…“This will strain bed capacity,” authorities wrote in a discussion paper in February 2018.
..According to current and former government officials, and emails and memos detailing the Trump administration’s strategy, it is clear they knew that without enough beds in government shelters, children would languish in Border Patrol stations not equipped to care for them.
…[Policies also] made it harder for adult relatives of unaccompanied minors to secure the children’s release from U.S. custody. Enhanced vetting of sponsors — including fingerprints and other paperwork — and the sharing of that information between child welfare and immigration authorities slowed down the release of children and exposed the sponsors to deportation.
…The contractors tasked with carrying out the background checks and fingerprinting were overwhelmed, according to current and former HHS officials.
…The approach caused thousands of unaccompanied minors to be stranded in U.S. custody and exacerbated the appearance of a crisis on the southern border — a major element underlying the administration’s public request for billions of dollars in additional funding from Congress.
…A few months after the policy was implemented, HHS officials determined that it was not improving child safety. They concluded that the added vetting was redundant and needlessly extended the time children remained in custody.
…The administration also developed and rolled out its family separation policy in the spring of 2018, part of its “zero tolerance” approach at the border. The months-long initiative, which separated thousands of children from their parents, compounded the need for shelter space.