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This image made from video provided by DroneBase shows damage by floodwaters near the intersection of Ellicott Mills Drive and Main Street in Ellicott City, Md., Monday, May 28, 2018. Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said Monday morning that his priorities are finding a missing man and assessing the condition of buildings that house shops, restaurants and families. (DroneBase via AP)

This image made from video provided by DroneBase shows damage by floodwaters near the intersection of Ellicott Mills Drive and Main Street in Ellicott City, Md., Monday, May 28, 2018. Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said Monday morning that his priorities are finding a missing man and assessing the condition of buildings that house shops, restaurants and families. (DroneBase via AP)


Residents gather by a bridge to look at cars left crumpled in one of the tributaries of the Patapsco River that burst its banks as it channeled through historic Main Street in Ellicott City, Md., Monday, May 28, 2018. Sunday's destructive flooding left the former mill town heartbroken as it had bounded back from another destructive storm less than two years ago. (AP Photo/David McFadden)


This image made from video provided by DroneBase shows vehicles swept by floodwater near the intersection of Ellicott Mills Drive and Main Street in Ellicott City, Md., Monday, May 28, 2018. Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said Monday morning that his priorities are finding a missing man and assessing the condition of buildings that house shops, restaurants and families. (DroneBase via AP)


Flooded residents in Maryland wonder about rebuilding

By DAVID McFADDEN

Associated Press

May 29

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (AP) — After yet another devastating flash flood ripped apart their historic Maryland mill town, hundreds of residents and business owners are again asking themselves: Should I stay or should I go?

Some people in picturesque Ellicott City — established in 1772 as a Patapsco River mill town surrounded by hills — say they’re determined to rebuild after Sunday’s devastation. Their hope: to pull together as a community again after the second terrible flood deluged their downtown in less than two years.

Simon Cortes, owner of La Palapa Grill & Cantina, said Monday it’s “a horrible time,” and his business took on about a foot (30 centimeters) of water. But he says the town has been through it all before, and he’ll do his part to spur another revival.

“I feel like it’s our duty to make sure that we rebuild and open back up,” said Cortes, whose restaurant is right by the spot where a 39-year-old man was swept away by Sunday’s raging floodwaters.

Others are stretched to the breaking point by the floods, which tore up streets and swept away dozens of cars in the quaint downtown of historic 18th and 19th century buildings, which sit in a ravine about 13 miles (20 kilometers) west of Baltimore.

Now the locals face yet another massive cleanup, serious economic losses and a daunting comeback.

Sunday’s torrential rains came just as the town seemed to come back stronger than ever from a dreadful July 2016 flash flood that killed two people.

Getting flood insurance around old Ellicott City was a pricy proposition before. Now, people don’t even want to think about how much it might cost, on top of the debts they’re still paying from the last time their homes and businesses were destroyed.

Nathan Sowers, owner of the River House Pizza Co., an outdoor eatery in the old mill town’s business district, said that after all the hard work rebuilding from the 2016 flood, he’s feeling a bit overwhelmed at attempting yet another comeback.

“We’ll see. It takes a lot of money and a lot of time, a lot of energy. We’ll just have to assess it,” he said, speaking near a bridge where several crushed cars were swept into a muddy tributary’s banks.

But Sowers said he saw other hard-hit locals laughing and joking about their troubles first thing Monday morning — a good sign the Maryland town will launch yet another rebirth.

But the bad news just kept coming following the torrential rains: On Tuesday morning, county authorities issued what they called a “precautionary health alert” after a sewage main broke about 2 miles (3 kilometers) away from Ellicott City’s historic main street.

The sewage overflow, which was first noticed early Monday, has been stopped. But as much as 500,000 gallons of sewage had already spilled and residents were being told to stay away from the affected area.

People were also heartbroken that 39-year-old Eddison Hermond of Severn, Maryland remains missing. He was last seen trying to help a woman rescue her cat behind a restaurant while seething brown waters surged through the downtown.

Howard County Police Chief Gary Gardner said the National Guard member and U.S. Air Force veteran had been with a group at the La Palapa Grill & Cantina when a woman approached, desperately trying to rescue her pet just outside.

“He, along with some other folks, went back to assist her and unfortunately during that effort they saw him go under water,” Gardner told reporters.

