Three years after Donald Trump ordered a crackdown on undeclared immigrants in the United States, lawyers are still struggling to find the parents of 555 separated children under the “zero-tolerance” policy, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
At the time of filing in court, the ACLU stated that about two-thirds of the parents had been returned to their country of birth in Central America, leaving their separate children behind. In the crowd to enforce Trump’s instructions, the parents ’locations were not recorded and could not be traced even after three years.
The zero-tolerance policy was announced in April 2018. It was later revealed that the administration had started family separation the previous year under a secret pilot program.
Under the pilot scheme, a total of 1,030 children were removed from their parents by the government, of which 465 children received their parents under a scheme imposed by federal judges. The court tasked the ACLU and a team of lawyers to find all the guardians.
About 66% of parents separated from their children were sent back to Central America before the Trump administration pressed a court order to investigate them under the pilot scheme. The search for so-called “unpredictable” guardians in court documents has been hampered by the coronavirus epidemic.
Three years after the incident, hundreds of children and their parents have suffered immensely as a result of government action. Paula Lewisi, director of Family Belong Together, an alliance of about 250 groups, said efforts to find them would continue until all of the parents were found.
“The Trump administration has taken 545 children away from their parents, lied about it and then lost the way to put them in danger. The tragic immigration system is of course equivalent.
Lee Gerrant, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrant Rights Project, told NBC News: “We will not stop looking until we find everyone in the family. The tragic reality is that hundreds of parents were deported to Central America without their children, with families or distant relatives raised here. “
One of the ultimate consequences of the Trump administration’s brutal crackdown on illegal border crossings was the goal of the zero-tolerance policy of family separation.
The full horror of the administration’s motives was only revealed earlier this month when the New York Times reported previously undisclosed contacts between top officials. The then U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called prosecutors at a conference in May 2018 and told prosecutors: “We need to take the children.”
The note from the call received by one participant added: “Do not bring children in if they are being cared for. Kids do not give general forgiveness to people with children.”
The then deputy AG Rod Rosenstein told prosecutors that children, no matter how young, should have their parents removed – even if they were children.