Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Racial Justice | Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

ACLU Says A Thousand More Families Have Been Separated At The Border

Demonstrators attend the

Photo by Megan Burks

Above: Demonstrators attend the "Free Our Future" event in San Diego to protest zero-tolerance immigration policies that have led to family separations and ramped up prosecutions, July 2, 2018.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Department of Justice were back in federal court Friday over the separation of families at the border.

The ACLU says that the government has violated a June 2018 injunction that put a stop to family separations and has separated a thousand more families since then.

They believe that the government is using the criminal history of parents to justify their separation from their children, even if the conduct was relatively minor.

ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt spoke outside of the courthouse shortly after the two-hour hearing in front of Judge Dana Sabraw.

“The government has now separated more than a thousand children, many just babies and toddlers after the court told them to stop doing it last summer,” Gelernt told KPBS.

“The government’s claim is that they had to separate because the parent was a danger to their child. What we’ve learned from the government’s own record is that they’re separating for theft offenses, DUI’s, the most minor crimes that would never suggest a parent is a danger to their child.”

The ACLU is hoping Sabraw will find that the families separated since the initial injunction must now be reunited with their children.

Lawyers from the justice department argued in court that, under the injunction, they were allowed to separate families based on criminal histories. They said that under the ACLU’s interpretation of the injunction, they would not be able to separate a parent with sex abuse convictions from their child.

Before the June 2018 injunction, nearly 3,000 families were separated at the border.


San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Don’t have time to keep up on the latest news? We’ve got you covered with a mid-week check-in every Wednesday afternoon.

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

Photo of Max Rivlin-Nadler

Max Rivlin-Nadler
Speak City Heights Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover City Heights, a neighborhood at the intersection of immigration, gentrification, and neighborhood-led health care initiatives. I'm interested in how this unique neighborhood deals with economic inequality during an unprecedented global health crisis.

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

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.