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said his immediate priorities are finding Hermond and assessing the condition of damaged buildings that housed shops, restaurants and families.

“If you look at the devastation and the damage, I would certainly say it’s worse than 2016,” Kittleman said. “We’ve had areas that were not even damaged at all two years ago terribly damaged this time.”

Ellicott City certainly got the worst of it. But torrential rains led to such bad flooding in Baltimore County, Baltimore City and the capital of Annapolis that Gov. Larry Hogan declared a statewide emergency to better coordinate support and assistance.

Mike Muccilli, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said it was too early to make comparisons between the two devastating floods.

In the July 2016 storm, Ellicott City received 6.6 inches (17 centimeters) of rain over a two- to three-hour period. On Sunday, the community received some 8 inches (20.32 centimeters) of rain over a six-hour period, most of it in an intense, three-hour period, Muccilli said.

“In a normal heavy rain … you wouldn’t see this amount of flooding, where you see cars floating down the road,” the meteorologist said. “This was a true flash flood.”

Associated Press writer Brian Witte in Annapolis, Maryland, contributed to this report.

Follow McFadden on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dmcfadd

Trump hasn’t visited U.S. troops in the Middle East

Haley Britzky May 27 Axios

Halfway through his second year as commander-in-chief, President Trump has yet to visit U.S. military service members on the ground in the Middle East — though he has visited them domestically and internationally and wants a military parade to show off America’s might.

Flashback: A few months after the invasion of Iraq, Bush visited troops on the ground in Iraq — in total, he made two trips to Afghanistan and four to Iraq. And, in April 2009, three months after his inauguration, Barack Obama visited troops in Baghdad. He also made eight trips to Afghanistan.

Trump’s Offshore Oil Drilling Proposal Threatens 68 National Parks

IFLScience

By Robin Andrews

28 May 2018

The move to open pretty much the entirety of America’s coastline to offshore oil drilling, announced back in January by the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Ryan Zinke, came as a deeply disappointing shock to conservationists, zoologists, marine ecologists, fisheries, lawmakers, and more. A new report has suggested that if the plans were to go ahead, 68 coastal National Parks would be at risk.

The report, composed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) – an environmental advocacy group – and the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), makes for a melancholy read. Reminding us all that these National Parks are home to a plethora of biodiverse ecologies, it outlines state by state what’s at stake here, citing studies and federal data throughout.

Alaska’s coastal parks, for example, are home to a wide number of threatened and endangered species, like the humpback whale and the Steller sea lion. The state’s Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to stunning glaciers and diverse wildlife. Over in California, you’ve got an enormous list of remarkable birds, reptiles, fish, mammals and amphibians living within these National Parks.

The report also notes that the states that Zinke wishes to drill in generated at least $5.7 billion to the GDP in 2017 through recreation and tourism alone. In the same year, these states supported National Park-related 59,517 jobs – more than currently exists in the entire US coal industry.

Goldman Sachs: Trump’s tax cuts could cause recession

By Kevin Dugan

May 21, 2018

New York Post

President Trump’s $1.4 trillion tax cut could have painful consequences for the economy down the road — including a possible recession and a ballooning deficit, according to Goldman Sachs.

“The US fiscal outlook is not good,” Goldman’s chief economist Jan Hatzius said in a Sunday note.

The Wall Street powerhouse — whose former president Gary Cohn helped engineer the tax package as the White House economic adviser — dismissed economic projections by the Congressional Budget Office as too “optimistic,” and said that the deficit could spike by about 2.5 times, to $2.05 trillion, by 2028.

In one scenario, the bond market could punish the US for its growing debt levels by making it more expensive to borrow — thereby swelling deficits further, according to the Goldman note.

That could end up constraining any economic stimulus packages during the next recession, which isn’t likely for the next “couple years,” the bank said.

Goldman doesn’t believe that Congress is likely to do anything about the runaway deficits “in the near-term,” thanks to the election cycle and the impending retirement of US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), an outspoken hawk on the issue.

Operating Engineers Union Backs DeWine for Governor

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

RICHFIELD– The International Union of Operating Engineers today endorsed Mike DeWine and Jon Husted for Governor and Lt. Governor of Ohio during an event in Richfield, Ohio, near Cleveland.

