Published: 2020-10-21 17:38
Last Updated: 2020-10-21 17:38
An American human rights organization revealed through court documents that it was not possible to locate the families of 545 immigrant children after they were separated from their families on the US border, according to strict immigration policies.
The American Civil Liberties Union said on Twitter that “Through our litigation, we just reported to the court that the parents of 545 kids- forcibly separated by the Trump administration’s cruel family separation practice- still cannot be found.”
As part of its zero-tolerance policy towards immigrants, the United States began in May 2018 separating children from their families at the border, which sparked a wave of domestic and international outrage.
Later, after six weeks of practicing this policy, Trump announced that his administration would stop separating families, except in cases where parents pose a "danger" to their children.
Two-thirds of the fathers and mothers who have not been found are believed to have been deported, according to a court document published by CNN on its website.
NBC reported that the children concerned had been separated from their families under a pilot program in 2017 and before the decision was made to follow the "zero tolerance" policy.
Lee Gellernt, deputy director of the Immigrant Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, told NBC, "It is necessary to reveal as much as possible about who is responsible for these horrific practices, while not disregarding the fact that hundreds of families who have not yet been found are still separated."
"There is a lot of work that needs to be done to find these people," he added.
The COVID-19 pandemic briefly hindered the search for loved ones, but work has now resumed.
The court file stated, "In the wake of the suspension of work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, limited searches for separated parents have now resumed wherever possible."
A 2018 court decision ordered the government to reunite these separated families.