Yesterday, after explosive reports that the administration is still quietly and needlessly separating families, the American Civil Liberties Union headed back to court to argue for the reunification of all the separated families. Judge Dana Sabraw seemed inclined to agree, stating, “It’s important to recognize that we’re talking about human beings…Every person needs to be accounted for;” the administration bemoaned the heavy potential burden of locating and reunifying all the children it kidnapped. Remarkably, the government’s attorney threatened that such a move might be met with a legal war from the Trump administration.
As USA Today’s Alan Gomez reports,
Department of Justice attorney Scott Stewart fought back against the ACLU request during a court hearing before Sabraw on Thursday, arguing that the government has gone “above and beyond” to facilitate the reunification of thousands of children with their parents rather than fight the judge’s order “tooth and nail.”
Requiring the government to identify potentially thousands of children that were separated in the previous year, Stewart said, would “blow the case into some other galaxy” and could force Justice to take a different approach to the lawsuit.
“I’m just not sure that we can keep going that way,” Stewart said.
Sabraw explained that the ultimate goal of the lawsuit is to “bring to light” the wrongs committed by the administration’s family separation policy, even if that requires government agencies taking on the difficult task of poring through records to identify all children that were separated.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “This is yet another moment of truth for America. The Trump administration used taxpayer-funded agents to kidnap children from their parents, failed to track them, separated more families than they originally admitted to, and is now threatening to resist a federal judge who wants them to be accountable. Once again, an ACLU request on behalf of American principles is being considered by a patriotic public servant in black robes, and both are being resisted by a representative of the Trump administration. Justice and decency vs. cruelty and cynicism. Let’s hope that the good guys win again. Let’s demand that all families be reunited as soon as possible, and that the government officials responsible for this human rights abuse of historic proportions are held to account.”
Gomez’s entire recount of the court hearing is required reading – available online here.