“In this election, the choice is clear: Mike DeWine and Jon Husted are the best candidates to strengthen the state’s infrastructure, grow Ohio’s economy, and provide a better future for hard working families,” said Richard Dalton, representing the International Union of Operating Engineers.”

Today’s event was held at the Local 18 Richfield Training Center. The facility is one of four training centers across the state where apprentices are trained for jobs available throughout Ohio.

The Operating Engineers Local 18 has a nearly 80-year history supporting heavy equipment operators, mechanics and surveyors in the construction trade, working on maintenance in building and industrial complexes as well as a significant focus on roads, bridges and other infrastructure. They serve 15,000 members in 85 Ohio counties, as well as 4 counties in Northern Kentucky.

The mission of Local 18 is to maintain and improve employment opportunities of members by providing state-of-the-art training and job placement as well as secure benefits for their members.

“Eight years ago, the problem in Ohio was that we didn’t have enough jobs for the people who needed them, and today, the problem is that we have many open positions, but not enough people trained to do the work,” said DeWine. “Jon Husted and I are committed to ensuring Ohioans have the job skills to succeed in our growing economy. We want hard-working Ohioans to know their efforts will be respected and rewarded with great careers opportunities and growing wages across the state.”

Who Is Kim Yong-chol?

By Mel Gurtov

General Kim Yong-chol is arriving in New York to discuss North Korea’s denuclearization with top US officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo whom Kim has met twice. The meetings promise to be difficult because Kim has a reputation as a tough negotiator who is very familiar with intelligence and weapons issues. Kim may also have been behind the so-called Cheonan incident in 2010—the apparent torpedoing of a South Korean navy corvette that resulted in loss of 46 sailors. The US sanctioned Kim in 2014, reflecting the widespread belief, rejected by Pyongyang and Beijing, that North Korea was responsible for the sinking.

Kim Yong-chol has a long resume that reflects the breadth of his experience and the reasons Kim Jong-un chose him to represent North Korean interests at this crucial time before the planned Trump-Kim summit. Most importantly, Kim Yong-chol worked on intelligence for about thirty years, including as director of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, the North Korean equivalent of the CIA. He also rose in the Korean Workers Party hierarchy, eventually becoming a vice-chair of the KWP Central Committee and a member of its important Military Affairs Commission.

But what may be most notable about Kim Yong-chol is that he has served—and survived—all three members of the Kim dynasty. Thus, Kim Jong-un clearly deems Kim Yong-chol entirely trustworthy. Moreover, Kim Yong-chol has extensive experience negotiating with the South Koreans, including the comprehensive 1992 North-South joint declaration that pledged both countries not to “test, manufacture, produce, receive, possess store, deploy or use nuclear weapons” and not to “possess nuclear reprocessing and uranium enrichment facilities.” Most recently, Kim was among the North Korean leaders who met with South Koreans when they issued the Panmunjom Declaration on inter-Korean relations and the nuclear issue.

A fair assumption is that Kim Yong-chol will spell out the conditions under which North Korea would embrace “complete, irreversible, verifiable denuclearization,” the official US position. He will no doubt insist on establishing a step-by-step framework for dismantlement or, possibly, some other arrangement for dealing with North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. And at each step, Kim presumably will want to know what the US is prepared to offer in the way of firm security assurances, starting with an official renunciation of the John Bolton “Libya model” that Pompeo has now invoked to deal with Iran. The New York meetings will therefore either pave the way for a substantive agreement at the summit in Singapore or become another roadblock to ever holding one.

Mel Gurtov, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University.

The Washington Post

The U.S. lost track of 1,475 immigrant children last year. Here’s why people are outraged now.

by Amy B Wang May 29

Outrage over reports of ‘missing’ immigrant children

Reports of federal authorities losing track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children in their custody. Scathing criticism over children being taken from their migrant parents at the border. Proposed rallies.

In the recent days, outrage about treatment of children taken into U.S. custody at the Southwest border has reached a fever pitch, exploding in a barrage of tweets and calls to action with the hashtags #WhereAreTheChildren and #MissingChildren.

How accurate are certain claims circulating online? Are these children really missing? What do those children have to do with the Trump administration’s new immigration enforcement policies? How many families are being separated? And why is there so much outrage about it now? We take a look at how the story has snowballed.

