The Trump administration suggested in a federal court filing Thursday that the American Civil Liberties Union and other private organizations should take responsibility for reuniting more than 400 migrant children separated from parents deported under the government's zero tolerance immigration policy.
The latest status report in the San Diego-based federal case that compelled the government to reunite separated families says the parents of 410 children are outside the United States -- meaning they had been deported without their children, according to statements from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official last week. That number was revised down from 431 children on July 26 -- the court's deadline for all reunifications to be completed.
“[ACLU Lawyers] should use their considerable resources and their network of law firms, NGO’s, volunteers and others, together with the information that [the U.S. government] ... provided (or will soon provide), to establish contact with possible class members in foreign countries," the Thursday government filing says.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered the government last week to work with the ACLU and come up with a plan to reunify those deported parents with their children. But Department of Justice attorneys had hinted for several days that they would not present a plan, according to the ACLU's lead attorney on the case.
“The court filing is remarkable,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said. “The government is washing their hands of it, and saying we’ll try and do a little. They’re saying, ‘You all [the ACLU], find the parents.' "