Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and deputy Rod Rosenstein were among the top Justice Department officials who pushed for President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" family separation policy, a draft report by DOJ's inspector general stated. The policy led to the separation of about 3,000 children from their parents who entered the country by illegally crossing the border.
In May 2018, Sessions told five U.S. prosecutors along the Mexican border that they "need to take away the children" from the parents if they entered the U.S. illegally. The exposé came during a two-year investigation by the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
"We need to take away children," Sessions told the prosecutors in a conference call, according to the New York Times — who obtained the draft report first. One participant's notes added that Sessions added: "If care about kids, don't bring them in. Won't give amnesty to people with kids."
The following week, Rosenstein told the prosecutors that children's age did not matter and government lawyers should have prosecuted two cases despite the children being more than infants.
After his call with the prosecutor, the departing U.S. attorney in western Texas John Bash told the staff after the call that the those two should "not have been declined." Bash added that Rosenstein "instructed that, per the A.G.'s policy, we should NOT be categorically declining immigration prosecutions of adults in family units because of the age of a child."
In April 2018, Sessions announced the family separation saying any immigrant who crossed the country's border illegally would be prosecuted, including those with children. The policy was met with wide criticism and some said it resulted in gross human rights violation.
On Tuesday, netizens took to Twitter to slam Sessions and Rosenstein for driving the family separation policy. Several users expressed shock over the two officials' involvement in the order and called for legal actions against them.