THIS SUMMER, people were filled with righteous anger about the separation of children from their families at the southern U.S. border. The crisis sparked a critical mass of outrage about the Trump administration’s inhumane policy, especially when audio surfaced of separated children crying desperately for their parents. The press, a few members of Congress, and other elected leaders did heroic work in exposing the horrific human toll of these policies.

In the weeks the family separation policy was in place, more than 2,300 children were separated from their parents. Reuniting these children with their families will take months. Some of these children may never be reunited with parents—meaning they effectively have been made orphans by this administration’s combination of cruelty and ineptitude.

Make no mistake: This was not merely an accidental byproduct of a convoluted and broken immigration system that is long overdue for comprehensive, just, and compassionate reform. Family separation was the direct consequence of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy toward immigrants, some of whom were following the legal path of pursuing asylum. Administration officials argued that forcibly separating children from their parents was acceptable because it would be a “deterrent” to families seeking to enter the United States without proper authorization.

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