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471 Separated Parents Were Deported without Being Reunited with Families
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7 Mar 2019 05:41 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Still from Inside Edition video (Image source: Screenshot)

 

 

This is definitely information the Trump administration did not want us to know. However, it was disclosed in a court filing Wednesday in The American Civil Liberties Union's class action lawsuit. The government deported 471 migrant parents that were separated from their children without giving them an opportunity to reunite with their families.   

Last April former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero tolerance" policy regarding migrants at the United States/Mexico border. They had "zero tolerance" for migrants illegally crossing over the border and vowed to separate all the families of those who crossed.

 

The detention centers filled up quickly, with some of the separated children being kept in cages. There were humanitarian pleas from many to release the children, and while Sessions and Donald Trump defended the policy, eventually it was eliminated in June. 

However, this left many families who'd been separated. The ACLU filed a class action suit, and U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw gave the government a deadline of when the families needed to be reunified by and asked for regular reports about progress to do so.

 

We have now learned how many migrant parents were deported without their children: 471. They were never given the option to reunify before being sent back to their homeland. More than 2,800 children in all were separated from their parents and detained in U.S. custody.  

The ACLU has been working on finding the deported parents who were deported without their children. The parents are given a choice whether they want to reunify with their children where they are or waive reunification, allowing their children to stay in the U.S. to pursue asylum.

 

Of the more than 2,800 children who were separated in the class action suit, nearly all have been reunified with a parent or released to a sponsor, according to the latest status report. 

Sabraw is considering a recent request by the ACLU to expand the number of separated families covered by his initial order to include situations where a separated child had already been released from U.S. custody by the time he ordered the families to be reunified in June.

 

The government is opposing the ACLU's request because of the effort it would take to find what happened to those families. They don't believe that should be part of the litigation.  

The lead ACLU attorney, Lee Gelernt, told BuzzFeed News that that number of separated parents and kids who were deported without getting the chance to reunify could increase, and possibly by an "enormous number, if Sabraw grants the request.

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