Three years after Donald Trump ordered a crackdown on undocumented migrants crossing into the US, lawyers are still struggling to find the parents of 545 children separated from them under the “zero-tolerance” policy, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
In a court filing, the ACLU said that about two-thirds of the parents had been deported back to the country of origin in Central America, leaving their separated children behind. In the rush to carry out Trump’s orders, the locations of the parents were not recorded and three years later they still cannot be found.
The zero-tolerance policy was announced in April 2018. It was later revealed that the administration had begun family separation the previous year under a secret pilot program.
In total, 1,030 children were removed from their parents by the US government under that pilot scheme, of whom 485 children have had their parents found under a scheme imposed by federal judges. The ACLU and a team of lawyers have been tasked by the courts with finding all the parents.
Under the pilot scheme, about 66% of the parents separated from their children were deported back to Central America before the court order was imposed on the Trump administration to find them. The search for the parents, who are called “unreachable” in the court document, has been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.
The on-going suffering of hundreds of children and their parents lost to each other as a result of government action three years after the event has caused widespread anger and revulsion. Paola Luisi, director of the coalition of almost 250 groups, Families Belong Together, said that efforts would continue to find the parents until they had all been found. [Continue reading…]