The Trump Administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy led to the forced separation of hundreds of migrant children from their parents with no concern for how (or if) the families would ever be reunited. Two years later, lawyers from the ACLU and other pro-bono law firms are unsurprisingly still struggling to reconnect these children with their families.
NBC reports that the lawyers say that there are 545 migrant children whose parents they haven’t yet been able to track down—and two-thirds of those parents were actually already deported to Central America without their children. Many of these families were a part of the more than 1,000 parents who had been separated from their children during the Trump Administration’s 2017 family separation ‘pilot program,’ prior to the broader adoption of the “zero tolerance” immigration policy during summer 2018.
“It is critical to find out as much as possible about who was responsible for this horrific practice while not losing sight of the fact that hundreds of families have still not been found and remain separated,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “There is so much more work to be done to find these families.
People ask when we will find all of these families and, sadly, I can’t give an answer. I just don’t know. But we will not stop looking until we have found every one of the families, no matter how long it takes. The tragic reality is that hundreds of parents were deported to Central America without their children, who remain here with foster families or distant relatives.”
The parents of more than 550 children have been found and contacted so far, but it is estimated that only 25 of them will have a chance of returning to the United States to be reunified with their children.