Did the United States really lose track of 1,475 immigrant kids?

In short, yes. During a Senate committee hearing late last month, Steven Wagner, an official with the Department of Health and Human Services, testified that the federal agency had lost track of 1,475 children who had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border on their own (that is, unaccompanied by adults) and subsequently were placed with adult sponsors in the United States. As the Associated Press reported, the number was based on a survey of more than 7,000 children:

From October to December 2017, HHS called 7,635 children the agency had placed with sponsors, and found 6,075 of the children were still living with their sponsors, 28 had run away, five had been deported and 52 were living with someone else. The rest were missing, said Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary at HHS.

Health and Human Services officials have argued it is not the department’s legal responsibility to find those children after they are released from the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which falls under HHS‘s Administration for Children and Families. And some have pointed out that adult sponsors are sometimes relatives who already were living in the United States and who intentionally may not be responding to contact attempts by HHS.

FYI, another point about this: we do not know how many of these children weren’t located because they and their relatives in the US (who might even be their parents!) made the decision to go off the grid to reduce deportation risk.

— Dara Lind (@DLind) May 26, 2018

However, neither of those arguments has done much to quell outrage surrounding the testimony by Wagner, a principal deputy at HHS who oversees the Administration for Children and Families.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), chairman of the Senate subcommittee, has repeatedly argued that it was a matter of humanity, not simply legal responsibility, citing a case in which federal officials had turned over eight immigrant children to human traffickers.

“These kids, regardless of their immigration status, deserve to be treated properly, not abused or trafficked,” Portman said in the subcommittee. “This is all about accountability.”

Portman reiterated his stance in an April 24 “Frontline” special called “Trafficked in America,” which documented the plight of the eight children who were forced to work on an egg farm in Ohio.

“We’ve got these kids. They’re here. They’re living on our soil,” he told the PBS program. “And for us to just, you know, assume someone else is going to take care of them and throw them to the wolves, which is what HHS was doing, is flat-out wrong. I don’t care what you think about immigration policy, it’s wrong.”

According to HHS, approximately 85 percent of sponsors who ultimately acquire custody of unaccompanied minors are parents or close family members.

Were these 1,475 children separated from their parents at the border?

No. The children unaccounted for in last year’s HHS survey all arrived at the Southwest border alone. The government refers to these children as “unaccompanied alien children,” or UACs.

Are children being taken from their parents after they cross the border into the United States?

Yes. On May 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department would begin prosecuting every person who crossed the Southwest border illegally — or at least attempt to prosecute “100 percent” — even if some of them could or should be treated as asylum seekers, as the American Civil Liberties Union has argued.

Although Sessions said he understood that some people were fleeing violence or other dangerous situations, he has also stated that the United States “cannot take everyone on this planet who is in a difficult situation.”

“If you cross the border unlawfully … then we will prosecute you,” he said in a pair of speeches in Scottsdale, Ariz., and San Diego. “If you smuggle an illegal alien across the border, then we’ll prosecute you. … If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally. It’s not our fault that somebody does that.”

The consequence of this new “100 percent” policy is that children will be separated from their parents as the adults are charged with a crime, even if the adults are seeking asylum and present themselves at official ports of entry.

Under federal rules, Immigration and Customs Enforcement transfers unaccompanied minors, and now children of detained adults, to Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement within 48 hours of their crossing the border, according to the AP.

Are child-parent separations being used as a tool to deter border crossings?

That would appear to be the case. As The Washington Post’s Sari Horwitz and Maria Sacchetti reported, internal discussions about separating families at the border suggested that it was to dissuade people from attempting to cross the border:

Senior immigration and border officials called for the increased prosecutions [in April] in a confidential memo to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. They said filing criminal charges against migrants, including parents traveling with children, would be the “most effective” way to tamp down on illegal border crossings.

The “zero-tolerance” measure announced Monday could split up thousands of families because children are not allowed in criminal jails. Until now, most families apprehended crossing the border illegally have been released to await civil deportation hearings.

In a May 11 interview with NPR’s John Burnett, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly referred to family separation as something that would be a “tough deterrent” to migrant parents who may be thinking of bringing their children to the border.

