Judge calls Trump administration family reunification efforts 'unacceptable'
The judge blasted the Trump administration Friday for its lack of a plan to reunify the remaining 572 children in its custody with their parents.
A Honduran child plays at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center, after recently crossing the U.S., Mexico border with his father, in McAllen, Texas on June 21, 2018.Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Breaking News Emails
Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
LOS ANGELES — The federal judge overseeing the court-ordered reunification of the 2,551 migrant children separated from their parents at the border blasted the Trump administration Friday for lacking a plan to reunify the remaining 572 children in its custody with their parents and the slow pace of progress.
The Trump administration had proposed the ACLU take the lead in locating and identifying what the judge had called "missing parents" of children still in government custody. Sabraw said that plan was not acceptable and placed that responsibility squarely on the government.
"Many of these parents were removed from the country without their child," Sabraw said. "All of this is the result of the government's separation and then inability and failure to track and reunite. And the reality is that for every parent who is not located there will be a permanently orphaned child. And that is 100 percent the responsibility of the administration."
The judge said he would soon issue an order to compel the government to provide information on still separated families to the ACLU no later than Aug. 10.
Sabraw said the government must identify a person or team to oversee the remaining reunification process, potentially from the State Department or the Department of Health and Human Services, and produce a plan as to how reunification would be accomplished.
Sabraw also said he would order the ACLU to organize a steering committee to provide a plan as to how it would use the information provided by the government to locate the remaining parents.
ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said the judge was extremely clear in stating that parents with minor criminal charges could be excluded only from the pool that was required to be reunited by his deadline and should not be permanently ineligible for reunification.
Jacob Soboroff reported from Los Angeles, and Julia Ainsley from Washington.