The award-winning NBC News correspondent lays bare the full truth behind the Trump administration’s systematic separation of families at the US-Mexico border
In June 2018, Donald Trump’s most notorious decision as president had secretly been in effect for months before most Americans became aware of the astonishing inhumanity being perpetrated by their own government. Jacob Soboroff was among the first journalists to expose this reality after seeing firsthand the living conditions of the children in custody. His influential series of reports ignited public scrutiny that contributed to the president reversing his own policy and earned Soboroff the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Political Broadcast Journalism and, with his colleagues, the 2019 Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism.
But beyond the headlines, the complete, multilayered story lay untold. How, exactly, had such a humanitarian tragedy—now deemed “torture” by physicians—happened on American soil? Most important, what has been the human experience of those separated children and parents?
Soboroff has spent the past two years reporting the many strands of this complex narrative, developing sources from within the Trump administration who share critical details for the first time. He also traces the dramatic odyssey of one separated family from Guatemala, where their lives were threatened by narcos, to seek asylum at the U.S. border, where they were separated—the son ending up in Texas, and the father thousands of miles away, in the Mojave desert of central California. And he joins the heroes who emerged to challenge the policy, and who worked on the ground to reunite parents with children.
In this essential reckoning, Soboroff weaves together these key voices with his own experience covering this national issue—at the border in Texas, California, and Arizona; with administration officials in Washington, D.C., and inside the disturbing detention facilities. Separated lays out compassionately, yet in the starkest of terms, its human toll, and makes clear what is at stake in the 2020 presidential election.
About the Author
Jacob Soboroff is a correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC. For his reporting on the child-separation policy, he received the 2019 Walter Cronkite Award for Individual Achievement by a National Journalist and the 2019 Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism. He has appeared on Today, Morning Joe, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and numerous other programs. He co-presented (with Katy Tur) the four-part event docuseries American Swamp on MSNBC. He lives in Los Angeles.
"As a correspondent for NBC News, Soboroff was among the the first to report on the Trump administration's family separation policy; here, he digs deeper into its roots and consequences." — New York Times Book Review, "New & Notable"
"Jacob Soboroff’s new book Separated is a kind of skeleton key to understanding the full totality of all the incompetence and cruelty on display by this administration in this era." — Chris Hayes (via Twitter)
"Shows how the Trump administration implemented a policy that amounted to a humanitarian catastrophe. ... What Soboroff memorably depicts isn’t just tragic but brutal." — Jennifer Szalai, New York Times
"Jacob Soboroff zooms in on President Trump and his administration’s decision to separate children from their parents as a deterrent to border crossers. In doing so, he illuminates how, in the face of congressional inaction, a cadre of presidential advisers can introduce policies with shocking, unintended consequences." — Washington Post
“A detailed, graphic account of the Trump administration’s horrendous policy of family separations. … Groundbreaking work. … All the original reporting in this book is extraordinary.” — Andrea Mitchell
“This book is important. Everyone should read it. We have to face our demons as a country, and this is an opportunity to face our demons.” — Joy-Ann Reid
“In this fairly stunning new book from Jacob, he has broken news about what happened after the New York Times first reported on the list of kids the Trump administration was keeping to track how many of them had been taken away from their parents.” — Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show
"The NBC News correspondent examines the Trump administration’s systematic separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border and the living conditions of the children in custody." — New York Times
"A thorough account. ... Separated takes a well-deserved place among the multiple accounts of the Trump administration’s machinations as one journalist’s up-close view of an extremely painful moment in the nation’s history." — Texas Observer
"Soboroff’s thoroughly engaging exposé of the inner workings of a corrupt and unfeeling government is essential to understanding America's current immigration misery." — Booklist (starred review)
"An expansive, complex, and multi-layered story about the immigration crisis and the policy that separates families seeking asylum in the United States." — Texas Public Radio
“A piercing look at a controversial immigration policy. … Consistently affecting and haunting. … A book of justifiably righteous indignation at—and condemnation of—a monstrous program." — Kirkus Reviews
"Harrowing and deeply informed. ... An impassioned, essential account of 'one of the most shameful chapters in modern American history.” — Publishers Weekly
“[A] captivating account, which deftly weaves together the political and the personal.” — Library Journal
“Chronicles the crossed wires and cold calculation that fostered America’s most glaring humanitarian crisis in recent memory. ... Most affectingly, the book is also a portrait of a Guatemalan father, Juan, and his teenage son, Jose, who sought asylum in the U.S., only to be forced apart as they crossed from Mexico into Arizona.” — Forward
“A powerful and eye-opening account of Trump’s separation of migrant families at the US-Mexico border. A wonderful example of political journalism.” — Marc Lamont Hill (via Twitter)
“I have relied on Jacob’s relentless reporting about the Trump administration’s barbaric treatment of migrant children at our border. This is a hard and necessary book. … Impossible to overstate the importance of Jacob Soboroff’s book because it’s impossible to overstate the importance of these children and their families.” — Connie Schultz (via Twitter)
“The details Jacob Soboroff uncovered are demoralizing. The government deliberations coupled with the painful personal stories of parents who lost kids and Jacob’s own reporting journey make this book a must read.” — Katy Tur (via Twitter)
“Phenomenal. Please read it.” — Andrew Zimmern (via Twitter)