tags: , , , AVEF, Press Releases

The Trump Administration That Kidnaps and Abuses Kids Now Says They Are Not Responsible for Reunifying Them

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Court Filings Expose More Reckless Irresponsibility 

In a court filing yesterday, the Trump administration argued that it should not be their responsibility to reunite the families separated by the government’s own cruel policy decisions and incompetence. The government suggests the reunification of 572 children that remain separated should be the responsibility of private organizations, NGOs, and legal service providers.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Say what? You ripped kids from their parents deliberately; you had no system to track families you separated; you spirited kids in the middle of the night to secretive shelters; you say nothing about the mounting reports of abuse and mistreatment in those facilities; you took the parents and sent them to detention centers and tricked hundreds into signing forms they didn’t understand; you deported hundreds of parents without connecting them to the children you seized from them; you only executed  the reunification of kids with their families when a federal judge ordered you to do so; and now that hundreds of kids remain separated from their families you are claiming you are not responsible?

As if the state-sanctioned kidnapping and child abuse you have carried out is not cruel enough, your outrageous attempts to wash your hands of the moral crisis you created is an act of profound cowardice. In one of our generation’s darkest chapters, you continue to astound with your lack of humanity and your wanton cruelty. We look to Judge Sabraw to stand up for our country and its values to hold you to account, to make sure kids are back where they belong, and that the officials who caused this are exposed.

The following summary the key points and implications of the government’s latest court filings, authored by Ur Jaddou, Director of DHS Watch:

  • Trump Administration has Abdicated Responsibility to Nonprofit Lawyers and Volunteers to Locate Parents Deported and Lost by the Administration:  Yesterday, the Trump Administration said lawyers of separated parents “should use their considerable resources and their network of law firms, NGOs, volunteers, and others…to establish contact with” parents lost and deported under the Trump family separation policy.  In other words, the government who deported and lost parents under Trump’s draconian family separation policy is now relying on nonprofit lawyers of victims and volunteers to find parents in spite of the vast resources of the federal government that is responsible for this mess.  The budget of the ACLU – the lawyers for the parents – is less than 1% of the budgets of DHS ($50 billion) and DOJ ($28 billion).    
  • Trump Administration foot dragging on information sharing to help lawyers and volunteers find parents:  The ACLU described the search for deported and lost parents as “commonsense, practical detective-type work” that requires information that only the government has in its records.  Yet, the government is dragging its feet on information sharing with lawyers for the parents.  As stated by the ACLU yesterday, if the government is abdicating its responsibility to find parents, then it should at least “be taking the initiative to continually provide Plaintiffs with whatever useful information they possess, without constantly waiting for Plaintiffs to request specific information, especially because the Government knows better than Plaintiffs what types of information are contained in various files and databases.”     
  • 572 Children Remain Separated From Parents:  On the court’s reunification deadline last week, 711 children remained separated from parents.  Yesterday’s report says 572 children remain separated – the vast majority are still deported parents.
    • Parent waived reunification: 34 children
    • Reunification potentially affected by separate litigation: 97 children
    • Adult red flag from background check: 23 children
    • Adult red flag from other case file review: 34 children
    • Adult released to the interior or other custody, and contact not yet made:  68 children
    • Adult outside the U.S.: 410 children
    • Adult location under case file review: 15 children
  • Trump Administration Should Return Deported Parents to the U.S. for Expeditious and Humane Reunification:  As we have advocated, yesterday the ACLU recommended that deported parents be returned to the U.S. under parole:  “[P]arents who want to return to the United States should be granted humanitarian parole, so that they can come back and reassume custody over their children. See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(d)(5); 8 C.F.R. § 212.5. The government should arrange travel documents for the parents and children, and pay for their return to the United States and back to their country of origin.”
  • Crime-based Exclusions for Reunification are Still Bogus and Fly in the Face of Standard Due Process in Separating Families:  The ACLU noted yesterday, “The government has provided lists of excluded parents, but the information remains too vague and incomplete to allow the parties to meaningfully meet and confer regarding the propriety of exclusions. For example, grounds for exclusions include general allegations such as “gang activity” and “Red flag – background check.”