Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Injustice

Judge To Get Update On Government’s Plan To Reunify Separated Families

Ever Reyes Mejia, of Honduras, carries his son to a vehicle after being reuni...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Ever Reyes Mejia, of Honduras, carries his son to a vehicle after being reunited and released by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Grand Rapids, Mich., Tuesday, July 10, 2018.

A judge will get an update Friday on the federal government's' efforts to reunify families separated at the border as part of the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy on illegal immigration.

In its latest court filing, the American Civil Liberties Union said some separated families can only be made whole by returning a parent who was removed from the United States back to this country.

ACLU national attorney Lee Gelernt said the federal government's reunification plan does not address or resolve the right of removed parents to be reunited with their children in the United States.

Gelernt — whose organization represents the plaintiffs in a class- action lawsuit — said the government's reunification plan assumes that all removed class members who are reunited will be reunified in their country of origin.

RELATED: ACLU Pushes For Deported Parents To Be Reunited With Children In The US

The plaintiffs expect that many parents who have been separated from their children for many months will seek rapid reunification in their country of origin, Gelernt said.

But in some cases, Gelernt said, removed parents may not have availed themselves of their right to seek asylum because they were misled or coerced into believing that asserting their asylum claim would delay or preclude reunification.

In its court filing, the government urged U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw to approve its reunification plan so the process can move forward immediately.

Government attorneys noted that nothing in a preliminary injunction issued by Sabraw requires it to return any removed class members to the United States for the purpose of reunification.

Earlier this month, Sabraw said finding parents and reuniting them with their children was "100 percent the responsibility of the (Trump) administration."

In June, the ACLU won a nationwide injunction in its class-action lawsuit requiring reunification of children under age 5 by July 10 and all children by July 26.

Even though the government missed both deadlines, Sabraw said he was pleased with the progress the government was making to reunify separated families.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.