Some 1,768 immigrant families were separated by U.S. officials in the 17-month period from October 2016 to February 2018, Reuters reports, a span that includes time from both the Obama and Trump administrations.
Since February, the pace of separations has increased thanks to the Trump administration's new "zero tolerance" policy, but Reuters' source, an unnamed government official, could not provide more recent statistics. Congressional testimony from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official in May indicated 638 parents were separated from 658 children in a two-week span last month, indicating a rate well above the average of about 100 families separated per month in the 17-month span.
Once separated, children are often moved to shelters hundreds of miles away from their families. "The only thing that makes sense to me is to make it far more onerous to reconnect the adult with the child," Chris Carlin, a Texas public defender, told NPR. "Why else would you do this? Why would you take a child from the desert of west Texas and fly them to Manhattan?"