Border officials have taken more than 900 migrant children from their parents over the past year, despite a judge's order to restrict family separations, according to a motion filed by ACLU attorneys Tuesday in federal court in San Diego.
In the filing, the attorneys said that some migrant parents lost their children over minor convictions, including driving without a license or marijuana possession, and in one case because a border agent blamed a father for not changing a diaper promptly. The ACLU also alleged that Homeland Security officials had taken children away based on clerical errors or misunderstandings due to language barriers.
The ACLU, which represents migrant parents in a class action lawsuit (Ms. L. v. ICE), based its information on reports provided to the plaintiffs by Trump administration lawyers, documenting 911 children separated from parents at the border between June 26, 2018 and June 29, 2019.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw issued an injunction on June 26 last year ordering the Department of Homeland Security to halt most migrant family separations and promptly reunite children with their parents. Sabraw allowed for individual exceptions, in cases where the government found a parent unfit or a danger to the child.
In Tuesday's motion, ACLU attorneys asked the judge to clarify when those exceptions can be made. They noted that Sabraw had initially allowed separations based on a parent's criminal history.