Court papers filed late last week show that according to the government’s most recent estimates, close to 500 children, including 22 under the age of 5, remain in US custody after being separated from their parents at the border earlier this year pursuant to the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy. The greatest logistical challenge that government officials and immigrants’ rights advocates have faced in reuniting many of these children with their families is that their parents were deported without them, and are now proving difficult if not impossible to locate.
This news comes more than a month after the deadline imposed by US District Court Judge Dana Sabraw for the government to reunify all separated families in a class action lawsuit filed in a San Diego federal court by the ACLU. Lawyers who are attempting to reach the deported parents are asking them if they want to have their children sent back to them, or whether they would rather their children remain in the US to seek asylum on their own due to dangerous conditions in their home countries. Attorneys are also seeking to have some of the deported parents returned to the US for reunification and to assert their claims for asylum, which is a request Judge Sabraw may ultimately rule on.
Still separated: Nearly 500 migrant children taken from their parents remain in US custody, The Washington Post, August 31, 2018
Joint Status Report, filed August 30, 2018 in Ms. L. v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement et al., via Justia Dockets
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / Sheila Fitzgerald