WASHINGTON — Government investigators say many more migrant children may have been separated from their parents than the Trump administration has acknowledged.

A report from the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office finds that family separations were taking place before the spring of last year, when the administration announced its “zero tolerance” policy on the southwest border.

The administration has identified a little more than 2,700 children as part of a court case in which a federal judge ordered families reunited. Investigators concluded that the true number of migrant children separated from their parents is unknown and could be much higher.

President Donald Trump was forced to rescind the family separation policy this summer after an outcry.

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