More than 545 migrant children in the United States are still separated from their parents, as a result of President Donald Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ border policy.
Court filings from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reveal that lawyers have been left unable to track down and reunite the children with their parents after they were separated in 2017 and 2018.
Around two-thirds of the parents are believed to have been deported to Central America without their children – many of whom were just babies at the time.
More than 4,200 children were separated from their families after their parents were deported by the Trump administration between 2017 and 2018. However, in many cases the correct contact information was not gathered, meaning hundreds of children are left without the means to track down their parents, and vice versa.
ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt has promised that they will not stop until they are able to track down every missing parent and reunite every child. Fortunately, with the help of the union, thousands of families have since been reunited, however there is still a long way to go.
Speaking to NBC News, Gelernt explained how the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has added extra complications to the process of being able to get families back together.
‘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. There is so much more work to be done to find these families,’ he said.
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.
Back in 2018, Trump instituted what he described as a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy, which meant that migrant children and parents were separated at the US southern border. However, it later came to light that the government had already begun tearing families apart in the previous year as part of a pilot programme.
The ACLU and a number of other organisations have been appointed by a judge to reunite the families.
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