Top Border Patrol Official: Expect Family Separations to Increase

The Border Patrol chief for one of the busiest stretches of the U.S. border with Mexico has warned of an upcoming surge in family separations, even as critics condemn the practice as inhumane. Manuel Padilla Jr., who oversees the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy in the Rio Grande Valley, told The Washington Post that his agents separated 568 families since April 6, with children as young as 5 taken away from their parents. But he said that was only half of those who could have been prosecuted for trying to enter the country illegally. “We are trying to build to 100 percent prosecution of everybody that is eligible,” he told the Post. “We are not there yet, but that is our intent.” Padilla defended the zero-tolerance measures as a way to deter migrants from falling into the hands of dangerous smugglers and said the 3,000 agents under his command were “very motivated” by Trump’s immigration crackdown. “We cannot just have this surge of immigration without any consequences,” he said, describing the new policy as a “last stand” at the border.