“Let me step back and tell you that the vast majority of the people that move illegally into United States are not bad people,” Kelly told Burnett. “But they’re also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States into our modern society. They’re overwhelmingly rural people in the countries they come from — fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm. … They’re coming here for a reason. And I sympathize with the reason. But the laws are the laws. But a big name of the game is deterrence.”

Children have their breakfast at the Vina de Tijuana AC migrant shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, on April 28. (Hans-Maximo Musielik/AP)

What are some of the issues that these children face during separation?

For months, stories have abounded of families separated by immigration authorities at the border: Three children were separated from their mother as they fled a gang in El Salvador; a 7-year-old was taken from her Congolese mother who was seeking asylum; and so on, in reportedly hundreds of cases. In almost every case, the families have described heart-wrenching goodbyes and agonizing uncertainty about whether they would be reunited.

According to the Florence Project, an Arizona nonprofit organization that provides legal and social services to detained immigrants, there have been more than 200 cases of parents being separated from their children since the beginning of the year in the state alone.

“The type of devastation that we’re talking about … where a separated mother doesn’t know where her child is for four days, that’s entirely common right now in this administration,” Laura St. John, the group’s legal director, told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. “Children and parents who are separated sometimes don’t have any way to communicate with each other for days, for weeks — I’ve seen months where a parent had no idea where their child was after the U.S. government took their child away.”

St. John noted her group also was seeing increasingly younger children being taken into custody by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, as opposed to the migrant teenagers who had previously crossed the border themselves.

“Just last week we saw a 53-week-old infant in court without a parent,” St. John told Hayes. “What we’re seeing now is that, because the government is separating the children from the parents, the government is actually rendering these children as unaccompanied minors and bringing them to the shelters.”

On the same program, Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s immigrants’ rights project, told Hayes that the number of separations his group has seen was “unprecedented.”

“This is the worst thing I’ve seen in 25-plus years of doing this civil rights work,” Gelernt said. “I am talking to these mothers and they are describing their kids screaming, ‘Mommy, Mommy, don’t let them take me away!’ … The medical evidence is overwhelming that we may be doing permanent trauma to these kids, and yet the government is finding every way they can to try and justify it.”

The Office of Refugee Resettlement reported that children spent an average of 34 days in their custody during the 2015 fiscal year.

What has the government’s response been?

In his May 11 NPR interview, the White House chief of staff danced around a question about whether it was “cruel and heartless” for U.S. border officials to take an immigrant child away from his or her mother.

“I wouldn’t put it quite that way,” Kelly told Burnett. “The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever. But the big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long.”

Many members of Congress have expressed concern about family separations. In February, 71 Democratic lawmakers signed a letter to Nielsen stating that they were “deeply disturbed” by the increasing practice, which “suggests a lack of understanding about the violence many families are fleeing in their home countries.”

On May 16, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) questioned Nielsen about the “immoral” policy and asked whether she had been directed to separate families to deter future border crossing attempts. Nielsen denied that the new policy was an act of deterrence.

“What purpose have you been given for separating parents from their children?” Harris asked.

“So my decision has been that anyone who breaks the law will be prosecuted,” Nielsen said. “If you’re a parent or you’re a single person or you happen to have a family, if you cross between the ports of entry, we will refer you for prosecution. You’ve broken U.S. law.”

Nielsen also tried to recast questions that characterized children being removed from their parents’ custody as family separations. When Harris demanded to know whether or how Border Patrol agents were trained to take children from their parents, Nielsen interrupted.

“No, what we’ll be doing is prosecuting parents who have broken the law, just as we do every day in the United States of America,” she said.

“I can appreciate that,” Harris continued, “but if that parent has a 4-year-old child, what do you plan on doing with that child?”

“The child, under law, goes to HHS for care and custody,” Nielsen said.

“They will be separated from their parents,” Harris said, slowly. “My question then is, when you are separating children from their parents, do you have a protocol in place about how that should be done and are you training the people who will actually remove a child from their parent on how to do that in the least traumatic way? I would hope you do train on how to do that.”

Nielsen said she would provide that information to Harris later.

Although the hearing took place two weeks ago, Harris tweeted footage from it on Saturday afternoon, calling Nielsen’s responses “beyond insufficient.”

