666 Children Are Now Separated From Their Parents Under Trump’s ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Border Policy
As a result of Donald Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy at the US-Mexico border, 666 children are now separated from their parents.
The ‘lame duck’ administration has infamously taken a hard-line approach to US immigration, with Trump long campaigning for a wall along the border to stop people coming into the country illegally.
In 2018, former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions introduced a ‘zero-tolerance’ initiative, which led to the separation of parents and children. Currently, 666 kids have been taken away from their mums and dads.
It was originally reported 545 migrant children were still separated, with federal-appointed lawyers struggling to track down their parents. According to an earlier filing from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), two-thirds of those parents were deported without their offspring.
However, that number has since increased to 666, NBC News reports. As explained to the outlet by Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, this ‘includes individuals in addition to 545 for whom we got no information from government that would allow meaningful searches but are hopeful the government will now provide with that information’.
Steven Herzog, the lawyer leading the search, wrote in an email to the Trump administration’s Justice Department attorneys, ‘We would appreciate the government providing any available updated contact information, or other information that may be helpful in establishing contact for all 666 of these parents.’
According a source close to the operation, around 20% (129) of the children were under the age of five when they were separated. More than 3,000 children were also separated from their families under the Trump administration, according to the Southern Poverty Law Centre.
A House Judiciary Committee report found the Trump administration to have moved forward with the policy with ‘full knowledge that hundreds of children would likely be lost to their families forever’, Forbes reports.
Gelernt earlier said:
People ask when we will find all of these families, and sadly, I can’t give an answer. I just don’t know. But we will not stop looking until we have found every one of the families, no matter how long it takes. The tragic reality is that hundreds of parents were deported to Central America without their children, who remain here with foster families or distant relatives.
The White House earlier claimed that many of the parents ‘have declined to accept their children back… it’s not for lack of effort on the administration’s part’. However, Gelernt argued, ‘We have not even found these 545 parents so neither we nor certainly the administration can know whether they want to be reunited.’
He added, ‘The humane and simple solution is for the Trump administration to allow the parents to return to the US to reunite with their children.’
President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to sign an executive order which will see a task force created to reunite the children with their families, although it’s unclear whether they would be permitted to pursue asylum in the country.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Most Read StoriesMost Read
CreditsNBC News and 2 others
Southern Poverty Law Centre