A girl and other members of a caravan of migrants from Central America get ready to spend the night near the San Ysidro checkpoint in Tijuana, Mexico on April 29, 2018.
Reuters/Edgard Garrido

The number of migrant children held without their parents by the US government has surged 21% since last month to 10,773 children, the Washington Post reported.
The uptick comes after the Trump administration imposed a new "zero tolerance" policy to prosecute migrants who cross the US border illegally.
The policy means that migrant parents who cross the border with their children are forcibly separated while they await criminal prosecution.

The Trump administration's new "zero tolerance" policy toward migrants who cross the US border illegally has driven up the number of migrant children held in government custody without their parents, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The US Health and Human Services Department said it was holding 10,773 migrant children in custody as of Tuesday — up 21% from the 8,886 it was holding a month earlier.

The surge comes in the wake of the Trump administration's new tactic to criminally prosecute every person who crosses into the US illegally, which requires them to be separated from any children they brought with them while they're detained.

But it's unclear exactly how many of the 10,773 children being held in government custody were actually forcibly separated from their parents — a Customs and Border Protection official told lawmakers at a hearing last week that 658 children had been separated from 638 adults between May 6 and May 19 under the new zero tolerance policy....