I demanded answers from DHS Secretary Nielsen about the Trump Administration’s immoral policy of separating children from their parents at the border & ports of entry last week. Her answers were beyond insufficient. pic.twitter.com/2g2vo7EBJd

— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) May 26, 2018

How has HHS responded?

On Monday night, HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan said in a statement that “the assertion that unaccompanied alien children (UAC) are ‘lost’ is completely false. This is a classic example of the adage ‘No good deed goes unpunished.’”

Hargan’s statement said that ORR “began voluntarily making calls in 2016 as a 30-day follow-up on the release of UAC to make sure that UAC and their sponsors did not require additional services. This additional step, which is not required and was not done previously, is now being used to confuse and spread misinformation.

“These children are not ‘lost’; their sponsors — who are usually parents or family members and in all cases have been vetted for criminality and ability to provide for them — simply did not respond or could not be reached when this voluntary call was made. While there are many possible reasons for this, in many cases sponsors cannot be reached because they themselves are illegal aliens and do not want to be reached by federal authorities.

“This is the core of this issue: In many cases, HHS has been put in the position of placing illegal aliens with the individuals who helped arrange for them to enter the country illegally. This makes the immediate crisis worse and creates a perverse incentive for further violation of federal immigration law.”

He added that “the tracking of UAC after release is just one of the recent headlines that focus on the symptoms of our broken immigration system while ignoring its fundamental flaws. President Trump’s administration has been calling on Congress to put an end to dangerous loopholes in U.S. immigration laws like the practice of ‘catch and release,’ in which federal authorities release illegal immigrants to await hearings for which few show up. In the worst cases, these loopholes are being exploited by human traffickers and violent gangs like MS-13. Until these laws are fixed, the American taxpayer is paying the bill for costly programs that aggravate the problem and put children in dangerous situations.”

Why are we hearing about these issues now?

As mentioned, reports of the 1,475 children HHS could not account for first emerged in April, and proposals to crack down on migrant families crossing the border were discussed as early as last year.

Nevertheless, the story snowballed this past week, with thousands expressing outrage online about both family separations or the HHS survey from last year. Why? As with other topics that mushroom inexplicably on social media, it’s unclear. The issues may have drawn renewed attention in part because of a widely shared column in USA Today by Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini.

Friday also happened to be International Missing Children’s Day, producing what some called an ill-timed tweet from the recruiting arm of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Although ICE is not the agency that is responsible for migrant children, it has since President Trump took office cracked down on deporting undocumented immigrants who previously would not have been a priority.

Today is National #MissingChildrensDay. Learn how ICE HSI’s Cyber Crimes Center uses 3-D technology in innovative ways to assist @MissingKids https://t.co/z5q6cTScTY pic.twitter.com/ZA5UpOEvkZ

— Careers at ICE (@ICEgovCareers) May 25, 2018

MSNBC’s Hayes highlighted the issue on his show Friday and called out egregious cases of family separation on social media, labeling the practice “a moral abomination, and a national shame.”

“My son was crying as I put him in the seat. I did not even have a chance to try to comfort my son, because the officers slammed the door shut as soon as he was in his seat. I was cry, too. I cry even now when I think about that moment when the border officers took my son away.” pic.twitter.com/2EmdndFIKo

— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) May 25, 2018

As mentioned before, the 1,475 children were not separated from their parents at the border. However, many who have expressed outrage online about family separations have been appending their tweets with the hashtags #WhereAreTheChildren or #MissingChildren, intentionally or unintentionally linking the two issues.

Some who should have been better informed also conflated the two, implying that federal officials had lost 1,500 immigrant children who had been taken from their parents, when this was not the case.

What is more shameful than forcibly separating, in America, parents from infant children at the border? And then, losing track of those children?

— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) May 26, 2018

Other officials and celebrities seized on the hashtag to propose protests and spread the story further, sometimes with erroneous information. For example, some mistakenly accused ICE, a different agency, of “losing” 1,500 children. Many began recirculating an Arizona Republic slideshow with photos from 2014 of a federal detention center for child immigrants.

I will help organize a #WhereAreTheChildren rally in San Antonio this week. This inhumanity needs to stop.

— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) May 26, 2018

Children of immigrants are being held in cages like animals at @ICEgov detention centers. Tell ICE and your elected officials that this is horrifyingly unacceptable. In addition to tearing children from their mothers arms- ICE has LOST 1500 kids. #WhereAreTheChildren pic.twitter.com/dMWRIgpRuQ

— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) May 27, 2018

However, as Vox immigration reporter Dara Lind pointed out in a long thread about both matters, the fact that HHS has already admitted that it cannot account for nearly 1,500 migrant children previously in its custody does not inspire confidence that the agency could perform better with an expanded scope of responsibilities.

“Is this relevant to their newly expanded duties to care for kids separated from parents? You bet it is,” Lind wrote. “But that’s [because] it’s the agency failing at its TRADITIONAL function, and now being asked to perform a new one.”

The topic gained traction Saturday morning when Trump tried to blame Democrats for “the horrible law that separates children from parents once they cross the Border” — even though there is no such law, and even though it was a policy supported by his administration.

Trump also tried to use the issue to drum up support for his proposed border wall.

Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there parents once they cross the Border into the U.S. Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it and we MUST continue building the WALL! DEMOCRATS ARE PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018

“He used DACA kids as a bargaining chip, and it didn’t work,” said Kevin Appleby, the senior director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies, a nonpartisan think tank. “So now he’s using vulnerable Central American families for his nativist agenda. It’s shameless.”

Tuesday morning, apparently responding to a segment on “Fox and Friends,” the president returned to Twitter to criticize some of the lawmakers and others on the left whose the #WhereAreTheChildren tweets had used archival photos showing unaccompanied minors in federal custody.

Democrats mistakenly tweet 2014 pictures from Obama’s term showing children from the Border in steel cages. They thought it was recent pictures in order to make us look bad, but backfires. Dems must agree to Wall and new Border Protection for good of country…Bipartisan Bill!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2018

Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.

Read more: ACLU alleges that immigrant minors were mistreated in custody during Obama years

Two Americans were detained by a Border Patrol agent after he heard them speaking Spanish

What the legal process looks like for an immigrant child taken away from his parents

Amy B Wang is a general assignment reporter covering national and breaking news for The Washington Post. She joined The Post in 2016 after seven years with the Arizona Republic.

This image made from video provided by DroneBase shows damage by floodwaters near the intersection of Ellicott Mills Drive and Main Street in Ellicott City, Md., Monday, May 28, 2018. Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said Monday morning that his priorities are finding a missing man and assessing the condition of buildings that house shops, restaurants and families. (DroneBase via AP)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/06/web1_120633483-bbcdcda3a9e74441989299a6bd02b65e.jpgThis image made from video provided by DroneBase shows damage by floodwaters near the intersection of Ellicott Mills Drive and Main Street in Ellicott City, Md., Monday, May 28, 2018. Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said Monday morning that his priorities are finding a missing man and assessing the condition of buildings that house shops, restaurants and families. (DroneBase via AP)

Residents gather by a bridge to look at cars left crumpled in one of the tributaries of the Patapsco River that burst its banks as it channeled through historic Main Street in Ellicott City, Md., Monday, May 28, 2018. Sunday’s destructive flooding left the former mill town heartbroken as it had bounded back from another destructive storm less than two years ago. (AP Photo/David McFadden)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/06/web1_120633483-09cc09321ba444a8a813c1ab152f7e6c.jpgResidents gather by a bridge to look at cars left crumpled in one of the tributaries of the Patapsco River that burst its banks as it channeled through historic Main Street in Ellicott City, Md., Monday, May 28, 2018. Sunday’s destructive flooding left the former mill town heartbroken as it had bounded back from another destructive storm less than two years ago. (AP Photo/David McFadden)

This image made from video provided by DroneBase shows vehicles swept by floodwater near the intersection of Ellicott Mills Drive and Main Street in Ellicott City, Md., Monday, May 28, 2018. Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said Monday morning that his priorities are finding a missing man and assessing the condition of buildings that house shops, restaurants and families. (DroneBase via AP)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/06/web1_120633483-33bc478ea1994bbb8d83d1905803aaaf.jpgThis image made from video provided by DroneBase shows vehicles swept by floodwater near the intersection of Ellicott Mills Drive and Main Street in Ellicott City, Md., Monday, May 28, 2018. Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said Monday morning that his priorities are finding a missing man and assessing the condition of buildings that house shops, restaurants and families. (DroneBase via AP)

Staff and wire reports