The Department of Justice informed the American Civil Liberties Union in a court filing on Thursday that it, not the government, should take responsibility for finding parents who were separated from their children at the border and then deported. Uhhhhh.
“Plaintiffs’ counsel should use their considerable resources and their network of law firms, NGOs, volunteers, and others, together with the information that defendants have provided (or will soon provide), to establish contact with possible class members in foreign countries,” DOJ said.
The DOJ also suggested that the ACLU should figure out whether parents who were already deported wish to be reconnected with their children. Great idea! Someone should definitely do that.
Despite frequent claims from the administration that all parents who were deported without their children were first asked whether they wanted to be reunited, that doesn’t seem to be the case. A Trump official told Politico earlier this month that as many as 75 percent of parents deported without their children were not asked about reunification. That’s right—we stole these people’s children and then deported their parents.
The ACLU argued in court yesterday that the government was, in fact, responsible for reuniting the parents and children it had separated.
In Thursday’s court filing, the ACLU disputed the Trump administration’s claim that it isn’t responsible for deportees, saying it “must bear the ultimate burden of finding the parents.”
The ACLU said that Trump’s “unconstitutional separation practice” precipitated the crisis and that the federal government possessed far more resources than non-governmental organizations to find the parents.
They also pointed out that many of the parents are essentially lost now that they’ve been deported. Addresses for them often read “in DHS custody” or “failed to provide.” As many of a quarter of the parents deported without their children may lack proper addresses. Some only read “calle sin nombre” (“street without a name”) or simply list a city. Will some of these children ever be reunited with their families? It’s not looking good.