272
Scott270356
Clay267148
Washington246336
Randolph245183
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228159
Fountain222048
Sullivan214843
Owen212358
Fulton204043
Jay201032
Carroll193820
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion175344
Franklin170435
Tipton166646
Parke149616
Pike138334
Blackford136232
Pulaski120847
Newton114936
Brown104443
Benton102614
Crawford102516
Martin91815
Warren84115
Switzerland8158
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0424

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109697

Reported Deaths: 20213
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1289521469
Cuyahoga1158802216
Hamilton814201251
Montgomery525861049
Summit484551006
Lucas43384824
Butler39098606
Stark33355930
Lorain25689506
Warren24612305
Mahoning22388602
Lake21219389
Clermont20138253
Delaware18892136
Licking16671225
Fairfield16589204
Trumbull16560483
Medina15618273
Greene15292248
Clark14244306
Wood13296200
Portage13254216
Allen11919239
Richland11611211
Miami10857225
Wayne9153225
Columbiana9039230
Muskingum8909135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8654251
Marion8649139
Erie8058165
Ashtabula7171179
Hancock6999133
Ross6948163
Geauga6850151
Scioto6540106
Belmont6159174
Union585049
Lawrence5741102
Jefferson5683159
Huron5554122
Sandusky5444126
Darke5420129
Seneca5350128
Washington5321109
Athens524460
Auglaize502487
Mercer487785
Shelby477095
Knox4573112
Madison444566
Ashland435997
Putnam4336104
Defiance432399
Fulton432274
Crawford4046110
Brown402761
Logan387678
Preble3859105
Clinton379266
Ottawa373581
Highland360266
Williams348578
Champaign344959
Guernsey325254
Jackson318454
Perry297350
Morrow291940
Fayette285750
Hardin275765
Henry273867
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269360
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220663
Carroll197548
Paulding176642
Meigs148540
Monroe136345
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan110124
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
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