A federal judge who last year ordered the government to reunify 2,814 migrant children with their parents said Thursday that job is nearly done, clearing the way for the Trump administration to begin identifying thousands of other families that were separated even before the government announced its "zero tolerance" policy at the border.
“It seems the government has done all it can do with respect to those 2,814 individuals,” U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw said at a status teleconference. “Is it fair to say that we’re done, that everyone has been accounted for?”
“That’s basically right,” responded Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who is representing the families.
Last year, Sabraw ordered the government to reunify children who were in custody as of June 26, 2018, with their parents. Since then most children have been released to a relative or foster home. Only 54 children are still awaiting release.
But in January the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services determined that "thousands of children may have been separated during an influx that began in 2017, before the accounting required by the court."