In a joint status report filed last week, the Department of Justice provided its most detailed figures to date regarding the status of migrant children who were separated from their parents at the border this year under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, stating that 24 children under the age of 5 remain separated. Under the policy, the administration separated more than 2,600 children from their parents, and reports that over 360 parents who are still separated are outside the country, with many having been deported without their children.
The government also filed a revised plan for reunifying the families that remain separated. The ACLU, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of separated families in the US District Court for the Southern District of California, informed the court that it has been having difficulty locating deported parents, having reached fewer than 50 of the 120 parents it has attempted to contact; plaintiffs’ counsel suggested that the phone numbers provided for these parents are inoperative, and/or that the parents are in hiding. The next issue that the court will determine for families with deported parents is whether reunifications will take place in their home countries or in the US.
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