Federal Judge Rules It’s Government’s Responsibility To Reunite Immigrant Families

by Thea Glassman
Image via John Moore/Getty Images

A judge rejected the government’s suggestion that the ACLU should reunite immigrant families

In June, a report found that more than 2,000 immigrant children had been separated from their families as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” border policy. Thanks to the hard work of non-profits and angry citizens, that awful policy has ended and families are slowly being reunited.

However, some kids remain in detention centers and the government has just tried – and thankfully failed – to make it the ACLU’s responsibility to reunite them with their families.

There are currently more than 400 immigrant parents who have been deported without their children, who are still in detention centers in the U.S. The Trump administration filed a request in Southern California’s U.S. District Court that the ACLU and other non-profits take full responsibility for reuniting these kids with their parents. Yup, you read that correctly. They want these groups to clean up the awful mess that they themselves made.

The administration asked that the ACLU to “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.”

Thankfully, federal judge Dana Sabraw wasn’t having any of that. “The reality is there are still close to 500 parents that have not been located, many of these parents were removed from the country without their child, all of this is the result of the government’s separation and the inability and failure to track and reunite,” he said, per CNN. “For every parent that is not located, there will be a permanently orphaned child and that is a hundred percent the result of the administration.”

The judge ordered the administration to appoint government officials who will take charge of reuniting the rest of the families, and submit a comprehensive plan for how they’ll help the parents who were deported without their children.

“In reviewing the status report it appears that only 12 or 13 of close to 500 parents have been located, which is just unacceptable at this point,” Sabraw added.

Meanwhile, the ACLU also swiftly slammed the Trump administration’s effort to completely hand off responsibility. The organization took to Twitter to explain that they are indeed very eager to reunite all of the children with their parents but they will not allow Trump to “pass the blame for the crisis he created.”

“The federal government has far more resources to aid in reuniting families than any group of non-profits,” the statement read. “They want to blame others for the consequences of their unconstitutional family separation policy, but we won’t let them.”