The U.S. government must identify how many
The deadline comes three months after an
In February, the Office of Refugee Resettlement said it was too much of a “
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is part of an
“The court order is exactly what we wanted,” said Lee Gelernt, the lead lawyer in the ACLU case. “Every day a parent and child are separated is devastating.”
White said during Thursday’s hearing that he’s hopeful Health and Human Services has devised a system that can comb through the records of 47,000 immigrant children who were taken into government custody between July 1, 2017, and June 25, 2018 ― the day before Sabraw
“It is my belief that the six month time frame is sufficient to complete this,” White said at Thursday’s hearing. “That is my operational target, but I’ve been wrong before.”
The court order is exactly what we wanted. Every day a parent and child are separated is devastating. Lee Gelernt, attorney for the ACLU
White says HHS employees will immediately start to go through the electronic records of 500-1,000 children that Customs and Border Protection and the ORR have flagged as possible separation cases, and within a few months, will hire a team to conduct a statistical analysis of agency records to determine
The government sounds more confident about its process than in February, when Jallyn Sualog, deputy director at the ORR, said it would take 100 ORR analysts working eight hours each day for between seven and 15 months to “
A year after the zero tolerance policy was first implemented, most of the nearly
Once the government identifies and provides contact information for the families separated before the zero tolerance policy, the ACLU will form a steering committee of organizations to track down parents, which in some cases will involve trekking to remote, crime-ridden villages to find mothers and fathers for whom the government does not have a working phone number.
And while family reunification will be especially challenging for this group since the children are no longer in government custody and may not even still be living with their initial sponsors, Gelernt says the judge’s order is an important first step.
“We are anticipating an enormously difficult and resource-intensive process,” said Gelernt. “[But] it’s critical the court set this deadline.”